Getting a divorce involves much more than simply deciding not to be married to your spouse any longer. Whether the divorce is contested or uncontested, there are several matters that must be resolved before the divorce is final. These are some issues that must be settled when going through a divorce.
Division of Property
When a couple ends their marriage, all of the personal property they have acquired during the marriage is considered to be owned by both parties. This includes the home, automobiles, land or any type of property that has a high dollar value. This can also include retirement funds or any financial settlements either party is expecting.
The property may be sold and the money can be divided equally. If the couple can agree on who gets what, it can also be divided according to their wishes. In some cases, if there are children involved, the custodial parent will get to keep the home and at least one vehicle to ensure the transportation needs of the children are met.
Child Custody and Visitation
Both parties will also have to agree on who will get custody and visitation arrangements with their children. One parent may be given full custody and the other may get a prearranged visitation schedule. If both parents want custody of the child, joint custody may be granted. Joint custody allows both parents equal time with the child and equal rights to make decisions for the child.
Spousal and Child Support
If one party earns substantially less than the other, spousal support may be requested by the lower-income party. This helps that party to continue paying their regular monthly expenses. However, this amount is normally a percentage of the other party's income and may not be enough to maintain the lifestyle the lower-income party is accustomed to.
If the couple has children, both parties have the responsibility of providing for the children. Usually, the noncustodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent and also covers health insurance expenses. If custody of the children is shared jointly, each parent may be responsible for a certain percentage of the child-rearing costs depending on how much income each party has.
Division of Debt
The debt that is acquired during the marriage must also be resolved. This does not necessarily mean it will be divided equally. For instance, if one party retains the marital home they may still both be responsible for paying the mortgage. If the party with less income keeps the home and is the custodial parent, the party with the higher income may be required to pay some or all of the mortgage payment.
It is never a pleasant experience when a marriage comes to an end. The legal and financial aspects that are involved can be very overwhelming at times. However, if both parties can agree on these issues, the divorce can be finalized more quickly.
For more information, contact a divorce attorney.