At its worse, divorce can be a bitter, draining, emotionally-charged experience. In court, stressful circumstances leave little room for patience, and people will often lose sight of what’s important. Any divorce outcome will have long-term effects that will follow you for the rest of your life. Consequently, there are plenty of different factors to consider in a divorce. Here are five of the most significant ones.
Income and Alimony
The lifestyle of the spouses during a marriage can become a highly contested issue in divorce court. Family court judges will often consider factors like which spouse was in charge of household finances and any disparity in income between both spouses. The divorce courts will sometimes award alimony when one spouse had a significant financial advantage, and one party could be financially responsible to the other for years. There are several different types of alimony that can be awarded on a temporary or permanent basis.
As a rule, the more property a couple collectively owns, the more difficult dividing marital assets becomes. Younger couples separating the contents of an apartment don’t always require legal help. But as a couple ages and accrues possessions during the course of the marriage, the greater the amount of community property that has to be appraised and divided. Houses, cars, businesses, savings, and even gifts often become disputed items during a divorce proceeding.
Like assets, debt accrued during the course of the marriage is commonly itemised and divided. A court will usually split the debt evenly, or in some cases, assign it to the party who was primarily responsible for it. In other situations, debt may be used to offset some of the assets received by one of the parties. For instance, if one spouse is keeping the house, that person also acquires the mortgage. (It wouldn’t make sense to divide the mortgage between both parties in that situation.) In instances where the allocation of debt forces a spouse to declare bankruptcy, it should be noted that court-ordered alimony and child support are non-dischargeable items.
Child custody is often the most contentious issues in a divorce. The type of shared-parenting plan and the amount of child support are usually determined by state legal guidelines, interpreted by the court. If one of the parents is determined to relocate, it further complicates matters.
The courts aim to ensure that the needs and wants of the children are given primary importance. In situations where parents are unable to provide a stable environment, it’s not uncommon for the other parties to exploit it to their advantage. An experienced family law attorney can assist in developing a child custody agreement that benefits both parents and children.
Vetting a Divorce Lawyer
Even a single mistake could lead to a severe disadvantage while settling your divorce. Proper representation in court by a professional divorce lawyer provides benefits that will positively impact your case. Choosing the right divorce lawyer can save you time, money, and mental anguish, and your attorney will work towards a divorce settlement that’s agreeable to you.
The laws governing divorce and child custody vary from state to state, and it’s to your benefit to choose an attorney who is not only well versed in your state’s law, but is also familiar with the family courts in your jurisdiction. For instance, if you intend to file for divorce in Dade County, you should consider a Miami divorce lawyer with knowledge of the area’s courts and Florida law. Many divorce lawyers provide free consultations, so you can choose one that you feel comfortable with.
Divorce can be an intimidating and painful process, but with a good attorney, you can be sure that your rights are protected and that your interests being are served. Make a call today.