People contemplating divorce are typically aware of what to anticipate. They’ve observed divorces in the movies and often personally know at least a handful of people who have been through a divorce. In spite of this “second-hand” experience, facing your own divorce is one of the more frightening events in life.
Not only do you face a court-sanctioned ending of arguably one of the more meaningful relationships you have ever had, you also must begin to think about such unpleasant things as the division of property and new living accommodations. In many circumstances, there is also the terrible prospect of no longer seeing your children on a daily basis.
Predictability and divorce don’t go together. But if you have reasonable expectations, you will have the best chance of being pleased with the outcome of your divorce. Consequently, it is prudent to comprehend what a divorce can and cannot accomplish for you. So what is divorce good for, anyway?
What Divorce Can Do
A divorce court will endeavor to split marital property in the most cost-effective manner possible. Most states will exclude from this division any property that was acquired prior to the marriage or that was acquired via gift or inheritance.
In some states (community property states), this involves a 50/50 split of the property acquired by the parties during the marriage. Other states (non-community property states) will look into the couple’s individual financial conditions, financial intentions for the future, and other pertinent considerations in trying an equitable allocation of the property.
Because the division of property is never predictable, if you have a strong need for some item of property, it may be best to have your attorney negotiate and settle the property distribution ahead of time with your spouse’s attorney.
For example, you may decide that, although you would really like to stay in the family home, you really need to keep your business. Therefore, you might choose the business over the house. In this way, you can attempt to reach a mutually agreeable property division agreement with your spouse.
Divorce proceedings can help determine a couple’s support obligations. This can come in the form of child support and spousal support (also called “alimony”) (also called “alimony”).
Child support payments are now largely set by state law, but deviation from those standards are not uncommon. Also, child support orders may depend on the custody arrangements ordered. In general, spousal support largely relies on the specifics of each divorce and the divorcing couple’s financial circumstances. Therefore, here again, any attempt at predicting a court’s ultimate support decision is often difficult.
Child Visitation and Custody
Aside from the distribution of wealth, divorce also can help set child custody and visitation schedules. Likewise, this is not at all predicted. While courts frequently try to base their decisions on a set of factors deemed to promote the “best interests” of the child, case-by-case and court-by-court, these decisions can vary. After all, in making custody decisions judges are naturally influenced by their own beliefs, opinions and values.
Further, judges generally see and hear only the worst of people during heated custody proceedings. So, based on their limited “view” into the parents’ lives, a divorce court may not always make the “best” possible decision when it comes to custody. Here again, discussion and settlement are crucial choices to keep in mind. Everybody engaged in the divorce, especially the children, will benefit from a cooperative child custody arrangement.
What Divorce Can’t Do
Ensure Precise and Equal Distribution
A divorce cannot accomplish an exact or mathematically equal division of property and time with children. Because no two people, no two marriages, and no two divorces are alike, the judge who writes a divorce order must make the best decision with the limited time and information available. It may not always be the fairest possible decision that could have been reached, and it is certain not to favor you individually in every possible way.
Frequently, divorce courts must make the best of awful situations. For instance, there can be no appropriate custody agreement when one parent lives in Cheyenne, Wyoming and the other lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Ensure Civil Relations
Even though a court can determine custody and visitation, it will not be present every Friday when mom drops off the children, nor will it spend the weekend with dad to ensure he does not make disparaging remarks about mom in front of the children. A court order is ultimately just a piece of paper. Mom and dad will STILL have to civilly deal with each other to carry out the terms of the custody and visitation order.
This includes interacting with the other parent, as divorce does not make your ex-spouse less of a parent to your child (one exception being cases of abuse).
Maintain Your Current Level of Living
You should also recognize that a divorce court can’t increase your salary to prevent your standard of living from declining once you divorce. Unfortunately, from a financial perspective, it is much more cost-effective for two individuals to live together and share expenditures than to run two separate households. There is little, if anything, the court can do to prevent a reduction in your standard of living after a divorce.
Resolve Emotional Issues
Finally, a court will not be able to punish your ex-spouse or morally vindicate you for all of the bad things that happened while you were married. In addition, the divorce process will not heal your emotional wounds or eliminate the need to mourn the failed relationship. That is your job, although you can seek assistance through therapists and support groups.
Still Want to Get a Divorce? Explore Your Options With an Attorney
As you determine the benefits of divorce, at least in your specific situation, you will likely have questions along the way. A great way to get those questions answered is by speaking with a legal expert today. A skilled divorce lawyer in your state can provide you with peace of mind.
Speak With One Of Our Divorce Attorneys In Scottsdale
Canterbury Law Group’s divorce attorneys in Phoenix and Scottsdale will handle your case with personal attention and always have you and your children’s best interest in mind when offering legal solutions. Our family lawyers can also help with divorce litigation, child custody, legal guardianship, paternity, prenuptial agreements, divorce mediation, collaborative divorce, and more.
We are experienced divorce attorneys and will fight for you to get you the best possible outcome. Our law firm will represent you fully in court, so you can get on with your life. Call us today for an initial consultation. 480-744-7711 or [email protected]
*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.