Few situations in life have as deep an impact on a person than dealing with a divorce. A world that was once full of optimism and security is now shattered and replaced with one of fear and uncertainty. However, a divorce requires you to make significant decisions that will have a major impact on your life moving forward. It is precisely for this reason why you need a divorce lawyer.
Understand the legal issues
As you go through the process of divorce, realize you and your soon to be ex-spouse both have legal rights and responsibilities, which are even greater if you have children. The primary economic issues involve an accounting of marital assets and property, determining if any separate property exists, apportioning debt, hard money, and ultimately dividing property. Under certain circumstances support or alimony maybe awarded, as well as the issues of child custody and support addressed.
Agreements between the spouses
It is widely understood that contentious divorces are counterproductive. Not only are they emotionally draining and stressful, both parties end up paying significant legal fees. Moreover, in most cases, the same settlement that the court will ultimately impose may be quite similar to one that could be reached if you and your spouse sit down and have a rational discussion without acrimony and accusations.
Divorce today is mostly guided by statutory rules regarding division of property. Although the judge does have some discretion, the final result will most often resemble one that could be reached by mutual agreement. In fact, many divorce courts have a mandatory mediation or arbitration requirement for all divorcing couples. Absent issues such as physical or emotional abuse or incarceration, the couples must first try and sort out the issues outside the courtroom before the judge becomes involved,
The divorce lawyer’s role
Many people believe if the court is not involved, why bring a divorce lawyer into the mix? One consideration is to be certain you have protected your own interests in reaching an agreement with your spouse. What may seem to be a fair settlement may become unworkable upon practical application. For example, it is not uncommon for the family home to be the largest single asset belonging to a couple. If there are children, the wife typically gets the home, but if sufficient resources are not provided as part of the agreement, how is the wife supposed to pay the home’s monthly expenses?
A divorce lawyer will counsel you on the wisdom of your plans and make certain what you agree on will actually work. In fact, many divorce courts are reluctant to approve a financial agreement plan between divorcing couples unless both have legal representation. This is especially true if there is a great disparity in the business acumen and sophistication of the respective parties.
If divorce becomes inevitable in your relation or is simply the best resolution for all concerned, take the necessary steps to protect yourself and your children, as well as your ex-spouse, as you begin the next chapter of your life.