Deciding to end a marriage is never an easy decision. A divorce or separation is often a challenging and stressful event that can impact every aspect of a person's life. From dividing assets and debts to determining child custody and support, the process can be overwhelming and emotionally taxing. However, understanding the basics of the divorce and separation process can help individuals feel more prepared and confident as they move forward with this difficult decision. In this blog post, we will provide an overview of the divorce and separation process, helping you understand the steps involved and what to expect along the way.
To initiate the divorce process, one spouse must file a petition with the court requesting a dissolution of marriage. The petition must state the grounds for the divorce, which can vary depending on the state in which the divorce is filed. Although some states allow a "no-fault" divorce, others require a specific reason such as adultery, abuse, or abandonment. Once filed, the other spouse will be served with the petition and given the opportunity to respond.
Once the divorce process is underway, one of the first things that must be addressed is the division of assets and debts. This can include everything from bank accounts, retirement funds, and real estate to credit card debt and car loans. Depending on the state, property may be classified as marital, separate, or a combination of the two. It's important to note that equitable does not necessarily mean equal, and courts will often take into account factors such as each spouse's income, earning potential, and contribution to the marriage when dividing assets and debts.
If children are involved, determining custody and support is often one of the most contentious issues in a divorce or separation. There are two types of custody: legal and physical. Legal custody refers to the right to make major decisions regarding the child's upbringing, while physical custody refers to where the child will live. In some cases, parents may share both legal and physical custody, while in others, one parent may have sole custody. Child support is calculated based on a variety of factors, including each parent's income, the number of children involved, and the amount of time each parent spends with the child.
In some cases, couples may be able to reach an agreement on their own without going to court. Mediation is a process in which a neutral third party, called a mediator, assists the couple in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement. This can be a more cost-effective and less adversarial approach than going to court, and it can help parents maintain a positive co-parenting relationship.
Once all issues have been resolved, a final divorce decree will be issued. This document legally ends the marriage and outlines all agreements made regarding property division, child custody, and support.
Going through a divorce or separation can be a challenging experience, but with the right information and guidance, individuals can feel more confident and prepared to navigate the process. If you're considering a divorce or separation, it's important to seek the advice and assistance of an experienced family law attorney who can help you understand your legal options and rights. At Ilvento Law, we specialize in family law practice in Orlando, FL, and are here to help you through every step of the process. Contact us today for more information and to learn how we can help.