May 4th, 2013
Going through a divorce can be very complicated and confusing process for those thinking about divorce or those actually involved in one. And as time passes and you get further and further into legal proceedings, you might find yourself facing certain payments you do not fully understand. Alimony is just one of many things that can come up during the process of divorce. Alimony can come in several forms, including both permanent and temporary alimony payments.
Temporary alimony is monthly support fees one partner pays to the other party while the divorce is still pending. These payments are given to various reasons deemed acceptable by a divorce court, such as, but not limited to:
- The other spouse has no job or is not earning a living that can support himself or herself during the ongoing divorce trial
- Help in paying the fees brought about by the divorce, such as lawyers and other legal fees
- Living expense or house payments, until the other party has adjusted to his or her new lifestyle
Just like most issues in your divorce, such as child custody or division of property, these fees can be agreed upon by both parties, or they are otherwise be mandated by court through litigation. In order to get a fair amount or monetary support, a divorce lawyer can look into some conditions, such how much one partner earns, their age, health conditions and disabilities, and other concerns. Once these things have been cleared and both parties have come to an agreement, or when the court makes a decision on payments, these payments will usually be made until the final decision regarding the divorce has been given and a final decision is made regarding permanent alimony payments.
In the event that one partner has neglected or denied paying temporary alimony, they can be held legally liable, since a temporary alimony order is equal to a court order. Take note, though, that there are certain life events that can change a recipient’s right to receive both temporary or permanent alimony, and these agreements can be changed with approval from the court.
March 15th, 2013
Though divorce may be the best option to end a turbulent and unhappy marriage, this complex process is often stressful, frustrating, and overwhelming, even in the best of circumstances. Depending on the type of settlement spouses want to pursue, a divorce case can last between a couple of weeks to more than a year. A divorce settled amicably, that is uncontested, can be the shortest, easiest, and least expensive; however, many couples find they cannot agree on a number of important issues, including:
- Division of marital assets and debts
- Alimony or Spouse support
- Child custody and child support
- Child visitation
When a couple cannot reach an agreement on these or other issues, they will likely have to seek a contested divorce. In doing so, they may have to go through the following steps:
- Meeting with a divorce attorney – Selecting the lawyer who you believe can best represent you, doing interviews with him or her, and providing him or her with all the information (about marital properties and children) necessary for your case
- Divorce petition served to your spouse – Serving the divorce petition to your spouse (through mail, by a deputy sheriff, or personally) may be done after it has been filed with the court
- Your spouse responds to the petition – Your spouse is given about 30 days to respond to the petition (a law common to most states). His or her option not to respond will earn you a default judgment of divorce; by responding, your divorce case will go to the nest stages: discovery and settlement
- Discovery – This is the phase where issues about income, marital assets, and custody are brought into the open, as well as other issues relevant to the case
- Settlement – Prior to the final court schedule, spouses will be asked by the judge to reach an agreement. The discovery stage continues if agreement is not reached; this is followed by the scheduling of the case for divorce court
- Trial – The phase for presenting or cross-examining witnesses
- Post – Trial Motion –30 days is usually allotted for the defendant to file for relief from the judge’s signed final order. Another 30 days is given for the other party to respond to this motion
- Appeals – This is resorted to only if the post-trial motion has been denied
While every divorce does not go through all or most of these steps, it is possible, depending on a couple’s circumstances and each person’s wishes or needs.
February 9th, 2013
There are many different phases of a divorce, and one of the most important ones for the divorcing couple to be aware of is the way the marriage’s assets are going to be divided.
A divorce court’s goal when determining how these assets will be split among the former spouses is to do so evenly. The rules the court will use to determine fairness vary from state to state. A majority of states use an “equitable distribution” model. Equitable distribution divides the assets of a marriage based on an array of factors that include debts, parental responsibilities, and earning potential. Therefore, assets acquired during the marriage will not necessarily be evenly distributed.
The other model, used by nine states, is “community property,” in which the division of assets begins at 50-50. The idea is that the each member of the marriage has an equal stake in all of the assets and debts acquired during its course. These are divided evenly, so if one spouse runs up a great deal of debt, the other person may have to pay a portion of it.
The end of a marriage is always a difficult time for everyone involved, but having an understanding of how property division works can reduce the odds of further unpleasant surprises.