There are two types of divorce: uncontested and contested. In an uncontested divorce, the parties agree to a divorce and are willing to work out the terms of the divorce. In a contested divorce, the parties do not mutually agree to a divorce and/or cannot agree on the terms of the divorce. Divorce terms sometimes include an allocation of parental responsibilities, child support and/or spousal maintenance payment amounts, and a detailed description of how marital property, financial assets, and debts will be divided. In pursuing divorce finality, challenges arise where the parties have significant assets and debts. Additional challenges arise when the rules regarding service of process and proper filings come into play. The experienced divorce attorneys at JRQ & Associates will review your specific situation at your free divorce consultation and advise you of your best options.
Child Custody and Visitation Considerations
Where children are involved, child custody and visitation rights surface. The court sometimes permits the parents to have joint custody; other times the court permits one parent to have sole custody of the children. If the court decides in favor of sole custody, it does not automatically preclude the other parent from visitation.
In terms of joint custody, it takes one of two forms —“joint residential custody” or “joint legal custody.” Where the court decides in favor of joint residential custody, the court, and the parents determine the amount of time that the children will spend with each parent. Where the court decides that both parents will have joint legal custody, each is equally in charge of major life decisions of the children—such as where they will go to school, what health provider they will use, and what religion they will subscribe to.
If the parents can agree to the terms of joint custody, they will submit a “joint parenting agreement” to the court. However, if the parents cannot agree, the court will enter a “joint parenting order” outlining the terms and obligations of each parent. To find out the specific terms and obligations under the agreement and order and how they might differ, it is best to discuss your situation with an experienced divorce attorney at JRQ & Associates.
Division of Marital Assets Considerations
Generally, marital property includes all property acquired by each spouse during the marriage and before a judgment of dissolution of marriage; it can include some non-marital property. In determining how to distribute marital property, courts consider the duration of the marriage, prenuptial agreements made between the parties, custody arrangements, and the tax consequences of property division between the parties. Issues of non-marital property can arise and become the subject of marital asset division where, for example, a party has placed inherited funds into a joint bank account. This is by no means the only way that non-marital property can become the subject of marital asset division. In any event, marital property is distributed between the parties when the divorce is finalized.
Spousal Maintenance Considerations
Spousal maintenance essentially requires one former spouse, the payor, to provide monetary payments to his or her former spouse, the payee. It is an indefinite amount and is based on the payor’s income and the needs of the payee. Also, the amount of spousal maintenance payments can be modified based on various factors. To find out more about the factors that go into a court’s determination that spousal maintenance payments should issue and the amount that should issue, contact an experienced divorce attorney at JRQ & Associates. One of our attorneys will review your situation and advise you on any divorce concerns related to child custody, visitation rights, and division of marital assets.