Divorce is the legal termination of a marriage that ends the marital responsibilities and privileges of the official union between two people. The divorce cancels the marital status of the parties involved allowing them, should they so desire, to marry other people. Divorce laws vary greatly around the world and are not even permitted in some countries, like Malta and the Philippines. The legal process for divorce normally entails issues of spousal support/alimony, child support and custody, distribution of property and division of debt. We know that going through a divorce is a difficult and emotional experience; let us give you the legal and emotional support you need.
The terms of a divorce are generally determined by the court, although they may take into account any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements; they may simply ratify terms that the spouses may have agreed to privately with or without a mediator or arbitrator. Where there is no agreement over terms between the spouses, contested divorces occur. These can be quite stressful to both spouses, may take many months or even years to complete and often lead to expensive litigation.
Divorce laws differ significantly from state to state. Some states do not require either party to claim fault of their partner that lead to the breakdown of marriage; this is known as ‘no fault’ divorce. In jurisdictions that recognize “no fault” divorce, the courts may still take into account the behavior of the involved parties when dividing property, assessing debts and setting child custody and support.
In this country, all states require parents to file a parenting plan when they legally separate or divorce. This helps ensure that divorce disputes do not clog the family court system. In the case of child custody, the law in all states no longer presumes that the mother should always be granted custody. Child custody laws have been rendered gender neutral and that custody considerations are decided on the basis of what is in the best interest of the child. Although a child may have some voice as to where he or she would like to live, his or her preference is non-binding until the age of 18, when the child is no longer considered a minor.
Alimony, maintenance and spousal support, which all mean the same thing, is an obligation established by law that is based on the principle that both spouses have a duty to support each other during and sometimes after the dissolution of the marriage. Once divorce proceedings begin, either party may seek monetary support from the other. The amount and terms of support vary greatly with the situations of the involved parties. If one party is receiving support at the time of the divorce, it does not necessarily continue when the divorce is finalized, although it may. Unless the parties agree on the terms of their divorce settlement in a binding document, the court will make a determination based on testimony submitted by both parties. This arrangement may be modified at any time based if circumstances of either party change significantly.
If you are going through a divorce, you owe it to yourself to get the best possible legal representation. We will be by your side every step of the way protecting your rights. Call the law offices of Martin Sir & Associates at 615-256-5661.