There is no doubt the decision to end a marriage is stressful. A careful consideration of many aspects, many of which may not be obvious, can help to navigate a successful divorce, and thus a more positive beginning to your future. Anyway, you would need some legal advice. Check out www.fennellatlaw.com/ for attorneys that can guide you through this complicated process. Here are a few important terms to know if you are at that crossroad in your marriage:
Uncontested Divorce: Uncontested Divorce tends to be a more amenable process and often a less costly alternative. Couples resolve issues necessary to divorce without going to court. Mediators and Collaborative Attorneys are experts at helping couples facilitate the terms of their “no court” divorce.
Mediation: In mediation, the couple generally sets up a series of meetings to address financial and parenting issues. Couples can choose one mediator or co–mediators, where each party feels as if they have an advocate to assist in understanding the process and offering one-on-one guidance. The couple must be able to agree on substantive issues, and there can be no issues of domestic abuse. A trained mediator can help you work through disagreements so that the terms of your divorce are your own. Consult with an attorney whom you trust.
Collaborative Divorce. Collaborative Divorce is another “no court” alternative where parties retain independent collaboratively trained counsel. All parties sign an agreement stating negotiations are private. The parties agree any information utilized during the collaborative process will not be used in the event the parties cannot resolve their issues. In fact, the attorneys cannot represent the parties in the event the breakdown in negotiations results in the couple going to court. This is to ensure that all parties are committed to doing anything necessary to reach an agreement.
Contested Divorce. Contested divorce is an adversarial process where one party sues the other for divorce. Often the dissension that has existed in a couple’s marriage has escalated to a degree where the parties can no longer constructively communicate with each other. With negotiations at a standstill, spouses seek help. Generally, each party has separate counsel. If custody is an issue, the judge may appoint a third attorney, who will be paid by the parents, to represent the children. Once you file a contested divorce, you are asking a third party to decide your future. Your entire family is the subject of a lawsuit that may require additional financial and or psychological forensic experts and you must accept the fact that the result may not be what you had hoped for. The process takes time and even after a hotly contested divorce goes through trial it may take up to a year for the Judge to issue a decision. The couple must understand there is an emotional and financial cost associated with going to court.
Do I need a lawyer? Counselors in the practice of family law generally have a good sense on how to help a spouse get what he or she is entitled to while surveying the future to help avoid common pitfalls. Laws change! Changes in the law could have a significant impact on the terms of your divorce. Divorce is final–you need to know your rights. Family law attorney in Nashville TN can advocate for your rights while making the process as quick and painless as is possible given the circumstances.
What am I entitled to? You must first establish your marital estate. The marital estate consists of all assets and debts that have been acquired from the date of marriage until the date of filing for divorce or legal separation. Any property acquired, pensions, Annuities/life insurance policies, and other valuables, whether held jointly or in an individual’s name may be part of your marital estate. There may be separate property claims that need to be addressed. All assets need to be considered when establishing the couple’s marital estate.
Spousal support. In January of 2016, New York enacted a maintenance statute. The new law provides a formula to determine the amount of support a spouse may be entitled to from the other spouse, and guidelines for determining the number of years they are to receive support.
Children. If there are children, find a reputable attorney in West Bend and iron out issues of child custody, support, and visitation must be determined. The Child Support Standards Act governs in New York and dictates the amount of child support. Child Support is for basic needs of children, including food, clothing, and shelter. It does not include additional expenses such as the cost of extracurricular activities, uniforms, private tuition, or birthday party gifts. It is important to note that an award of sole custody does not relieve the non-custodial parent from child support obligations. The sole custodial parent, however, must make a good faith effort to include the other parent in major childrearing decisions.
Conclusion. The goal of a successful divorce is one where both parties can accept the terms of the divorce. It is the intent of the parties at the time of divorce that needs to be materialized in the agreement so that outside influences cannot pay a role. Marriages end, people move on and build new lives. After all, isn’t that the point of getting divorced? Divorce should not be rectifying the past, but looking toward the future.
By Staten Island attorney Lisa Giovinazzo, of SI Divorce and Mediation Center.