No one comes into a marriage expecting it to end in divorce, but it occurs much too frequently. In the United States, almost half of all first marriages end in divorce, which jumps to two-thirds for second marriages. Going through a divorce is never easy, but it can be even more complicated when legal issues are involved. Before you head to court, it is essential to understand the six most common legal issues surrounding divorce to prepare you for what’s to come.
1. Child Custody and Visitation Rights
If you have children, child custody is one of the most significant issues you will face in divorce. Unless you and your spouse can agree on who should have custody of your children, the court will decide for you. In making its decision, the court will always put the child’s best interests first.
You can hire an experienced child custody lawyer to help you navigate the custody process and ensure that your rights are protected. Not only will they be able to help you come up with a custody arrangement that is in your child’s best interests, but they can also help you negotiate with your spouse and represent you in court if necessary.
2. Child Support
If you have been ordered to pay child support or if you are seeking child support from your spouse, there are a few things you should know. To begin, child support is determined by a number of factors, including the amount of time each parent spends with the kid, each parent’s income, and if either parent has other children to support.
Second, child support is typically paid until the child turns 18 but may be ordered for a longer period if the child has special needs. Finally, nonpayment of child support can result in salary garnishment, asset seizure, or even jail time. Whatever your circumstances, it is critical that you understand your child support obligations.
Another common divorce issue is alimony, also known as spousal support or spousal maintenance. Whether alimony will be ordered in your divorce case depends on several factors, such as each spouse’s income, earning capacity, education level, and length of the marriage.
If alimony is ordered by the court, it will be based on one of two types: temporary or permanent. Temporary alimony is paid for a set period after the divorce is final, whereas permanent alimony is paid indefinitely until one spouse dies or remarries.
4. Property Division
In many divorces, one of the spouses’ biggest issues is how to divide their property fairly. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question because every couple’s financial situation is unique. However, in most cases, the property is divided either equally or based on each spouse’s economic needs and contributes to the marriage.
If you’re going through a divorce, it is important to have a clear understanding of your state’s laws on property division. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you understand your rights and options to make the best decision for your future.
Debts are another common issue in divorce. Although it may seem fair to divide the debts evenly between the two spouses, that is not always how it works. Like property division, how debts are handled during a divorce depends on each couple’s unique financial situation.
In some cases, debts may be divided equally between spouses, while in other cases, one spouse may be responsible for paying all the couple’s debts. However, it’s important to remember that even if a debt is assigned to only one spouse during divorce, both spouses may still be liable for that debt if their names are on the account.
6. Parenting Plan
If you have children with your spouse and you are getting divorced, one of the first things you’ll need to do is create a parenting plan. A parenting plan typically includes information such as which parent will have primary custody of the child, where the child will live, how much time each parent will spend with the child, and how major decisions regarding the child will be made.
While there are no hard-and-fast rules about what must be included in a parenting plan, it’s important to ensure that it meets your unique needs and those of your children.
Divorce is never easy, but understanding these six common legal issues will help ensure you’re prepared for what’s ahead. If you have any questions about these issues or what they mean for your specific situation, please contact an experienced family law attorney in your area.