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Published On: Fri, Feb 17th, 2017

Fours Isues to Consider When Getting a Divorce

Many complicated issues arise in a divorce. If you are married with children, the situation becomes even more complex. It can be a very stressful, emotionally draining experience.

Here, we focus on four particular issues that you should consider:

  1. Alimony/Spousal Support

If you are the financially independent spouse in your marriage, a court may order you to pay alimony to your financially dependent spouse. Alimony is also known as spousal support.

Courts base these payments on many different factors, including the earnings of both parties, the age and physical and mental condition of each spouse, each spouse’s earning capacity and more.

Photo/Nodar Kherkheulidze via wikimedia commons

  1. Property Distribution

When a couple separates, most states require their marital property to be “equitably” divided. Equitable means fair. It does not mean that the property will necessarily be divided equally.

Most equitable distribution states define marital property as “all real and personal property acquired by either or both spouses during the course of the marriage.”  

You do not divide separate property in a divorce. An example of separate property is property that you obtained prior to your marriage or which you personally received as a gift or as an inheritance during your marriage.

  1. Child Custody

If you have a child in the marriage, a huge consideration will be which parent gets primary custody of the child.

In the past, many states followed the “tender years doctrine.” The idea was that the mother would be the parent best suited to have primary custody of a child during the child’s younger years.

Today, however, most states do not consider the parent’s gender. Instead, they focus on what would serve the best interests of the child.

Keep in mind, two types of custody are at stake when parents separate:

  • Legal custody –  Which parent makes decisions that impact the child’s welfare such as where the child goes to school and what type of health care the child receives.
  • Physical custody – Which parent lives with the child.

Custody arrangements can take many different forms. For example, in many situations, the parents share legal custody, while one parent has physical custody and the other parent has visitation rights.

Increasingly, parents share physical custody. In such an arrangement, the child may spend equal time living with the individual parents.

  1. Child Support

Finally, if you are a parent, you will need to think about child support. Typically, the non-custodial parent holds the responsibility of paying child support. However, both parents have a duty to provide for their child financially.

In most states, courts calculate child support payments by turning to child support guidelines which are set out in a statute. The guidelines typically take into account each parent’s income, health insurance costs and childcare costs.

Get Help for Issues in Your Divorce

Of course, the above issues are just four of the many things that a divorcing couple will need to think about when parting ways.

You should meet with an experienced legal professional to discuss your specific situation and the unique issues that must be tackled in your divorce.

Author: Jacob Maslow

On the DISPATCH: Headlines  Local  Opinion

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