Fundamentals of Divorce Law





Fundamentals of U.S. Divorce Law Copyright HG.org

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

  • Divorce & Parenting Arrangements
    Most parents experiencing a divorce tell me that their primary concern is their children’s best interests. And most of the time I believe them.
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    We are asked everyday if cheating would make a difference in a divorce outcome. It rarely effects the legal side of divorce. Here is what you need to know.
  • Determining Custody of Children with Special Needs
    Divorce of parents is doubly difficult for children with special needs. Parents and the judicial system have to carefully plan to secure their future.
  • When is Mediation Necessary?
    Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution, that is, a mechanism for resolving matters outside of the courtroom. Mediation is becoming an increasingly popular form of resolution for divorce settlements, in particular because it involves settling differences between spouses in front of a private mediator, rather than the court system.
  • Public Opinion Of Child Support Laws
    A study released in June of 2015 found that people in England and the United States feel their respective child support laws are unfair.
  • Change of Circumstances or Good Cause Required to Revisit Custody Defined
    Divorce lawyer from Rochester, Michigan explains that a change of circumstances or good cause is required before the court may revisit custody
  • Dividing Real Property in Divorce
    The most valuable asset in many divorce cases is the marital home. The disposition of this asset can have a significant impact on the financial health of the parties after divorce. Additionally, special considerations must be given to other pieces of real property that the couple owns. There are several options in determining how to deal with real estate in a divorce case. However, there are certain steps that must be taken before considering what is the best solution.
  • Question and Answer: Liability of Debts
    Question: My wife and I are not currently living together. Is my wife legally responsible for the bills? The answer to this question depends on a number of factors, namely the state laws where you live and whether there are any agreements pertaining to debts accumulated during the marriage.
  • Who Is Legally Responsible for Bills When Spouses Are Not Living Together?
    When spouses are not living together, it can be difficult to determine which spouse is legally responsible to pay debts. The timing of when the debt was incurred, the nature of the debt and state law are important considerations in this assessment.
  • Where Goes the House in a Divorce?
    The home that the family lived in during the marriage is often the most valuable asset that a couple owns. Therefore, this asset may receive much attention during the divorce proceedings. What happens to a house after divorce depends on state laws, circumstances involving the house and the parties’ actions.

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