Photo Credit – Ezdrin Woods
Getting married in the US can be very complicated and delicate and should not be rushed into. In this article I’ll put you through what getting divorced in the US looks like and how it should be handled, subsequent articles will deal with the necessary steps and the attorneys that might help you make a proper case in the law court.
Divorce is a big decision and a kind of situation where both husband and wife along with family members and children go through an emotional journey. Divorce, also known as “dissolution of marriage,” is a legal process in which a judge or other authority legally terminates a marriage, restoring them to the status of being single and permitting them to marry other individuals.
Especially, for the US residents, to decide to end a marriage can be a big task. In the United States of America, divorce is the province of the state governments. This means there is no role of the federal government in such issues. This is why the laws related to termination of marriage vary from state to state and the legal process for divorce in the United States may also involve issues of spousal support, child custody, child support, distribution of property and division of debt and so on. However, the way you plan to end your marriage will depend heavily on your relationship with your spouse and the laws of the state in which you live. Nevertheless, many states still allow their courts to take into account the behavior of the parties when dividing property and debts, evaluating child custody issues, and determining child and spousal support. Similarly, some states require a period of separation prior to divorce (some also require therapy), and this has led to the creation of another category of relationship called “separation.”
Fault, No Fault Divorce and Uncontested Divorce
A fault divorce is one in which one party blames the other for the failure of the marriage by citing marital misconduct or other statutory cause for judicial termination. Fault divorces are most common where abuse is a factor. Abandonment, desertion, inability to engage in sexual intercourse, insanity, and imprisonment are other causes for fault divorces. In many states, the waiting period is shorter for fault divorces. In states that do allow fault divorces, the spouse who proves the other’s fault might receive a larger share of the marital property or more alimony.
No fault divorce is where neither spouse is required to prove fault or marital misconduct on the part of the other and one party must simply state a reason for the divorce that is recognized by the state, such as incompatibility, irreconcilable differences, or irretrievably broken. In some states, a couple must first live apart for several months before they can obtain a no-fault divorce. No Fault divorces are the most common type of divorce.
An uncontested divorce is a proceeding in which a person sued for divorce does not fight it and instead reaches an agreement with the spouse during the proceedings. In these cases, the terms of the divorce are agreed upon by both parties. Uncontested divorces are generally much more amicable and economical than other types of divorce.
The possible issues needed to be addressed in divorces include: division of property and payment of debts, child custody and support, maintenance (spousal support), child visitation and attorney’s fees.
Distribution Of Assets
For purposes of distributing assets after a divorce, courts divide property under one of two basic schemes: community property or equitable distribution. In community property states both the husband and wife equally own all money earned by either one of them from the beginning of the marriage until the date of separation. In addition, all property acquired during the marriage with community money is deemed to be owned equally by both the wife and husband, regardless of who purchased it. Community property is generally divided equally between the spouses, while each spouse keeps his or her separate property. With equitable distribution, assets and earnings accumulated during marriage are divided fairly, but not necessarily equally.