Divorce is the legal process of terminating your marriage. Over 2 million couples get married each year in the United States, while another 782,028 get divorced.
Couples divorce for multiple reasons, including infidelity, irreconcilable differences, and abuse. To obtain a divorce, you must file a petition with the appropriate court and complete the legal process. Going through a divorce can be emotionally and financially taxing, so there are some crucial things you should know before you file for divorce.
1. Financial Details
Divorce can significantly affect your financial situation. To get a clear picture of your financial situation, you should gather documents to establish proof of your partner’s income. You should also gather bank statements and other documents to verify how much money you have in your joint accounts. Have copies of deeds and proof of any assets you co-own. If possible, establish how much money your partner has in their bank accounts and whether they have any assets you do not co-own, such as a house or car.
Establish your current monthly budget and then create a new budget to determine what expenses you will cover on your own. It is also essential to have documentation of any debts you and your partner have. Courts do not always split all assets when a couple gets divorced. Property that is in one partner’s name will remain in their possession. Reviewing your financial situation will prepare you for how divorce may affect your standard of living, and give you some idea of what asset or debt you can expect to retain after your divorce.
2. Factors Affecting Child Support and Custody
Courts may consider several factors when awarding custody and calculating child support. Many courts promote co-parenting and operate with the belief that both parents should be involved in their children’s lives. Courts may award sole custody if one party can establish the other parent is negligent or abusive.
Child custody relocation laws vary based on your location. These laws may prevent you from moving away from the area where you and your partner currently reside. In other locations, these laws may offer you little legal recourse if your partner attempts to move away with the children. If you could receive a work transfer or wish to move closer to friends or family, you may want to familiarize yourself with the child relocation laws that will apply to your case.
3. What’s Best for You
Couples who still love each other may divorce because it is in their best interests. Some people want different things from life. One may have a career opportunity that involves living overseas while the other partner may not wish to move. Parents may also argue over parenting decisions and other matters and decide to stop living in a situation where they are in constant conflict.
You may be able to resolve your issues through counseling. You may also realize that you want to stay married. Take time to evaluate the reasons you are considering divorce and then determine what would need to change for you to stay in your marriage. You may decide that it isn’t possible to salvage your marriage, or you may conclude that divorce is in your best interests.
4. How to Find a Lawyer
Before you file for divorce, consider what to look for in a divorce lawyer. Hire experienced divorce attorneys, such as the lawyers at Reeder Law Firm. Your attorney should have practical experience with divorce cases so you can be confident they will consider all relevant factors when handling your case. Divorce attorneys are familiar with legal precedents they may be able to use to support your case.
5. What to Expect
The legal process can be lengthy and expensive. Typical 2015 legal fees for a divorce ranged from $8,400 to $17,500. The longer the divorce takes, the more expensive it will be.
Your divorce lawyer can advise you on what to expect at court hearings. You may need to appear in court to schedule your case. Your lawyer may advise you to wear a modest women’s blouse and dress pants or a skirt to make a good impression on the judge. It’s normal for courts to refer parties to mediation before their hearing. Mediation offers an opportunity for both parties to agree on custody and division of property. Parties who can reach an agreement during mediation can present their agreement in court and have their divorce finalized without requiring the judge to hear testimony and issue a ruling.