Can a Divorce Lawyer Help Me?
Divorcing a spouse can be an emotionally taxing and challenging life event. Unfortunately, many people have had to experience the process of legally dissolving a marriage, but with an experienced divorce attorney, it can be a little less painful and daunting. Some situations are more complex than others, and having legal representation throughout can prove to be invaluable.
Not only can ending a marriage be a traumatic event, but it can also be quite expensive. For couples with a fair amount of assets, it is a good idea to hire an attorney who can protect their client’s interests while negotiating a favorable outcome to the case. Divorce cases that involve minor children, significant debt or property, and marriages that have lasted a long time are best handled by divorce attorneys.
In cases where both parties want the divorce and agree to the marriage coming to an end, the legal process is typically easier. In other cases, where one party is taken by surprise when served with divorce papers, the process can be more complicated. Often times, the blindsided party will do whatever he or she can to prolong the process and in turn, will often make the situation more painful for both sides.
Ideally, if both sides can agree on as many issues as possible, the process of the divorce should reach a quicker and more seamless conclusion. A lot of divorces are contentious affairs, and having an experienced divorce attorney on your side can help you remain calm, while providing a buffer to any unnecessary confrontations.
There are Different Types of Divorces: "Fault" & "No-Fault"
State laws vary greatly on fault and no-fault divorce. As the terms imply, a fault divorce is one in which a spouse claims the other is responsible for ruining the marriage. In a no-fault divorce, blame is not placed on either party. For example, if someone committed adultery in a state that allows fault divorce such as Texas, the person at fault could receive a lesser distribution of the marital estate.
All fifty states allow for a no-fault divorce, with only seventeen states still granting a fault-based divorce. No-fault divorce is also known as "insupportability" or "irreconcilable differences" because no proof of fault is required to obtain the divorce.
Contested and Uncontested Divorce
The difference between a contested and an uncontested divorce is that in the latter, both parties agree to the divorce, and are also in agreement about other issues, such as child custody and spousal support. Contested divorces are more difficult, can last a long period of time, and have the potential to cost a lot of money. This is not to say that an uncontested divorce is easy, or that disputes may arise.
It is common for issues to come about that one or both parties do not agree upon, and seeking a reasonable solution may require intervention by the court. Of course, when situations require further negotiation, legal action can be prolonged, which will often lead to even more expense. Hiring an attorney who is experienced in these matters can help resolve the issues faster, and may save money in the long term.
What is the Difference Between an Annulment and a Divorce?
Both a divorce and an annulment are legal process that dissolve a marriage. However, an annulment treats the marriage as though it never occurred in the first place. In order for an annulment to be granted, the court usually requires specific elements to be present, such as: fraud or misrepresentation, bigamy, incest, or lack of consent to the marriage.
Annulments commonly take place not long after the marriage occurred. In these cases, property will be traced back to the spouse who was the original owner. In annulments that lasted a longer period of time, the court will divide the assets as fairly as possible. In divorce cases, the splitting of assets is common, with some states dividing the property through community property laws or equitable distribution laws.
If children are involved, child custody and visitation is treated the same in both divorce and annulment legal proceedings. The court will always use the “best interest of the child” standard when deciding on parenting plans, child custody, and visitation agreements.
In many situations, divorce mediation may be a viable option for those seeking an amicable and cooperative resolution to the dissolution of the marriage. Divorce attorneys can assist their clients in developing a plan of action and negotiation scheme, to better prepare them for the entire process, while often saving them time and money.
Divorce mediation is generally less expensive, less stressful, and can help people work out issues they could not previously agree upon. If you are considering divorce, or divorce mediation, you should speak with an experienced divorce attorney who can review your case and provide guidance on your best possible course of action.