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Divorce is the legal termination of the marriage. During this process, matters such as division of property, custody of children, spousal support, child support, etc. will be settled. It is preferable for the parties to reach an agreement, with the assistance of their attorneys. However, if no agreement can be reached, the case will proceed to trial.
There can be many assets to divide in a divorce. The most common are the marital home, automobiles, personal property, bank accounts and retirement accounts. Also, each spouse can ask the other to help pay off any debts they may have in their name.
Case Law has greatly shaped asset division in divorce cases. The court will look at several factors to determine how to fairly divide assets. Your attorney must be able to capably guide you through this process. Not fully understanding the rules on asset division can cost you several thousands of dollars.
Spousal support (alimony) is sometimes paid from one party to another in a divorce proceeding. Two major factors that determine if spousal support is appropriate include the length of the marriage and the income of the parties. A skilled attorney must be familiar with and anticipate all arguments for or against the payment of spousal support in any particular case.
There are two types of custody, joint and legal. Legal custody deals with who will make the important decisions regarding the child. Typically parents share joint legal custody, meaning they both have equal say in these decisions. However, there are times when it is appropriate for one parent to have sole legal custody of the child. When a parent has sole legal custody, that parent makes all of these important decisions without the need to consult with the other parent.
Physical custody deals with where the child sleeps. The parent with whom the child spends the night most often is said to have physical custody of the child while the other parent will have parenting time with the child.
The court looks at 12 factors to determine which parent will have physical custody of the child. It is imperative that you have an attorney who fully understands these factors and how to successfully argue them in your favor when it comes to who will have custody of your child.
Once it has been determined who will have custody and who will have parenting time with the child (the parenting schedule is set) then child support can be calculated. Child support takes into account many factors, such as the amount of nights per year the child spends with each parent, the income of each parent, child care expenses, health care expenses, etc.