We know that contemplating divorce is difficult and the divorce process can be a trying time. Whether or not you are sure you want to end your marriage, it helps to know your rights and obligations. Should you decide that divorce is necessary, We will provide you with exceptional representation through the divorce process. Working with an experienced family law attorney will help you get through the process and begin your new life.
Grounds for Divorce
Generally, a divorce will be granted if one spouse states that the marriage has irretrievably broken down or the couple has irreconcilable differences. A divorce is a judicial decree by which a valid marriage is terminated.
Resolving Issues During Divorce
The divorce process will divide the couple’s assets and debts; determine the future care and custody of their children; and give each person the legal right to marry someone else.
Before a divorce may be granted, five basic issues typically must be resolved. They are:
- Property and debt division
- Child custody
- Parenting time (visitation)
- Child support
- Alimony/spousal support
If the couple can reach an agreement on these issues, then the divorce is uncontested. However, if the couple cannot agree, the divorce is considered contested. The parties may go to Court to resolve the issues. This means that a family court judge will make the final decisions. Some courts may order the parties to try to resolve their differences by participating in alternatives dispute resolution, usually mediation.
Alternative Dispute Resolution alternatives include
- Mediation. Mediation, when successful, can be less expensive and less stressful for divorcing couples and their children. In the mediation process, the couple works with a trained mediator to reach agreement on contested issues.
- Arbitration. Instead of a judge deciding the outcome, the parties agree to use an arbitrator. Usually, each spouse will have a separate attorney who will represent each spouse’s interests and the parties will agree that the arbitrator’s decision will either be binding or non-binding.
- Collaborative Divorce. The collaborative divorce process requires an up-front commitment to resolving disputes by negotiation, compromise and agreement. The collaborative divorce process has helped many couples settle their difference without the need for expensive and prolonged litigation.
Alimony, Spousal Support and Maintenance
Alimony (sometimes also called spousal support or maintenance) is financial support that one spouse pays to another. There are many types of alimony. The alimony can come in a lump sum, for a limited period of time or indefinitely. Factors that the court may consider in determining alimony include the length of the marriage, the standard of living during the marriage and the ability of each spouse to earn a living in the future.
Division of Property
Courts typically make an equitable division of property between the divorcing spouses. Equitable means fair and not necessarily equal. The court makes the decision based on many factors, including the circumstances of the divorce and the financial and non-financial contributions of each party to the marriage.