When marriages end, it is not always the emotionally heart-wrenching affair that some believe. Divorce can be a positive step forward for many couples. If you are considering divorce, it is important to choose the right attorney. Selecting the best lawyer begins with understanding what legal process you will use.
A divorce can involve many important issues, including custody, child support, assets, debts, and spousal support. The vast majority of divorces do not end up going to trial, and, in fact, very few people ever get to tell their side of the story to a Judge. Parents have a legal duty to support their children financially, whether they are married or not. The state has established laws regarding how much a parent should pay, and federal and form tools are available to enforce these obligations. A Rosenburg divorce lawyer can help parents understand how the court determines child support payments. The court will consider both parents’ gross incomes, including wages and salaries, commissions, overtime pay, bonuses, tips, self-employment business income, investment income, workers’ compensation income, disability benefits, unemployment insurance payments, and more.
Grounds for an At-Fault Divorce
Fault claims are important because they can impact the division of assets, alimony, and visitation rights. They can also provide leverage for a spouse seeking a favorable settlement. However, a successful fault claim can require significant time and money to prove. This may be a deterrent for some spouses. Alternatively, some believe claiming an at-fault divorce can improve their chances of getting sole custody or a higher maintenance award. While most states have moved toward no-fault divorce, seventeen still respect fault-based divorces. Fault-based grounds for divorce include adultery, felony convictions, incarceration, physical abuse, abandonment, living apart under a legal separation agreement, bigamy, and sterility.
Equitable Distribution of Marital Property
Courts must consider the fair division of assets in states that use equitable distribution rules. They do not necessarily divide property fifty-fifty; they look at more than just what is titled in both spouses’ names. Courts will consider how each spouse contributed to the accumulation of assets and their financial needs after divorce.
Before a court can award property, each spouse must list their assets in a special affidavit. They also need to list all of their debts. The court will then determine what is marital and what is separate property. Generally, marital property is any property acquired from the date of marriage to filing a divorce complaint. Non-marital or particular property may include gifts, personal injury compensation, inheritances, and prenuptial agreements.
Spousal support, also known as alimony or maintenance, is a monetary payment made to one former spouse to help maintain their living standards after the divorce. This can be temporary or permanent and may be paid in monthly installments or a lump sum. Rehabilitative alimony is designed to help a spouse obtain the training and job skills they need to become self-supporting. However, this alimony lasts up to a few years and ends if the supported spouse remarries. Reimbursement alimony is similar to rehabilitative alimony. However, it is designed to compensate the spouse who sacrificed their career or education during the marriage to support the professional spouse’s career and financial success. In some states, alimony can be tied to a fault, but most divorce laws are now no-fault and gender-neutral.
When couples cannot decide how to divide their property, child custody or support, they can have the court decide these issues in a contested divorce. In such cases, each spouse’s attorney will prepare for a trial and present evidence before a judge to argue their case. In some states, the property is considered either marital or separate. Marital property is generally considered any assets or debts acquired during the marriage. The individual property includes gifts and inheritance. Divorce can be a stressful experience for many individuals, and they need an experienced attorney to guide them through this process. By hiring an attorney, spouses can ensure that their rights are protected and that they get through the process as quickly as possible.