We marry thinking of everlasting love, where love and harmony will surround us until our hairs get gray, and we slowly walk –hand in hand- with our beloved one. Reality proves otherwise. Most marriages end up in divorce. Making the decision to initiate divorce is one of the hardest decisions ever, particularly if there are kids. You will not only have a court order putting an end to one of your more significant relationships in life, but also have to deal with unpleasant things such as property division, moving to a new house, determining children´s custody, alimony, and, basically, a drastic life change.
Although frequent, filing for divorce is a complicated legal procedure. It requires the representation of a divorce attorney with experience in such proceedings and with profound knowledge of the rules and statutes of your state.
Divorces can be contested (when parties do not agree on any issue), and uncontested (when parties come to an agreement regarding all terms). It is necessary to note that many states offer the possibility of a legal separation, with terminates with the right of cohabitation but not with the legal status of marriage.
After finding a divorce attorney, the one seeking divorce prepares a petition and files it with the state´s court of his/her residence. Once the divorce procedure is initiated, many aspects will be handled and solved. Some of these are:
Divorce will determine how properties will be split. Most states exclude properties that were acquired before marriage or were received as an inheritance or gift. Some states divide the properties bought during marriage in a 50/50 while others will consider the individual circumstances of each spouse.
Divorce determines a spouse (ex-spouse) support obligations. It can include spousal support as well as child support or alimony. Child support will depend on custody arrangements.
Child Custody and Visitation.
Within divorce, child custody and visitation schedules are set. Courts always try to seek the child´s best interest, but such decisions vary from case to case, and from court to court. Judges make their decisions based on their personal beliefs and on what they hear from the witnesses, which always show the worst side of the other side´s parent. So, sometimes a divorce court may not be able to make the best decision. Therefore, it would be good to reach negotiation and settlement. Children´s opinions may be heard depending on their age, and a good divorce attorney will play a major role when negotiating custody and visitation schedules.
What seems easy when summarized in a few line is actually a complicated, long, and unpleasant process that make bring to surface private matters that will most likely make both parties uncomfortable. Get the help of a specialized divorce attorney to make this process easier and painless for you and your children, if any.