When a marriage isn’t working out, couples often decide that divorce is the best solution. It’s a legal way to end an espousal and cut ties with your partner. Although divorce can be a relief, the process can also be emotionally and mentally draining.
There are complicated areas that need to be covered, so it’s crucial to understand how the divorce process works before taking this significant step. Below are key things to keep in mind.
You must have a reason for divorce.
If you want to file for a divorce, you need a valid reason, also known as grounds. The most common justifications are adultery or cruelty, but other options include desertion, imprisonment, and incurable insanity.
Once you’ve chosen your grounds, you’ll need to prove it to the court. For example, if you’re claiming adultery, you may need to provide evidence like text messages or emails. The court will then decide if your grounds are valid.
If your spouse contests your grounds for divorce, you’ll need to spend time and money gathering evidence to prove your case. It might include tracking your spouse’s whereabouts, taking photos or videos, or hiring a private investigator.
When trying to prove grounds, it’s important to remember that the court looks at the basis of your marriage, not necessarily the reasons for its demise. So, it’s best to be mindful of this before filing for divorce. Besides, stepping boundaries to get evidence of your spouse’s wrongdoings could result in criminal charges.
You must live apart for a certain period.
The next step is to file a divorce petition, which starts the process. The document will state that you want a divorce and why. After filing, your spouse will have to get served with the papers, which they’ll have a certain amount of time to respond to.
The following requirement is separation, meaning you and your spouse must live in different residences for a set period. The length of time varies from state to state, but it’s typically around six months.
There are exceptions to this rule, though. If you have young children, the court may require you to stay in the same home to minimize the impact of separation. Another exception is if you can’t afford two residences. Nonetheless, it’s essential to check your state’s laws to determine the specific requirements.
You may not need your spouse’s agreement.
In some cases, both spouses will be on board with the divorce and can sign the necessary paperwork together. But this isn’t always the case.
If your spouse doesn’t want a divorce, you can still file for one. You may need to take different steps and wait longer for the divorce to get finalized, but it’s possible. Mainly in domestic violence cases, it’s not uncommon for one spouse to file for divorce without the other’s agreement.
The court offers many resources to help those getting divorced, even if their spouse is uncooperative. This way, you can get the divorce you want without an arduous legal battle.
You should consider child custody and support.
If you have kids, child custody and support will be critical factors in your divorce. The court will decide on these matters based on the child’s best interests.
Typically, both parents will share joint legal custody, which means they’ll be involved in making decisions about the child’s welfare. But if you want to battle out your rights, a child custody lawyer will help you assert your parental rights and create a parenting plan.
As for physical custody, the child will live with one parent and visit the other. The court will also establish a parenting plan that outlines each parent’s rights and responsibilities.
In terms of child support, the non-custodial parent usually pays the custodial parent to help cover food, shelter, and clothes costs. The amount of support gets based on the state’s child support guidelines. Although, a judge may deviate from these guidelines if they believe it’s in the child’s best interests.
You should also address alimony and property division.
Alimony, or spousal support, is when one spouse pays the other a certain amount of money after getting divorced. The payments help the receiving spouse maintain their standard of living.
Then there’s property division when all the couple’s assets get split up. It includes assets like the family home, cars, savings accounts, and furniture. The court will decide how to divide the property based on state law. In doing so, the court will attempt to be fair and equitable to both spouses.
The divorce process takes time, so you need to be patient. Several aspects include proving grounds for divorce, filing separation, agreement, child support, and property division are all part of the process.
Despite the challenges, getting a divorce doesn’t have to be complicated. With the proper knowledge and preparation, you can quickly get through it.