Family Law Blog

The 5 Main Aspects of Divorce Law and Procedure

divorce law and procedureIt’s hard to deny that there are situations in which divorce is the best possible course of action. A divorce is filed in the United States every 13 seconds, on average. And although the divorce rate is steadily falling, divorce is still common, especially in second and third marriages (for which the divorce rates are 60% and 73%, respectively). If you’re considering a divorce, you probably have many questions about divorce law and procedure. Your best option when it comes to these questions is to ask a family lawyer in your area directly. But to get you started, here’s an overview of the five areas divorce law and procedure covers. A divorce settlement involves at least two and often all of the following:

  1. Property Distribution
    Different states have varying rules regarding division of assets (and debt) during a divorce. The most common rule is that this division must be “equitable.” But that doesn’t always mean a 50/50 split. If a judge thinks that an equal split would be unfair, he or she can make adjustments based on the length of the marriage, each spouse’s economic contributions to the marriage, each spouse’s economic situation prior to the marriage, and other factors.
  2. Alimony
    Alimony, also known as spousal support, is money that one spouse is required to pay to the other during and/or after a divorce. While the traditional situation involves a man paying alimony to an ex wife because she contributed non-economically to the marriage by staying home and raising children, women can in fact be required to pay alimony if they have been the primary earners prior to divorce.
  3. Child Custody
    These next three factors apply to couples with children. Child custody laws vary from state to state, but most address two concepts: physical custody and legal custody. The former refers to where the child lives, and the second refers to who can make medical, educational, and related decisions regarding a child. Both kinds may be shared (“joint”) or individual (“sole”).
  4. Visitation
    Child custody and visitation are closely related concepts, with visitation referring simply to parenting time.
  5. Child Support
    Child support is money paid by one spouse to the other for the maintenance of their child’s needs. Typically, this money is paid from the noncustodial parent to the custodial parent. Payments are determined primarily based on income, health insurance, and how much time the child spends with either parent.

Do you have other questions about divorce law and procedure, or any divorce law terms? Let us know!

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