What you Need to Know About Divorce

Are you going through a divorce? Thinking about filing for divorce? Regardless of your situation, divorce is a difficult time. With all the emotions that can be involved, it is of the utmost importance that you understand your legal rights. The best thing to do when going through a divorce is to hire a divorce attorney to represent you. Besides handling all the legalities that arise, a divorce attorney can provide you with more time to focus on yourself and your life moving forward.

Should I consider legal separation before divorce?

Pulling the trigger on a divorce can be a very scary thing to do. A legal separation can be used as a stepping stone. Check your state’s laws to see if legal separation is offered in your state. Legal separation involves complying with guidelines set by the court. These guidelines will affect your divorce if you choose to go down that road post separation. Benefits to legal separation can be:
  • Trying out a separation if you’re not ready for divorce
  • Continuing to get medical benefits that would cease with divorce
  • Keeping yourself safe from debt your spouse may incur during separation
  • Detaching yourself from an unhappy marriage if your religion prohibits divorce
  • Support money paid to your spouse throughout the separation may be tax deductible
  • After 10 years of marriage, you may be eligible for spousal Social Security benefits
Plus, if you’re legally separated, you’ll have legal documents that can protect you from one party breaking the terms of the separation.

What is involved in the divorce process?

The first step in the process is filing the divorce petition and answer. Then a bunch of things happen:
  • Temporary orders
  • Discovery process
  • Divorce settlement
  • Trial (if necessary)
Temporary orders are used during the divorce process and will cease when the divorce is finalized. They are used to regulate shared interests such as:
  • Children’s needs
  • Household bills
  • Marital property
  • Assist a spouse without an income
The discovery process is a deep dive into assets, extramarital affairs, fitness for child custody, income and any miscellaneous issues relevant to the divorce. The divorce settlement process can go a number of ways. Alternatives to divorce court are highly recommended and when couples can jointly come to an agreement outside of court, the divorce process goes much quicker. It is important to keep this in mind, especially when children are involved. It is also a more cost-effective road than divorce court. When a settlement isn’t reached outside of court, the court schedules a trial. This is done in front of a judge, and most likely not a jury. Each side states their case and is able to call witnesses to provide additional credibility. The judge’s decision can be appealed.

How are finances typically handled in a divorce?

The best way to get this information is from your divorce attorney, as they know your situation and your state’s laws best. The general financial topics covered are:
  • Alimony
  • Dividing assets
  • Dividing debt
  • Property division
The division of property is heavily dependent on whether your state is a community property state or equitable distribution state.

When should I hire a divorce attorney?

You should hire a divorce attorney as early on in the process as possible. At the end of the day, it’ll make your life a hell of a lot easier.