If you’re contemplating divorce, you may be wondering what the process is like. While varying laws will determine the divorce process, there are eight steps that you have to go through before the divorce is finalized and your marriage is dissolved completely. Here’s a broad description of these steps although there may be some alternate issues that will come up in your individual case. This article is mainly aimed at the USA – if you’re looking for family solicitors London – then we’d recommend contacting Goodman Ray to help.
- Legal Separation
There are some areas particularly in the USA (states) that don’t allow a couple to separate legally. In these certain states you will remain married until a court of law decides otherwise. If your state allows for legal separation, when a spouse leaves the family home, you can petition your attorney to petition the court for a separation agreement. This agreement is meant to protect both spouses and children by making sure both parties can meet legal responsibilities to one another.
If your state doesn’t allow for legal separation, your first step would be to get your attorney to file a petition with the courts requesting a hearing for a temporary separation agreement order. This is done by filing a petition for a divorce.
Also as part of the process, you have to begin by filing a document known as the “Original Petition for Divorce” with your local court clerk. This document, also known as a “Letter of Complaint” in some states, identifies the parties on the divorce and any children of the marriage. The person filing the divorce is known as the “Petitioner” and the other party is often referred to as the “Respondent” or the “Defendant.”
The petitioner has to give a reason for filing for divorce. This reason in most states will often be “irreconcilable differences” or “incompatibility.”
One the petitioner has filed the Original Petition for Divorce; this document is served to the respondent usually by a local member of the sheriff’s office. The respondent then has thirty days to hire an attorney to respond to the petition. This is also the time for either party to seek protection from the court in terms of restraining orders, protective orders or other temporary orders pertaining to alimony or child support.
- Temporary Divorce Orders
The court can then issue temporary orders or even outline specific actions that must take place until the final divorce hearing. These temporary orders can include things like spousal support, child custody and child support. These orders are legally binding and failure to adhere to them or meet conditions set by the court could lead to contempt of court charges that can lead to jail time or fines.
- Divorce Discovery
“Discovery” is the process of gathering more information about both parties involved in the divorce. The process can vary from one state to another, but will typically consist of the following four steps;
Disclosure: The attorneys for both parties request certain items from the other party. Usually a list is sent to the other party who has 30 days to comply.
Interrogatories: The attorneys send a list of questions to other party. Most states will limit the number of questions and each party has 30 days to answer.
Admission of Fact: A list of facts is sent to the other party and they have to either admit or deny each fact.
Request for Production: this is a legal mechanism that is used to obtain documents like bank statements or any other documents the attorney thinks will benefit the case. The party receiving the request has 30 days to comply.
During depositions, both attorneys will take sworn statements from the opposing parties and any witnesses. Anything said during a deposition can be used in court and any agreement is also legally binding.
- Divorce Mediation
For some people, this is as far as they get in the divorce process. In mediation, both parties and their attorneys meet to discuss the conflicts in the marriage and come to an agreement that satisfies both parties. A court-appointed mediator or arbitrator is present to negotiate a settlement.
- Divorce Court
If mediation fails to produce an agreement suitable for both parties, then a trial date is set. Both parties will get a chance to argue their case before the court. Witnesses can also be called upon to back up your claims. The judge will examine the evidence and make a decision for divorce or settlement. A judgment is often rendered in 14 days.
- After Divorce Court
Once the judge makes a decision, the parties will sign the final divorce decree. This determines how any marital property will be divided, any order about child custody, child support amounts and any spousal maintenance ordered by the court. During this time, you can request changes to the decree before signing.
- Appealing a Divorce Court Order
If you feel that the divorce was unfair, you can file a motion to appeal the order. This is usually filed with the same judge and you should therefore not be surprised when the courts deny your motion since most judges will not set aside their own orders. If the motion is denied, you can file with the state appellate court.
Joe was married to a wonderful woman named Diana. They were happily married for 7 years. Then, one day, Joe learned that his wife was having an affair with her boss. After she admitted the truth, they separated. He was beyond broken. But he would still go to her house at night and beg her to take him back.
After months of begging, Joe accepted the fact that Diana was not coming back and so, he finally agreed to cooperate in the divorce proceedings. He thought that it was an amicable breakup, until his lawyer notified him that his ex-wife accused him of domestic violence. To prevent the claim from reaching the court, Joe eventually settled. He gave his cheating wife the house and full custody of their two kids.
One of the best things that happened in the 21st century is the protection of women’s rights. But sadly, the laws governing domestic violence are used by many women (and their lawyers) to get a favorable settlement in divorce. A lot of women use these laws to turn their kids against their dad or to get attention. Some vindictive women falsely accuse their former partners of domestic abuse to get even.
Spouses are not the only ones who can file domestic abuse claims. In fact, people you have dated, your ex-spouse, roommates, a person you had a child with, your kids, grandchildren, and even your siblings can file a case of domestic abuse against you.
Being accused of domestic violence can wreak havoc in your life. You could go to jail or lose your job. You could lose most of your marital assets. You can lose custody of your kids and the respect of the people in your community. It can ruin your reputation and your future. Remember that domestic violence is a criminal offense and having a criminal record can negatively affect your ability to get a job or obtain decent housing deals.
When you’re accused of domestic violence, temporary custody of your children automatically goes to your partner. You’re not allowed to contact your kids or your partner while the trial is ongoing and the family home automatically goes to the accuser. You’ll be required to enroll in an anger management program. Also, a recorded domestic abuse restraining order may cause you to lose your civil liberties such as the right to carry a firearm.
Plus, domestic violence can be proven by what is called a “preponderance of evidence.” This means that the accuser must only prove that there’s a 50 percent chance that her claims are true.
This is the reason why you should be proactive and try to prevent false allegations of domestic violence. Here’s a list of tips that can help you:
Understand what “domestic violence” is.
You can’t prevent something that you don’t fully understand. To prevent false domestic violence claims, you have to understand what domestic violence is. There are three general types of domestic abuse: sexual violence, psychological violence, and economic abuse.
Marital rape and beating are obviously types of domestic violence. But a lot of acts that are seen as “less violent” are actually types of domestic abuse, including:
- Preventing your spouse or domestic partner from getting a job
- Threatening to injure pets or special properties such as expensive paintings or works of art
- Using guilt to get sex
- Unwanted sexual experiences such as whipping, being tied, or being blindfolded
- Laughing at your partner’s naked body
- Performing oral sex while your partner is asleep
- Insulting your partner
- Undermining your partner’s self-confidence
- Forcing your partner to drink alcohol
- Telling your partner that she’s stupid or incompetent
- Public humiliation
- Calling your partner “whore,” “bitch,” or “ugly”
- Yelling at your partner
- Threatening to ruin your partner’s reputation
- Checking your partner’s phone
- Preventing your partner from seeing her friends.
So, think twice before yelling at your partner during a heated argument because that could potentially cost you a lot, including your freedom and your reputation. Find your lawyer for domestic violence NJ
Avoid getting into a fight.
Whenever you can, avoid getting into a fight. Try not to yell or say derogatory words when speaking to your partner.
When you’re in a heated argument with your partner or spouse, try to diffuse the situation. Try your best to come up with a win-win situation. Strive to be the bigger person.
Create a strong defense.
If you think that a vindictive partner is about to accuse you of domestic violence, you have to be proactive and create a strong defense. You should look into your partner’s deepest motivations, such as leverage in child custody issue, to get an upper hand in the divorce settlement, vengeance, or serious mental health problems.
Make sure that your partner’s erratic behaviors and vindictive threats are recorded so you could use them as evidence in court.
It’s important to gather witnesses who can vouch for your character and your parenting abilities like your neighbors, nanny, or colleagues.
Change all of your log-in information.
Remember that almost everything can be used against you in the court of law. This is the reason why you should be careful. Change all your passwords and log-in information for your social media accounts, bank accounts, hard drive, cellphone, etc.
Notify your family members about your fears and concerns.
Your family may be turned against you in a domestic dispute. This is why you should notify your family members of your partner’s vindictiveness or erratic behavior.
Protect your valuables.
Most false accusers would try to steal your valuables such as car titles, land titles, birth certificate, and driver’s license. So, it’s best to keep your valuables in a safe place.
Show to everyone that you’re a good person.
People can’t bring down a good man so, just be good. Don’t yell or raise your voice and always speak the truth.
Lastly, you should consult an attorney who has years of experience in domestic disputes and litigation.
Robert A. Rodell, Attorney at Law, can help you build a solid defense and throw out false domestic abuse charges against you. He’s a former prosecutor with over 30 years of experience in litigation. He has competitive rates and provides aggressive defense.
Prevention is always better than cure. Be proactive in preventing false domestic abuse claims against you.
The divorce lawyer is often called as family practice lawyers and divorce attorneys. These lawyers help the people and their clients in solving the family related issues, matrimonial issues, child custody cases, marriage annulment, etc. The term divorce mainly stands for the dissolution of marriage. The cases which are related to the divorce process are all solved by the family practice lawyers or divorce attorneys. These cases are of all types, and they range from child custody to a division of property.
As the divorce is commonly an emotional process, so it is important for the people and individuals to hire the best attorney or lawyer who understands the person’s situation at a personal level. They need a lawyer or attorney who provides them with proper support by understanding all issues and problems. One should only hire that divorce lawyer who properly understands the responsibility and gives the best law services to their clients or users.
There are many divorce cases in which there is no need for a divorce lawyer. These cases include where no child custody involvement and where there are no property related issues. On the other side, there is some case in which the property related issues and child custody involvement is present. One must require a family practice lawyer or divorce attorney. So, it is essential for the users and individuals to hire the best and more experienced divorce lawyer when they need.
Factors to know before while hiring the best divorce lawyer
Well, there are many factors or things which are necessary to consider while going to hire the best divorce lawyer or divorce attorney. The given below are some essential and most common factors which the users and people need to consider in order to get the best family practice lawyer –
- Skills and abilities –It means that the divorce lawyer you are hiring must be skillful and have all the abilities and confidence to face any challenge and situation. It is a very important process as in the divorce related cases there are many situations present which require a competent and knowledgeable divorce lawyer.
- Experience – The family practice lawyer you are going to hire should be more experienced than all other lawyers. He or she must be having at least 5-6 years of experience. The benefit of hiring the highly experienced lawyer is that they provide the best advice and helps their clients properly by knowing all the problems and situation of them.
These are some most common factors which help the users to get the best and more experienced divorce lawyer. So, it is compulsory to keep these factors in mind while going to hire the best divorce attorneys in Nashville, TN.
In a nutshell, it is important to choose or hire only the more reputed and more experienced divorce lawyer to easily solve all the divorce-related cases. There are many divorce lawyers present in different countries, but the divorce attorney Suffolk County provides the more experienced and fully knowledgeable divorce lawyers.
Do you have a little bit of time to think about the relations surrounding you? Do you have enough time to think about yourself? There is some more such sort of questions which makes a person think for a while. No matter you get the right answer or not, but at least it will provocate you to think. Our life is full of relationships. The amount of value you give to them makes it strong. It includes the relationship bonds between parents and their children, brothers with their sisters and grandparents with their grandchildren, etc. Law has no right to question any one of them in the relations mentioned above. There is only one relation which requires the interference of law.
One such relation is marital relation- the relation between a man and woman which is a beautiful creation by God. Then why the word “divorce” has become the most popular in married couples nowadays. Divorce is a situation where the relationship between the married couple is broken by law for the benefit of both the man and the woman. A divorce can be given by the man or the woman or mutually and then it is permitted by the law sanctioning their petition. If you are planning to file a divorce case, go for www.vhdlaw.com divorce attorneys. A good divorce attorney will always strive to work to get justice for his/her client.
Duties of divorce attorney:
- Complete information: Normally, when the client approaches the attorney, the attorney should inquire about complete details. Especially a divorce attorney should ensure he/she has the complete information about the client. Not only collecting information he/she has to ensure the information is genuine.
- Analyze the situation: When a divorce attorney is approached, it is obviously understood that the client wants a divorce from his/her spouse. As an attorney, he/she should understand the difference between debates, disagreement, and fight. A debate is quite normal in almost all families nowadays as everyone is enjoying their vote of speech. Disagreement comes when someone does not agrees to the fact put in front of them. The fight is the ultimate step where the client is fighting for justice in case of physical and mental abuse. The role of a divorce attorney comes into the picture in case of the third option. So one should really analyze whether the fight scene was necessary. Sometimes it so happens that the client is so frustrated with his/her spouse, they immediately opt for a divorce due to disability to bear the pain. As a responsible person, the attorney should first listen to his/her client and then suggest them to have one more discussion with his/her spouse. Even after the idea discussion does not work, and then the proceedings for the divorce have to be dealt. Good counseling will always help to solve the issues, and we find many successful cases around us.
A divorce attorney is first a human being and then an attorney, so the prime duty is to ensure that the beautiful relationship of marriage does not break as breaking is easy and keeping them united is the tough job.
It is not uncommon for people to have two homes and for people in Chicago, Illinois, that second home is often somewhere in Florida. Florida has many advantages: great weather in the winter, no income tax, and low property taxes. Chicago has its own advantages: high wages, job opportunities, lots of culture. So, people who have a home in each state eventually have to be a resident of one of the states for various purposes, usually taxation. But what about divorce in Chicago? Which state’s laws are advantageous for you in your divorce? Do you have the ability to choose which state you will file and prosecute your divorce?
As a divorce attorney in Chicago, Illinois and a Divorce Attorney in Naples, Florida, I will walk you through the options available to you if you have a home in Chicago and a home in Naples, Florida.
Where Can I File For Divorce in Chicago and Florida?
If one party to the divorce lives in Chicago, Illinois, the divorce can proceed in Chicago, Illinois. The Illinois statute requires that you be a resident of Illinois for 90 days before filing for divorce but in reality, if you file for divorce and then stick around for 90 days, you will be allowed to proceed with your divorce in Chicago.
Florida is a lot stricter. You absolutely positively have to live in Florida for at least six months continuously before you are allowed to file for divorce.
Chicago Divorce Lawyer
Russell D. Knight
1 North State #1500
Chicago, IL 60602
Naples Florida Divorce Lawyer
Russell D. Knight
3375 Pine Ridge Rd #201
Naples, FL 34109
The subsequent question is “Which courthouse in Chicago and Naples Florida do I file my divorce?”
If you live in Cook County, Illinois or your spouse lives in Cook County, Illinois there are six courthouses where you can file your divorce in Chicago. As a Chicago divorce lawyer, I only file at the Daley center in Chicago, Illinois. There are a variety of judges at the Daley Center (it’s the largest single courthouse in the world) and you have the option of substituting the judge if you’d like to exercise that right. The other courts within Cook County often only have one judge and you cannot substitute that judge without removing the case to Chicago’s Daley Center.
If you live in Naples, Florida there is only one courthouse to file your divorce in, the Collier County Courthouse. As a Divorce Attorney in Naples, Florida I only file divorce cases in Collier County when I file for Divorce in Naples for my clients.
You or your spouse are not locked into the particular court within which the case was first filed. Either of you can plead “forum non conveniens” wherein you explain to the court that you don’t live there, your spouse doesn’t really live there, that your children don’t live there, and that your marital property is not there. This usually requires that you file for divorce in Chicago in the state and county that you actually want the case to be heard. Typically, the judges from the two different counties get on the phone with each other and discuss where the case should actually be held. If the question is between Cook County, Illinois and Collier County, Florida, the judges will be familiar with me as a Chicago divorce lawyer and as a divorce lawyer in Naples, Florida.
Knowing where you can file (or can’t) you will now need to consider where you should file to put yourself at the greatest advantage based on the respective states.
Mediation for Divorce in Chicago
In both Illinois and Florida mediation is mandatory when there are children involved in a divorce. If the parties’ incomes are below a certain threshold Cook County, Illinois or Collier County, Florida can provide mediators. Parties with means can and should hire private mediators.
In Naples, Florida, financial mediation is required whereas in Chicago, Illinois it is merely optional (and rarely exercised).
In Florida, divorce attorneys are intimately involved with the mediation proceedings. The lawyers help with the negotiations as they proceed with the help of the mediator.
In Chicago, Illinois divorce lawyers usually tell their clients, “Good luck with the mediation. Let me know how it worked out.”
Child Custody After a Divorce In Chicago, Illinois and Naples, Florida.
Unlike the other aspects of a divorce, divorce in Chicago where your selection of venue can impact the results of your divorce, child custody does not allow for a much selection.
49 of the states in the United States entered into a treaty amongst themselves called the The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). This agreement provides a very specified layout of how to determine which state issues as to the children shall be determined.
The first test is always, “Where have the children been living for the last six months?” If the children have been living in Florida AND nothing has been filed, then Florida shall have jurisdiction over the children. If the children have been living in Florida for less than six months and one of the parents files a petition for custody (now known as a petition to allocate parenting responsibilities and parenting time) in Illinois then both the court in Florid and the court in Illinois must follow the regulations of the UCCJEA in determining which state will hear the case.
The UCCJEA can become extremely byzantine. The UCCJEA has rules for what happens when a child has been moved back and forth from a state within six months, for example. Typically, the two judges from the two different states get on the phone and discuss the matter cordially.
Keep in mind that even if a court decides that Florida or Illinois is the state within which custody matters shall be heard, both courts will consider what is best for the child in determining where the child will eventually live or who will have custody of the child. In my experience, there is clearly a “home court advantage” to whomever gets the case heard in their state. This is primarily due to the fact that contested custody cases are the worst kind and judges typically want to keep an eye on them. That requires the case, the parties and the children to stay in the state the court is located in.
A big difference in determining child custody and child visitation issues between Florida and Illinois is that Illinois judges will often say, “I can’t determine such personal issues such as where a child should spend the night and with who. Therefore, I will appoint a third attorney called a Guardian Ad Litem or Child Representative to represent the best interests of the child, investigate the situation and report back to me.”
In Florida, guardian ad litems are usually only available for children with no parents. Florida judges will rely on the representations made by the divorce attorneys in Naples, Florida.
Child Support after a Divorce In Chicago, Illinois and Naples, Florida.
Child support is typically determined by the laws where the child lives. But, if the divorce case is being heard in a state where the child does not live, the court will be likely to apply their own laws regarding child support because that is what the courts are empowered to do.
But once the child support is entered and the divorce is finalized, either parent can register the divorce in Chicago in the state where the child lives and ask for a modification of child support under the laws of that state.
In order to modify child support, a court in both Chicago, Illinois and Naples, Florida will require something in addition to just mentioning that the child lives in their state. The court will often require “a substantial change in circumstances.” This usually means a twenty percent change in the income of either party. Courts have a strong bias to dismiss cases that cannot prove the substantial change in circumstances because courts are there to settle conflicts. Courts love to say, “there is no conflict here. Therefore, there is no case.” For this reason, it is imperative that you employ a divorce attorney in Naples, Florida or a Chicago divorce lawyer if you file in either jurisdiction.
Child support is determined in a similar fashion in both Chicago, Illinois and Naples, Florida. The first step is to determine the income of both of the parents. Upon determining the income of the two parents, a number is calculated as child support payable to the parent with whom the child spends the most time with. In lieu of going through the guidelines tables for each state which will compare every foreseeable income between the two parties, I would direct the reader to find one of the many online calculators available throughout the internet for Illinois and Florida.
There are some differences between the Naples Florida and Chicago Illinois in determining the amount of child support beyond what I’ve described above.
In Illinois, the primary parent’s child support is not diminished until the non-primary parent has at least 146 overnight visits with the child.
In Florida, all parents who have the child spend 20% or less of their overnights with them pay “guidelines support.” Again, just use an online calculator to determine guidelines support.
If the non-primary parent has more than 20% of the overnights with the child, a new calculation is made. The non-primary parent with more than 20% of the overnights with the child shall calculate his child support as the guidelines support multiplies by 1.5 and then multiplied by the percentage they have with the child. This is not simple. Do not merely rely on an online calculator in this scenario. Hire a Chicago divorce lawyer or a Divorce attorney in Naples, Florida.
In both Florida and Illinois, children’s expenses beyond food and shelter are typically split between the parents proportionally to their income.
Florida has an additional requirement that the payor of daycare and/or health care expenses be extended a proportional credit to their child support obligation. This could increase or decrease a parent’s child support depending on who is paying what.
Alimony after a Divorce in Chicago Illinois and Florida.
Illinois calls alimony “maintenance.” For the purposes of comparing the Illinois and Florida’s laws, I will refer to the support a party receives from another party that is not child support as “alimony” for both states.
Illinois has very specific and predictable alimony laws. The greater earner pays the lesser earner 33% of his or her net income. This amount is then reduced by 25% of the lesser earner’s net income. The amount of support to be awarded is capped at 40% of the total of the two parties’ incomes.
This is not mandatory in every case. The court can make exceptions to this calculation for any of the following reasons or factors:
- If one party has a great deal of assets, they may not be entitled to maintenance because they can presumably support themselves with those assets after a divorce in Chicago.
- The needs of each party.
- The realistic present and future earning capacity of each party.
- Any impairment of the present and future earning capacity of the party seeking maintenance due to that party devoting time to domestic duties or having foregone or delayed education, training, employment or career opportunities due to the marriage.
- Any impairment of the realistic present or future earning capacity of the party against whom maintenance is sought.
- The time necessary to enable the party seeking maintenance to acquire appropriate education, training, and employment, and whether the party is able to support himself or herself through appropriate employment or any parental responsibility arrangements and its effect on the party seeking employment.
- The standard of living established during the marriage.
- The duration of the marriage.
- The age, health, station occupation, amount and sources of income, and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate liabilities, and the needs of each party.
- All sources of public and private income including, without limitation, disability and retirement income.
- The tax consequences of the property division upon the respective economic circumstances of the parties.
- Contributions and services by the party seeking maintenance to the education, training, career or career potential, or license of the other spouse.
- Any valid agreement of the parties.
- Any other factor that the court expressly finds to be just and equitable. (See, it really is anything)
Despite the above exceptions covering almost every possible scenario, Illinois courts prefer to apply a nice clean formula when determining alimony.
The length of the alimony in Illinois is more unchangeable. The length of alimony in Illinois is determined by the length of the marriage before the filing of the petition for dissolution of marriage.
Illinois courts apply the following percentages of the length of the marriage for the respective lengths of the marriage:
Less than 5 years (.20); 5 years or more but less than 6 years (.24); 6 years or more but less than 7 years (.28); 7 years or more but less than 8 years (.32); 8 years or more but less than 9 years (.36); 9 years or more but less than 10 years (.40); 10 years or more but less than 11 years (.44); 11 years or more but less than 12 years (.48); 12 years or more but less than 13 years (.52); 13 years or more but less than 14 years (.56); 14 years or more but less than 15 years (.60); 15 years or more but less than 16 years (.64); 16 years or more but less than 17 years (.68); 17 years or more but less than 18 years (.72); 18 years or more but less than 19 years (.76); 19 years or more but less than 20 years (.80). For a marriage of 20 or more years, the court, in its discretion, shall order maintenance for a period equal to the length of the marriage or for an indefinite term.
Even though Illinois’ alimony statute seems predictable, it is imperative that you retain a Chicago Divorce Lawyer to guide you through this process and ensure that you are paying and/or receiving the right amount of alimony.
Alimony in Florida works completely differently from Illinois. Florida has no statutorily specified amounts of alimony and Florida’s rules about the lengths of alimony are also not nearly as specific as Illinois.
In Florida, the courts consider whether the alimony requester is eligible for any and all of the four different kids of alimony.
There is rehabilitative alimony where the courts try to determine what it would cost to restore the spouse to their earning capacity had they never been married. This almost always means, sending the spouse to college (if they didn’t go).
Next is bridge-the-gap alimony which is a general acknowledgement that the transition from being married to being single is going to be harder financially for one spouse than the other. Therefore, in Florida, the spouse for which the transition will be easier may have to pay the other party alimony. You can see how this would be appropriate for a college educated housewife or househusband as they re-entered the work force.
Next is durational alimony. This is Florida alimony that has a set end date no matter what. Whether the receiver gets back on their feet or not. Durational alimony is typically only ordered for marriages that lasted longer than 7 years and less than 17 years. The amount and the length of durational alimony is determined by courts with no guidelines from the statute.
Finally, there is permanent alimony. In Florida, if you were married for more than 17 years you will be paying or receiving permanent alimony if there is a significant dichotomy in your incomes. But, if you’ve been married for 17 years, you probably are relatively close to retirement age. In Florida at age 65 you are entitled to modify or terminate alimony.
This is not simple! A divorce in Naples FL could include none to all of these kinds of alimony at the same time. If facing an alimony claim or asking for alimony get a divorce attorney in Naples, Florida.
In all considerations of alimony as described above, the first consideration is the payor’s ability to pay. A spouse may very well need support to go back to school, get back on their feet, and live the lifestyle they were living before the divorce in Chicago or Naples but if the other spouse has no ability to pay, they shall not be required to pay. This is why it is so important to have a divorce attorney in Naples, Florida. You must keep in mind your legal abilities as well as your legal obligations and adequately communicate those to the court before the system takes over.
In both Illinois and Florida, alimony orders shall be observed with the force of law. Alimony orders must be complied with or the courts can enforce compliance via a separate court order that can garnish wages, bank accounts or issue a civil writ that is essentially an arrest warrant.
Division of Assets and Debts in Naples, Florida vs. Chicago, lllinois divorces
Marital assets and debts work the same in both, a divorce in Chicago and Florida divorces. If you accumulated the asset or the debt during the marriage, it’s marital and thus divisible in the divorce.
The exception to this rule is if the asset was a gift from an outside party. Then the asset is non-marital and thus non-divisible with a divorce in Chicago.
If both parties names become associated with a non-marital debt or asset (example: refinancing a house) then the debt and asset becomes non-marital.
As you’ve read so far, in one state things will be very specific in a divorce in Chicago while in another state the rule will be really loosey-goosey. Division of assets and debts is no exception.
Florida requires that all marital debts and assets be divided 50/50. A Florida court is obligated to explain why it did not divide the assets 50/50 if the court did not, in fact, do so.
This makes the definition of what is a marital asset or debt all the more important in Florida because once an asset is declared “marital” it must be divided 50/50. There is no negotiating, really. Even an award of a whole marital asset to one party must be equalized with an award of a similarly valued marital asset to the other party.
Illinois divides assets “equitably” which means “fairly” but really means whatever the judge wants it to mean. This creates enormous wiggle room which often results in more practical settlements like, “I keep the house and you keep the 401(k).” The more variance that the law allows the more important it is to have a Chicago divorce lawyer who can work at the margins to have that variance work for you for your divorce in Chicago.
The difference between the two states’ rules creates a very stark dichotomy for younger divorcees: student loan debts get divided in Florida. In Illinois, there is no statute or case law, at this time, regarding student loans debts. Most Illinois judges say, “All the information you learned is in your head, therefore you are responsible for the debts associated with that information.” After all, this is the reasoning behind why you cannot discharge student loans in a bankruptcy. In Florida, student loans are readily divisible and not dischargeable in bankruptcy which makes whoever has the student loans a figurative walking time bomb in the case of divorce in Chicago.
Of course, in both Florida and Illinois, if both parties agree, the court will approve the division of assets and debts so long as the result is not unconscionable. But, why would anyone accept anything less than 50/50 in Florida if a strict accounting and division is required?
So, if I can file my Divorce in either Naples, Florida or Chicago, Illinois, Where Should I file?
Despite all the rules and advantages that I have laid out above, you probably want to file in the state where you have regular access to the court. All these rules really only apply if you cannot agree with your spouse and you have to let the court decide who will get what. If you are in a truly contested divorce your ability to be present in court and active in your case will have a big impact on the result of that case. Especially if you have minor children. It is simply easier for the judge to disappoint the party that is not there.
Beyond your presence, you’ll need to consult a Chicago divorce lawyer and a Divorce Attorney in Naples, Florida to review the facts in your case and suggest a jurisdiction to file in. There are very few of us who practice in both places.
Many spouses take out life insurance plans and list themselves as beneficiaries to pensions, 401k plans, and other retirement benefits. The idea is to provide protection to the spouse and family in the event of a death. A divorce, especially if one of the spouses remarries, dramatically changes the couple’s original estate plan. While the divorce is underway, each spouse has certain rights to retirement accounts and each must meet his or her legal obligations until a divorce settlement is reached.
A time will come when assets get divided. Soon thereafter, the estate plan needs to be revised. Below is a list of four things a divorced spouse should do to get his or her estate plan updated to reflect the end of the marriage. Check back next week for four additional strategies for estate planning during a divorce.
- Update health care proxy: If you listed your former spouse as the person you authorize to make health care decisions for you, you will need to choose a new decision maker.
- Revoke power of attorneys: If you and your spouse have executed powers of attorney, you will need to make changes. You can revoke the power of attorney, execute a new one, and be required to notify your ex-spouse of the revocation.
- Automatic restraining orders: When you file for divorce, an automatic restraining order is placed on your assets. Neither spouse can change beneficiary designations while the divorce is pending absent written agreement.
- Update your will: Remove your current spouse from your will and appoint a new executor or person responsible for distributing your gifts following your death. If you have young children, think about guardianship options and naming an alternate guardian, in the event your former spouse dies or loses custody of the children at a future date.
Contact an Estate Planning Attorney in New Jersey
One of the last things people think about when they are getting a divorce is updating or creating an estate plan. Estate planning is not something you undertake for yourself alone. You do it for your loved ones to help your family after you pass away. Your ex-spouse may no longer be in the picture, so thinking about and updating your estate plan should be an immediate step following your divorce. The Giro Law Firm serves the Bergen County, New Jersey community and surrounding areas. We help individuals with all of their estate planning needs, including the drafting of wills. Make sure that your belongings are left to the people or organizations that you choose with limited headaches and fees for them to receive your gift. A will is not the only thing an estate planning attorney can help with. Talk to an Estate Planning Attorney in New Jersey today about powers of attorney, health care proxies, and Medicaid planning for long term medical care.
The Giro Law Firm is a New Jersey and New York law firm located in Newark, NJ that handles a wide range of legal matters that affect the elderly and disabled populations, including retirement, guardianship, health care, long term care planning, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, among other legal services. To request a consultation with an Estate Planning and Divorce Attorney New Jersey, click here or call (201) 690-1642.
Every relationship is different. No one can tell you when it is time for a divorce, only the individuals in the relationship understand its complex dynamics, and whether elements of your relationship are beneficial or detrimental for everyone involved. As much as friends, family, or even acquaintances think they know what is good for you, only you can decide when divorce is the right answer. There are questions that you can ask yourself to decide if your relationship is hitting a rough patch or if your marriage has become an unhealthy relationship in need of real change to put your life on a more positive path. If you are experiencing two or more of the 7 signs it is time for a divorce, it may be time to do some serious thinking and potentially separate for good.
1. Who Am I in My Marriage?
In every relationship, there is a level of compromise. As your relationship grows in your marriage, you assume certain roles. As time goes by, the roles that you have assumed in your marriage can slowly change you into a person that you no longer recognize. You become the moneymaker, the child caretaker, the chef, the house cleaner, the person who makes sure that everything stays status quo. Your partner is also going through these transitions – they are natural and inevitable.
In stronger relationships, people grow through this journey of transition together and continue to find balance in their partnership. In other situations, you may begin to grow apart and as you grow apart, you lose touch with whom you were originally and who you were at your core when the relationship began. Your relationship may have changed you to a different person, someone you no longer recognize. This problem is compounded by the fact your partner has become a different person and the reasons you were originally drawn to each other may not exist anymore. You start to sacrifice your time, your beliefs, your passions, and more to address other priorities to sustain the marriage. Then as problems arise, to keep the peace you compromise well beyond your comfort zone and stop standing by your original passions and convictions.
Priorities in your marriage become maintaining your image and lifestyle as a couple and a family. The more the relationship evolves, and busy schedules send you in different directions; the more the individual and mutual passions and feelings get lost and the marriage becomes a business rather than a romantic relationship.
Marriage can be a lonely place when you no longer know whom you are or how you feel. In most cases, you do not realize that you have lost your identity in the marriage until it is too late.
2. I Have Lost Hope That Things Can Change.
When your relationship has gone through strife and turmoil and the solutions you have tried do not seem to fix the problems, you slowly begin to accept that there is no solution to the problems. Soon you may find raising legitimate issues and having open dialogue about problems gives way to just wanting to keep the peace or just the opposite. You may have never fought and now you find yourself fighting all the time with your partner. Regardless of how you handle problems that arise in your relationship – open dialogue, vacations, counseling – one thing becomes a constant you have lost hope that things will ever get better.
You have resigned yourself to accepting things will not improve and you try to make the best of a bad situation by ignoring the fact that you have stopped trying to fix your marriage. You are just trying to survive your marriage.
3. I Have Become Complacent With Unhappiness.
After trying every method to resolve the strife and unhappiness, you have now accepted things will not change and you may not even care if they change. You are now resigned, and you start to look for things to fill the void outside of the marriage. This is usually the time when couples take on new interests to avoid spending time with each other. In some cases, this unhappiness in your relationship can lead to choices that are more destructive. These choices can include purposeful avoidance of your partner or home, more time spent with friends (some you normally would not spend significant time with or have their own agendas), or you may begin abuse drugs or alcohol.
This is also the time in the marriage when couples begin emotional and sometimes physical affairs. Regardless how the affairs begin, the reason they start is because you feel a disconnection with your partner and are no longer trying to fix it. You are trying to keep the business running at any cost. Depending on how unhappy the marriage is, in some cases couples agree to allow each other to date outside of the marriage. The goal is often to keep the business of marriage running even if the romance has died and you are openly agreeing with each other that there is no point to resolving the unhappiness. You both agree that whatever the other person must do to remain happy, and most importantly to keep the business running. You agree to date other people openly or without sharing details.
4. I Am Tired Of Pretending That Everything Is “OK”.
Managing a family, a career, a home, and everything that goes with it can be incredibly taxing and sometimes overwhelming job for anyone. Managing a struggling relationship can make these daily efforts daunting and if not resolved, can lead to anxiety, depression, and worse.
The people in your life that truly know you and care about you can see that you are struggling and want to help but the idea of also having to manage your friends and family along with everything else feels impossible. Rather than take this help, you avoid contact with these people, develop complex stories, excuses, and fabrications just to maintain appearances. The goal is to keep appearances for the sake of your relationship and to keep the business running smoothly.
You now find yourself having to manage your deceptions (including the ones you create for yourself) rather than your relationship. Your real friends and family (the ones who really care about your well-being), will see right through the deception and increase the pressure to resolve your relationship problems. Ultimately, this house of cards you create will inevitably come crashing down and somewhere deep within you; you know it.
Your health and stability are more important than “saving face”. If all else has failed in your relationship, you may have started lying to friends, and family for the sake of keeping up appearances. When you cannot be honest with yourself or your family, then separation from your spouse may be the only answer available to you.
5. I Am Tired Of Resentment And Feeling Angry in My Marriage.
As issues in your marriage build and time passes, you slowly find yourself resentful of your partner and your marriage. You start to lose interest in the relationship and working on problems seems like a burden instead of a positive aspect of your relationship. You find yourself angry with your partner most of the time and you resent that the relationship has taken you from the person you use to be and the enjoyment you had in life. You may start to fantasize about what life would be if you were no longer married. You are less interested in working on the relationship and you see that your partner is also uninterested which can lead to more anger and resentment.
You stop spending time with friends or even argue over certain relationships you have with others as they are a “bad influence” on you. Things that you used to be passionate about fall by the wayside. You may also stop spending time on your relationship, becoming more like roommates than best friends and partners.
You may start to wonder why you are sacrificing yourself for an arrangement that no longer makes you happy. You tell yourself that your feelings and ideas are not important, just the family, and possibly the appearance of familial stability. If you voice your thoughts or feelings, it may lead to tension and fighting, and as a marriage deteriorates, it is easier to suppress your feelings for the “good of the marriage” and to keep the peace.
6. I Realize “Staying For The Kids” Is Unhealthy For Everyone.
When you have problems in your marriage it’s apparent to everyone around you regardless how well you think you hide them. Your children are smarter than you think and quickly notice the behavior of their parents. The idea of putting your children through a divorce sounds like your worst nightmare. You want your children to feel safe, loved, and have every opportunity, but if your home and marriage is filled with tension, fighting or awkward silences you are creating the opposite environment for your children. Unhappy parents cause children to have anxiety and act out in ways that sometimes parents do not notice until it is too late.
The truth is your children know you are unhappy. Your children fear the stress and tension in their parents and begin to mirror their parent’s behavior through avoidance and creating false realities to keep up appearances for their friends and other family members. Your children see the false pretenses and mimic their parent’s behavior in their own lives.
In reality, people do not stay in bad marriages because they believe it is what is best for their children. They stay in bad marriages because they personally do not want to be separated from their kids or feel that a “stable home environment” inherently means mom, dad, and the kids all live under 1 roof. Children want their parents to be happy above all else. If you have been unsuccessful in resolving your marital challenges, it may be time to consider what is truly best for your children.
7. I Am Not Afraid to Acknowledge That My Marriage Did Not Work, and I Am Ready To Move On.
Finally, if you have experienced some or all of these topics, you may have already concluded that it is time to move on and separate. Moving on means choosing a healthy path for your sake and the sake of others including your spouse, family and children. A transition like this is significantly emotional and it’s difficult to fathom the effects of such a significant life change. Your spouse may disagree with the idea of separation and may make it difficult often guilting you into staying. Financial considerations often keep couples together regardless of how unhappy the relationship may be. You may be afraid to tell family and friends out of fear that the separation will hurt them and cause more strife. While you are focused on the needs of your family and planning for your future, you may need legal help to guide you through the complexities of separating from your spouse. There are free resources made available to people who need advice on the first steps of separation from your spouse.
You need to be able to focus on you first so you are able to take care of the rest of your life – especially if you have children. If there is one thing above all that you need to know is that separation and divorce is not failure, and it’s not something you should feel ashamed of. Staying in an unhealthy relationship out of fear is far more detrimental than accepting your marriage did not work, and you are now choosing the healthiest path for everyone involved. In the end, you are doing what is right for you, your spouse and your children. Delaying separation for years can cause more pain and family issues. Resolving the problem sooner than later is the healthiest choice to put everyone on a happier path for a successful future.
When people tie the knot, the last thing they’d ever have imagined was it ending in divorce. However, married life is not a smooth road, and sometimes the best option is calling it quits, especially if children are involved. If you’re looking to get a divorce, there are various options available. You must take in all the various factors, though, before serving the papers for a divorce, such as how much the divorce will cost and how long before the divorce is final. If you’ve tried everything from marriage counselling to spending time apart, only for your marriage to continue not suiting you and your partner, here’s how to get a divorce in the US.
Why Can a Divorce Take so Long?
Marriage laws and divorce laws are decided on by state governments, which is why getting a divorce can take anything from a matter of months to a couple of years. Issues such as property, debt, custody of children and spousal support can all impact the timeframe of you getting a divorce, and all the factors mentioned above will need to be decided on by the court. If you’re serious about getting a divorce, be prepared for it to take some time.
What are the Different Types of Divorce?
Divorce laws do vary, however, there are three approaches that can be made. They are as follows:
No-fault divorce – No allegations or proof of fault have to be made. Couples can file for a no-fault divorce due to incompatibility, irremediable breakdown of the marriage or irreconcilable differences.
At-fault divorce – This is when one party is taken to be at fault. Various claims can be made such as adultery, inhuman or cruel treatment. An at-fault divorce usually takes longer because the allegations must be proven at a hearing or trial.
Uncontested divorce – This type of divorce is considered the quickest, where it can take from one to a few months. However, both parties must sign the required papers, including a marital settlement agreement. Mediation will be available to help them come to an agreement, which can then be put in front of the judge. Legal advice is not necessary for this type of divorce. However, seeking the help of an Oceanside spousal support attorney will ensure your best interests are taken care of when it comes to being properly supported once the divorce is over.
The Steps Involved in an Uncontested Divorce
First, the person requesting the divorce must file a Summons with the court. The other party in the marriage is also served the Summons. If they agree to the serving of this document and sign an affidavit, the divorce papers can be filed with the court straightaway. They have 20 days in which to reply. Papers are filed with the court clerk’s office in the county where the plaintiff lives. Once this has been done, it is down to the court to finalize the divorce. The time varies but can take from several weeks to a whole year.
If you’re worried about the timescale for your divorce, the best thing will be for you and your spouse to co-operate with each other as much as possible. Being prepared to resolve legal issues together will also help with the expedient timing of the final order.
Many separated parents wonder whether they can complete the child custody process on their own through trial and error. Despite their best efforts, it almost never works out. Census data shows that child custody rights are established by the court nearly 88% of the time.
The idea of custody courts inserting themselves into your home life may sound overwhelming. After all, who knows your family better than you? But child custody courts aren’t interested in pitting one parent against another; they’re interested in upholding your children’s best interests.
Are you about to go in front of a judge? Keep reading to learn what things judges look for in a child custody case.
5 Things Courts Look for in Child Custody Cases
Beyond fundamental child custody rights, there are no hard and fast rules in child custody because every custody case is different and each state has different statutes governing custody issues.
Moreover, no court wants to force a child into a poor custody arrangement.
Instead of consulting legislation or a rigid checklist, a custody court will consider a range of characteristics that point towards the right custody agreement for the child and the family.
You’ll see a theme throughout these characteristics: the child. The child or children involved remain at the center of the process because their overall well-being is what’s most important to the judge.
Here are five of the most heavily-weighted factors in a child custody case:
1. What the Child Wants
A child’s custody preferences are almost always considered in the proceeding. Though, no laws currently regulate how the judge should weigh the child’s choice.
Judges take great care in ensuring the child’s preference is truly what they want. In some states and cases, a judge may interview the child privately to get to know their thoughts and feelings on custody. These meetings are formal, but judges use informal conversation to gain their trust and read their whole reaction (verbal and non-verbal) to the question.
In some cases, a custody evaluator takes over the process.
Children’s opinions tend to carry more weight when they’re older. A six-year-old child’s opinion, while valued, is likely to factor less in the decision than that of a 16-year-old.
2. Parent-Child Relationships
Not all parent-child relationships are straightforward. A custody case aims to keep the child with the parent they already spend the most time with and with whom they may have the most profound bond.
A judge may ask parents questions like:
- What is your child’s favorite food, book, program, activity, etc.?
- How has the child reacted to the divorce? How will you support them after the divorce?
- Do you feel your bond with your child is stronger than your spouses?
- How would your child describe the ways you demonstrate love for them?
- Who is the child more likely to come to with a problem? A triumph?
Other essential questions may revolve around daily routines:
- Who does the cooking?
- Who makes sure hygiene chores are done?
- Who stays home from work on sick days and why?
- Who is most involved in the child’s formal education?
- Who spends the most time socializing the child, teaching them manners, etc.?
- Who puts the child to bed?
Courts prefer to avoid upending a child’s daily routine more than necessary, so questions about daily rituals may be more important than they initially seem.
3. Parents’ Health
Parental health becomes a major factor when one or both parents find themselves physically or mentally unwell. An illness may impact a parent’s ability to care for a child full-time and issues associated with illness may impact the stability of the household.
Short or long-term mental health issues will play a role in custody decisions because states consider mental health to impact the best interests of the child. Mental health issues aren’t written off. Instead, a judge thinks about the health issue in combination with parenting capacity, parenting skills, and the overall parent-child relationship.
A mental illness won’t disqualify a parent from custody. Instead, judges consider all the evidence and then determine whether a mental illness damages a child’s best interests.
4. Parental Preference
Courts don’t want to place children in a situation where they have only one parent most of the time. Two parent agreements are preferable. That being said, not all parents want to participate equally, and one parent may prefer that the other parent is kept away.
Courts want to know about a proposed custody or visitation schedule and whether both parties find it agreeable before granting a custody order.
5. Parental Employment
Parental employment is weighed in several ways because while employment often means better financial ability to care for the child, it also means spending time apart from the child.
A court may consider whether each parent is:
- In full or part-time employment
- Location of employment/commuting time
- Benefits (insurance, paid time off, etc.)
Merely being an earner doesn’t qualify or disqualify a parent from their custody preferences on its own. As with all other factors, judges consider employment among all the evidence to produce a balanced decision centered on the best interests of the child.
A Few Other Factors Impacting Child Custody
The five factors listed above are some of the most heavily weighted in the decision. But other factors are considered including:
- Criminal records
- History of substance abuse
- History of child neglect
- History of domestic violence
- One parent’s desire to move the children away from another parent
- Child’s relationships with extended family, school, and community
Other factors may also be considered. Your family lawyer will highlight everything about your case that a judge may weigh in their decision.
Judges Want Quality and Consistency for Children
Gone are the days where mothers received priority above all else in child custody cases. Custody courts now prioritize the quality of parenting and maintaining consistency for children in their purview.
A judge weighs all the factors equally to find the best solution for a child. But sometimes parents need help highlighting what they bring to the table. If you’re about to go through a child custody case, you may need a family law attorney’s help.
Click here to search for a potential advocate in your area.
Thinking of getting a divorce? Before you file, there are some things you should know.
A divorce will affect your relationship with your spouse, your finances, your children’s lives, and your future.
If your spouse is on board, filing for divorce is a straightforward process. However, if not, there are a few things you need to do in advance to protect yourself.
To make it a smoother transition, make the necessary preparations before filing. Keep reading to find out what to do when getting a divorce.
1. Discuss Custody Options
If you and your spouse are on the same page, the logistics of filing for divorce are much simpler. You can have a conversation regarding your children if you have any.
But, before that conversation happens you need to decide some things for yourself.
Knowing you may have to share custody, what is your ideal custody schedule? How much time can you ask for with your children? What would be a fair request?
Go over your schedule and your children’s school and extracurricular schedules. Explore how you can share the responsibilities fairly.
2. Find an Attorney
It’s crucial that you find a lawyer you trust and feel comfortable with. You may need to interview multiple attorneys to find the right Salt Lake City divorce lawyer for you.
Inquire about their experience in family law and their outlook on your case. Ensure they understand your goals and are on the same page as you.
Also, pay attention to how much they talk and how much they listen. You need a lawyer who will listen to your concerns and find solutions based on your unique situation.
Attorneys have different fee levels depending on their experience, the city, and the work required in your case. While you shouldn’t sacrifice quality for cost, decide how much you’re willing and able to spend in advance.
Finding an attorney is easy; finding the right one may take some work.
3. Sort Out Your Finances
Before filing, you need to get your finances organized. You’ll need documentation of everything for your case.
Some people make a marital balance sheet to outline all assets and debts. It specifies what you own and what you share with your spouse, and any debts under your name.
Collect your recent pay stubs and income statements. If you have joint bank accounts, don’t close them or withdraw your part of the money without your attorney’s advice.
It’s helpful to run a credit report to see if/how much repairing you’ll need to do.
4. Build Individual Credit
A common challenge facing divorcees is building credit under their own name. They may have existing credit, but it’s tied to their ex-spouse’s.
It’s never to early to start working on this.
Order a credit card in your name. Use it and pay it off in full every month. This is crucial to be able to buy assets and get loans in the future. You can do this long before filing for divorce.
5. Figure Out Where You’ll Live
Unless you need to leave an abusive situation immediately, you might not want to move out of your shared home right away. That’s okay; take this time before filing to decide what you want to do.
Whether you plan on moving or staying, you should continue making mortgage payments so that the judge sees that you’re interested in the property. If you move out and stop making payments, that might signify that you don’t care about this asset and it could potentially be given to your spouse.
Instead, continue to make house payments whether you remain living there or not.
As for where you want to live, you may want to consider proximity to your children’s schools and your work. Do you want to live in this home long after the divorce is finalized? Or start fresh somewhere new?
6. Create a Post-Divorce Budget
It’s never too early to create a rough budget for after the divorce.
You may not know all the exact numbers right away, but you can estimate where possible. You should compile a list of your expenses, including any additional ones from the divorce (spousal support, retainer fees, etc.).
Doing this in advance can help your attorney get you a fair settlement. Knowing how much you need to maintain your quality of life informs how much to ask for.
Creating this budget might result in you realizing that you need to get a second job or sell some assets.
Your life is going to change after the divorce, not in the least your finances. Being prepared will eliminate some of the stress that may come after filing.
7. Find Your Support System
Before you file for divorce, you need to have a support system in place.
Divorce can be an emotional and traumatic life event. You may be excited to be out of the marriage or deeply upset by it. No one would be surprised if you need some extra support.
It’s best to seek support outside of your ex-spouse’s family and friends.
Here are some options for finding support:
- Therapy or counseling
- Community center divorce support groups
- Online forums for divorcees
Be open to talking with acquaintances who have gone through this before. Positive and encouraging influences will make the transition into your new life smoother. For instance, if you decide to change your name after the divorce, let your friends or family help you with the name changing process and make it less painful.
Still Not Sure What to Do When Getting a Divorce?
The filing process can be stressful and tiring, depending on your case. Having the things mentioned above in order before you file will remove some of that stress.
It’s never too early to get organized with your finances and your goals. What is your best possible outcome? What do you want to happen?
Making a plan allows you to focus on something productive.
For more information about what to do when getting a divorce and how to file for divorce, check out our blog.