Divorce proceedings can be incredibly complex, and they require the help of experienced divorce lawyers. These attorneys can assist with issues such as child custody, property division, and spousal support. They can also prepare legal documents and attend court hearings.
Look for an attorney with expertise in the particular areas of your case. For example, if you have complex assets, find an attorney who specializes in these cases.
The process of divorce varies by state, but most have similar steps. It’s important for a couple to educate themselves about the laws in their particular jurisdiction. Divorce proceedings typically include issues such as the division of property, child custody and support payments.
To begin the process, a petition is filed with the court. Depending on the type of divorce, this may be a Summons with Notice or a Summons and Verified Complaint. The petition sets a waiting period for the divorce and also puts automatic restraining orders into effect. This means that spouses are not allowed to take children out of the state, sell or borrow against property or even make changes to insurance policies held by either spouse.
A copy of the paperwork must be handed to your spouse, which is known as “service.” Once served, the papers are brought to the county clerk’s office for filing. The documents will then be examined by a judge and approved before the marriage is dissolved.
Many divorcing couples find the division of assets and debt to be one of the most contentious parts of their divorce. The way in which assets are divided depends on state laws and whether or not the couple signed a prenuptial agreement.
In equitable distribution states, judges will attempt to divide property fairly between the spouses at a final hearing. However, this does not always mean equally. Similarly, in community property states, the judge will usually split assets and debt 50/50.
It is important to understand the difference between separate and marital property. Separate property is anything that either spouse acquired prior to marriage and not commingled with other assets. This includes personal possessions, such as cars or furniture. Marital assets, on the other hand, are things that both spouses earned or acquired during their marriage. This also includes any debts that both spouses are responsible for, such as a mortgage or credit card debt.
Alimony or spousal support
There are different types of alimony, or support. These include rehabilitative alimony, which the court awards during a transitional period while the lower-earning spouse is going back to school or undergoing training to increase their earning potential. Permanent spousal support is awarded when the dependent spouse cannot work or maintain a reasonable standard of living without financial assistance from the other party.
In addition to direct payments, the court may award a lump-sum payment of spousal support or other third-party support like mortgage payments, life insurance, and tuition payments for children. Spousal support is usually taxed as income for the recipient and deductible as income for the payor.
Spousal support laws vary by state, but there are some general guidelines. Like child support, spousal support is rarely automatic and depends on the judge’s discretion. The higher-earning spouse may be able to raise an entitlement defense based on fault grounds for divorce, such as indignities, cruelty, adultery, or desertion. Scheidungsanwalt Hattingen