What most people going through a divorce dwell on is the why, or how did we get to this point? Unfortunately, not everyone is capable of having a closure conversation, and many will be deprived of the apology they so long for, and perhaps rightly deserve. Ultimately, it only takes one person to call it quits, and often one party feels a bit blind-sided. The leaver undeniably has a clear head start on the process, no matter how quickly the other tries to catch up, which makes the whole experience feel a bit imbalanced and unjust. But these are all emotional issues that actually play a very small role in the legal process. Here are the questions that a divorce court will focus on:
- Alimony– Does one party need support from the other? Is the other able to help the economically dependent spouse, and if so in what amount and for what duration?
- Property Division– What did the parties accumulate during the marriage, and how can we divide the assets fairly? Is anyone claiming premarital assets need to be traced out, or that inheritance or gifts from third parties were received during the marriage that need to be excluded from the marital pie?
- Legal Custody– Can the parents continue to make shared decisions on major issues such as education, medical care and religious upbringing?
- Time-Sharing Schedule– How will the parents share time with the children such that the kids can have regular contact with both parents, as is deemed in their best interest?
- Child Support– Based on the family’s income and necessary child-related expenses, such as daycare/aftercare and health insurance, what does the state formula recommend as a basic monthly support for the children?
These legal questions need to be discussed with an experienced family law attorney, whose goal should be to streamline the legal process as much as possible. A lot will of course depend on the other party and the attorney s/he retains. For more information on this process, here is the link to a short podcast:
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.