Divorce is often an emotionally and financially draining time. However, a qualified divorce attorney can help make the process easier. Here are some of the pivotal roles and tasks that divorce lawyers help their clients with.
Explaining Grounds for Divorce
Every state has established certain grounds for divorce that give one of the spouses the right to petition the court for the dissolution of the marital relationship. Some grounds for divorce are fault-based, such as adultery, cruel treatment, abuse or incarceration.
All states recognize no-fault grounds for divorce. However, some states require that the spouses live separately for a certain period of time before their courts FIND MORE LEGAL ARTICLESSEARCHare permitted to dissolve the marital relationship.
A divorce lawyer can explain whether there are any benefits to asking the court to dissolve the marriage based on fault grounds. For example, this may be relevant in determining whether spousal support will be available or how much support will be awarded.
In some cases, there has been a defect in the marriage. A legal requirement may have been ignored, the proper paperwork may not have been filed or a proper ceremony may not have been performed to make the marriage legal. A lawyer can discuss whether voiding or annulling the marriage is preferable to getting a divorce.
Providing Objective Advice
While divorce is an emotional process, a divorce lawyer can help make it less so. He or she can talk to you about factors that will affect your future, such as support and custody issues so that you are less focused on the demise of your marriage.
Additionally, a divorce lawyer can serve as the go-between for you and your spouse. You can avoid personal contact to help make the process easier to get through.
Accounting for Marital Assets
In order to properly distribute the marital estate, a divorce lawyer ensures that his or her client discloses al such assets. In many marriages, one spouse may have handled the money and the other spouse may not be aware of the couple’s debts and assets. A divorce lawyer can help collect records and locate assets and liabilities so that the divorce settlement properly addresses these possessions.
Explain Property Division
A divorce lawyer can explain how property is treated upon the dissolution of the marriage. Each spouse may have separate property that they brought into the marriage. Other spouses may have accumulated assets separately per a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
A divorce lawyer can explain whether the state is a community property state or equitable distribution state. This characteristic can make a dramatic difference on the distribution of the marital estate.
Devising a Debt Repayment Plan
Many times, handling the family debt is more tumultuous than splitting assets. Both partners may be legally responsible for joint debt. However, there are many cases in which only one spouse is held financially responsible for the debt. A lawyer can help determine how a spouse can protect himself or herself from debt that should be attributed to the other spouse.
Determining Spousal Support and Other Benefits
A divorce lawyer can help assess whether a spouse may be entitled to spousal support or may be required to pay it. Spousal support may be ordered when spouses have very different incomes or when one spouse sacrificed his or her career to advance the other spouse’s.
Additionally, a spouse may be entitled to a portion of the business interest that the other spouse runs.
Some spouses are only worried about the immediate financial consequences of divorce. However, spouses may be entitled to a portion of their spouse’s pension or Social Security income if they have been married ten years or more.
Helping with Custody Plans
A divorce lawyer can assist clients with developing a parenting plan that works for the parents and addresses the child’s needs.
Preparation with Divorce Papers
In order to get divorced, formal papers must be submitted to the proper court for approval. A divorce lawyer can assist clients with preparing these papers or responding to the other spouse’s petition for divorce.
Negotiating a Settlement
A family law lawyer can help a client negotiate a divorce settlement regarding the marital estate. If this process does not involve litigation, it is typically cheaper and faster than it is when battling it out in court.
Representing in Court
A divorce lawyer can help you litigate your case if you need to. This process may be necessary to resolve disputes regarding child custody, spousal support or divorce.