Divorce is often a very unpleasant experience, but at the same time it can open up a whole world of new possibilities. It means the end of a marriage which you entered into expecting it to last the rest of your life - which is painful in itself. But unfortunately life doesn't always go to plan, and that's something we simply have to accept. This article will cover what divorce is and how it differs from separation, how you can go about getting a divorce and what happens after the dust settles.
What is Divorce?
Divorce is a process which legally ends a marriage. It effectively ends all legal obligations you have to your spouse which were put in place when you got married. That said, divorce can create legal obligations in its own right - for example, you may have to pay support money to your former spouse depending on your relative financial situations and your circumstances before your marriage.
This is different from legal separation. Legal separation allows you to live separately and effectively end your relationship, but in the eyes of the law you are still married. You'll have a court order which lays out your obligations to your spouse for the time you're legally separated. A legal separation is often used as a trial period so couples can see if they can work out their differences and decide if they want to move on to a divorce, which is a much more final legal move.
When you're legally separated you're still able to keep the medical and tax benefits that being married can bring, while still addressing issues like the division of assets and debt and child custody. If the legal separation is "successful" and you decide to follow it up with a divorce, often the precedents laid out by the legal separation agreement will simply be carried over to the divorce. In other words the same child custody and property division practices will be carried over.
How Do You Get a Divorce?
The rules surrounding filing for divorce differ from state to state. In general, the first step is to get and fill out the necessary legal forms, although you may want to talk with a lawyer before you do that to work out where you stand in terms of child custody, property, alimony and other important issues you're going to have to work out.
You may want to consider going through a legal separation if you're not entirely sure the problems in your marriage can't be overcome. Sometimes time apart can be enough to realize the benefits of your marriage outweigh any troubles you've been having. If you're absolutely certain problems can't be overcome (abusive behavior, for example) then you should proceed straight to filing for divorce.
If you want to avoid a court battle it's in your best interests to try to agree with your spouse on important issues like child support and property division (and trust me - legal battles are not pretty and are especially tough if you have children, so it's better to work things out peacefully). If you think you can work things out but you and your partner aren't really communicating, you can use a legal mediator to help you reach conclusions that work for both spouses.
Page 1 of 2 :: First | Last :: Prev | 1 2 | Next