No one wants to think about divorce until it's actually happening. In fact, probably one of the reasons it is so scary is that you don't know the laws designed to protect you. You may even know someone who has divorced, but you don't talk about it. If you do, it's probably about how it ended up and not the process itself. It's not surprising that so many people choose a family law attorney to help them navigate the system. So what does the system look like?
There is at fault and no fault divorce. All states allow a no fault divorce. Spouses must separate, however, and live apart for a period of time to qualify. An at fault divorce is only allowed in certain states. In this case, you must then prove that the spouse was cruel, committed adultery, deserted you, is in prison, or has an inability to have sex.
Can your spouse stop your divorce? Well, they can sure slow it down. A spouse can stop an at fault divorce, but generally if someone doesn't want to be married any longer, we don't make them stay married. That alone is grounds for divorce. There are so many factors to discuss in divorce: child support, spousal support and the division of property.
Who gets the house, and how to get your name off your spouse's truck loan are additional hurdles. Your family law attorney will no doubt advise you in this matter. Most states have a calculator to determine child support. Child support is based on what the child would have if the parents were together. This means that if Mom is a higher wage earner, then Mom may have to pay Dad. While there is a standardized calculator for spousal support, it is generally awarded case by case. Some things considered would be how long the marriage lasted, each partner's ability to pay, his or her work history and the overall income potential of each party. Was one person a homemaker? Is there a reasonable assumption that the party asking for support will be able to be self-sufficient at some point?
Now, how is child custody awarded? Thankfully the court doesn't get involved unless the parents or their family law attorneys can't come to an agreement on their own. Even more thankfully, when they do, they act in the best interest of the child. The court would consider one's financial ability to care for the child. They will consider who is the child's primary caretaker as well. The court will ask children as young as 12 for thoughts on which parent they would rather live with. They may even consider each parent's home and what it would mean for family support. When going through the uncertainty of divorce, there are many things that are scary, and determining where your children will live is the scariest for most parents.
Mostly remember when going through a divorce that a good family law attorney might be your best bet. It's a scary and emotional time for you. Having someone on your side who knows the ropes will take a lot of the fear away. Maybe you don't even have kids, but that doesn't make divorce any less scary or division of assets any less overwhelming.