A marriage can be performed in a matter of minutes. But when it comes to ending one, the process is lengthier and far more troublesome. The reason for this is part policy, part practicalities. The law generally promotes marriage – in everything from the tax code to how schools deal with parents and hospitals deal with patients. From a practical point of view, separating a married couple just involves more work. Living arrangements have to be determined, property has to be divided, and child custody decisions have to be reached. Divorce proceedings must accomplish this while leaving all parties in fair shape for the future. Getting yourself organized is a major part of divorce proceedings. The various forms, questionnaires, worksheets, and checklists in this section can help you prepare.
Divorce Courts Make Decisions Based on Evidence
Most states give courts broad discretion in divorce proceedings. How property and assets are divided, which spouse receives support and how much, and what’s in the best interests of the children are all questions a judge may decide. Even amicable divorces require a lot of work. Accounting for all property and assets, arriving at a parenting plan, and determining a settlement that works for both spouses requires disclosure and honest evaluation.
The law cares deeply about evidence, and wading through a couple’s financial records, property records, tax returns, and other details is just part of the process. A divorce attorney can and will perform all of these steps. But getting organized can help them come to grips with your case faster. It’ll also help with the court and opposing counsel. When you consider how much a divorce attorney can cost, that can mean real savings over the long-term.
Forms, Checklists, and Worksheets Can Help You Organize
Checklists and questionnaires are good way to gather and organize information. Divorce attorneys especially rely on them to understand a client’s financial position and personal history. Chasing down bank accounts, investments, tax returns, mortgages and loan information, education and work history, and expenses are part of what divorce attorneys routinely do.
Having this stuff ready for your attorney will speed up the process. Organizing your details can also help you get a better feel for what to expect from a divorce. Divorce courts try to reach an equitable result for everyone. Knowing the true state of the marital estate can go a long way.
Alimony and Spousal Support
Many of the decisions made during a marriage can have consequences when it ends. There are some common issues that arise in divorce law. When one spouse earns most of a couple’s income and another performs most of the care giving jobs, should that balance of financial power be reflected in a divorce? If one spouse worked while the other went through school to get a high-paying job, should the working spouse receive some sort of compensation when a divorce occurs? What if one spouse has strong career and employment prospects while the other took time off to raise a family? Should alimony and spousal support be adjusted?
These are all frequent questions in divorce law. The various forms, worksheets, and checklists in this section can take you through some of the stuff your lawyer and a court will be interested in learning about.
Dividing Marital Property
You’ll also find forms and questionnaires here dealing with the division of the marital estate. Divorce courts review a marriage’s joint assets along with each spouse’s separate assets. This is then used to determine a fair distribution for all parties. Details on your home, other properties, investments, savings, securities, benefits, retirement plans, and insurance policies will factor in here. Using the resources in this section can help you put together this information.
Getting Legal Help
Divorce is a complex and time-consuming process. Using an experienced divorce attorney can save you time and hassle. It can also help ensure that someone knowledgeable is watching out for your interests.
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