Divorce is a big step, but if you have come to the difficult decision that it is the right move for you, you have some work ahead of you. Every divorce follows its own unique path, but there are some divorce basics that universally apply and that it is useful to acquaint yourself with. The most important step in the divorce process, however, is working closely with an experienced Saint Paul divorce attorney.
Every divorce includes essential components (as applicable), and these include:
If you and your divorcing spouse can hammer out mutually acceptable terms related to each of these, you can bypass needing the court to intervene on your behalf (related to these issues).
The assets that you and your spouse acquired together as a married couple are generally considered marital property and these assets will be divided between you in a manner deemed equitable (rather than equal) in the course of your divorce. Obtaining a just division of your marital assets can obviously be critical to your financial future, so this issue must be carefully addressed.
If your divorce involves children, their well-being is likely your top concern. Custody is divided into legal and physical custody. Legal custody refers to a parent’s ability to make important decisions on behalf of his or her children, including decisions related to education, religion, health care, and extracurricular activities. Unless there is a compelling reason not to do so, the courts generally find that it’s preferable for both parents to share legal custody.
Physical custody, on the other hand, refers to which parent the children live with, and the courts tend to also assign joint physical custody. In the majority of cases, however, one parent will be the primary custodial parent – the parent with whom the children primarily live – and the other parent will have a visitation schedule.
Both parents remain financially responsible for raising their children after divorce. Because the primary custodial parent is already fulfilling this responsibility, the parent with the visitation schedule generally pays child support that is based on state guidelines to the parent with whom the children live primarily.
Alimony (or spousal support) is never a certainty, but it can play an important role when there is a significant financial discrepancy between spouses. If one spouse isn’t financially capable of meeting his or her own financial needs (at the level enjoyed during the marriage), the court may offset the discrepancy with alimony payments. If you are entitled to alimony, it’s an issue that you should not overlook.
Divorce is complicated, and obtaining terms that support you and your children’s best interests is critical. The formidable divorce attorneys at Atticus Family Law in Saint Paul are committed to skillfully advocating on behalf of your rights and for terms that work for you. We’re here to help, so please don’t hesitate to contact us today.
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