Fundamentals of Divorce Law

Fundamentals of U.S. Divorce Law Copyright

Divorce Law Basics

The legal termination of a marriage is referred to by different names, Divorce and Dissolution of Marriage being the two most well-known. Couples seeking a divorce must obtain one via a court judgment, after which they will be awarded a judicial decree which declares that the marriage is dissolved. After a divorce has been legally finalized, both parties are free to remarry, pending time restrictions in some jurisdictions, which vary.

Divorce orders may address various issues depending upon the specific circumstances of the parties to the divorce, such as whether there is property to be divided and/or children for whom provisions must be made. Therefore, when applicable, these orders may deal with matters such as property and bill division, alimony or spousal support, child custody, visitation, and child support, as well as any other pertinent matters that the court judges to be relevant and necessary.

When a divorce action is initiated, it may be brought by either or both parties and may be contested or uncontested. When both spouses desire the divorce and are able to come to an agreement on the relevant issues, they may obtain an uncontested divorce, which allows them to proceed through the court process far more easily and quickly than when there are unresolved issues. These uncontested divorces are the most common. Quite often these types of divorces are obtained without legal counsel.

A smaller group of married couples, though, are unable or unwilling to reach an agreement with regard to the termination of their marriage and the ensuing issues. These contested divorces take a great deal longer, make it necessary to retain legal counsel, and usually require judicial intervention to come to a conclusion and obtain orders regarding the relevant issues.

Each state creates its own laws, codes, statutes and rules for handling the termination of a marriage as well as the other associated factors. Common law in each state also plays a role. Because of this, there is no uniformity, and instead divorce laws, policies and procedure often vary greatly from one state jurisdiction to the next.

Divorce Law Basics by State

Divorce Law Articles

  • Division of Business Ownership or Professional Practices in an Ohio Divorce
    How is the marital interest in a spouse’s closely-held business or professional practice established and divided during the course of a divorce or dissolution in Ohio? How do you protect the ongoing operations of the business or the professional practice while ensuring that a spouse receives appropriate compensation for their marital interest in the company or practice?
  • Can I Challenge Final Decision Making Authority?
    In Georgia, a judge can designate or parents can decide on which parent will have final decision making authority. This authority extends to certain important aspects of the child’s life.
  • Child Custody After Common Law Marriages
    Common law marriage used to be much more widely accepted than it is today. Today, only a handful of states recognize common law marriage. But, in those states that do, what is the process for child custody when the spouses separate?
  • In a Breakup, Who Gets Custody of the Dog?
    For many couples, a dog is just like a child. So, when a breakup or divorce happens, it can signal the beginning of a battle over custody of the dog. What does the law say? Who gets custody of the dog? Will a court even hear such a case?
  • Pet Custody: The Battle For Fido Rages On
    One of the more amorphous concepts in the family law arena is the treatment of a pet subsequent to divorce.
  • The Importance of a Prenuptial Agreement
    We live in a culture where marriages are not always “till death do us part.” Although most engaged couples imagine that their marriage will be a lifetime of shared bliss and cooperation with finances, the truth is that approximately 20 percent of marriages end within five years and more than 30 percent end within 10 years. This is why it is important to consider all possibilities for the future before you get married
  • Fighting for Your Rights in a Divorce When Your Spouse Has all of the Assets and You Have no Money
    Divorce is almost always a difficult time. Aside from the emotional toll of splitting with someone and the possible harm the fight could cause to your children, financial considerations can become enormous stressors. This is particularly true when one spouse has greater financial resources than the other. If this happens to you, what can you do to protect your rights despite the disparity in financial means?
  • Can I Get a Common Law Marriage License?
    When people get divorced, they may wonder about getting a common law marriage. They may be confused about the differences between traditional marriages and common marriages, especially concerning licenses.
  • Can I Get in Trouble for Not Returning to the United States with My Child from Florida?
    While parents are usually free to move around the country, into other territories owned by the United States and to other parts of the world, their ability to take their children with them may be inhibited. These rights may be restricted if the other parent or individual has a Florida court order pertaining to visitation or shared parenting time.
  • What Are the Questions I Need to Ask My Lawyer in a Child Custody Case?
    Child custody cases can be some of the most contentious. They can also be complex, and the way that they are decided varies from each state and region. To better prepare for a custody dispute, parents may retain the services of family law lawyers to help advise them of the process entailed in a child custody case.

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