FAQs About Divorce

06 - faqs about divorce law

How can I get a divorce?

Divorce is a legal procedure that starts with completing and submitting the necessary papers to the court. Because state laws govern divorce, it is essential to research local rules for filing documents and serving or informing your husband. A person may only file for divorce in the state where they live. Almost all states require a person to live in the state for a certain amount of time, usually six months or a year, before filing for divorce.

The paperwork submitted to the court to commence the divorce procedure is known as a complaint or petition. By submitting this petition, you legally ask the court to terminate your marriage. Complaints refer to parties as “plaintiff” and “defendant.” The parties to a petition are called “petitioner” and “respondent.” The individual who files for divorce is known as the plaintiff or petitioner.

You must tell your spouse of your intention to divorce. The ideal manner of service or delivery is to have the complaint or petition given to your spouse in person. Other service means, such as sending the papers to your husband, may be permissible.

The court dissolves the marriage when your spouse has been served with the complaint or petition. Before the divorce is finalized, there is often a period of waiting. These time frames differ by state; some do not need a wait.

A variety of reasons may influence divorce. Some couples go through critical divorce concerns without using attorneys, such as children and property allocation. Others need the assistance of an attorney to safeguard their interests. Mediation and collaborative divorce are choices for couples who believe they can reach an agreement and resolve their differences outside of court.

How long does it take to divorce?

Divorce laws differ by state, and the time necessary to terminate a marriage varies based on where you live. Most states, for example, require you to be a resident for a minimum amount of time, which may differ from three to twelve months before you can file for divorce. The duration of the processes may also vary, with uncontested divorces being the quickest choice. In contrast, contentious divorces involving complicated marital assets or child custody issues might drag on for years. Most states need a waiting time of 0 to 6 months after a divorce judgment is issued before the divorce becomes official.

What is the expense of divorce?

Divorce prices vary significantly across cases and states and are often influenced by whether the split is disputed or uncontested, if you engage a lawyer, how many problems must be resolved, and how long the divorce process takes. On the one hand, if a couple with little assets and no children chooses to seek an uncontested divorce without an attorney’s help, their expenditures may be limited to court filings and other minor charges.

More complicated cases, including contentious questions of child custody, spousal support, and property division, will almost certainly need the services of legal counsel and may take months or even years to settle. With hourly charges ranging from $200 to $300, legal counsel may rapidly add up.

However, addressing the legalities may result in expensive and difficult-to-correct blunders in the long run. Furthermore, an attorney can assist you in investigating alternative conflict resolution procedures that might help you and your spouse resolve any contentious matters more swiftly, resulting in cheaper expenses for all parties.

Is it possible to divorce without going to court?

In most states, you and your spouse may seek a divorce without going to court. Divorce mediation is one of the most prevalent options. A neutral third person meets with the divorced spouse to assist them in resolving any contested matters, such as child custody or how to split specific assets. The mediator may provide the parties some insight into how a court could decide on the issues at hand and assist them in drafting a divorce settlement agreement.

Furthermore, suppose your divorce is uncontested, and you and your spouse do not have children or significant assets. In that case, you can submit all the appropriate divorce paperwork and complete your divorce without appearing in court.

Where can my husband and I seek a divorce if we reside in separate states?

In principle, you and your spouse may divorce in any of your states of residence. Most states require a spouse to live in the form before filing for divorce. Proof of residency may be needed, with some states requiring six months and others requiring a year. If you and your spouse live in separate states, you may divorce in whatever form one has completed the residence criteria before filing. It is best to file before your spouse to save the costs of flying to another state for court appearances.

It is vital to emphasize that to make judgments on property division, custody, and alimony; a court must have jurisdiction, or power, over the nonresident spouse. The divorce papers must be physically served on the nonresident spouse, or the nonresident spouse must agree to jurisdiction. Consent entails appearing in court on the designated day, signing an affidavit of service, and admitting receipt of the legal papers. Another means of agreeing is to obey the court’s regulations, such as adhering to the court’s standards of evidence. Child support was ordered.

Do I have to provide all of my financial information throughout my divorce?

Though state laws vary, both parties are typically obligated to fully disclose their assets and debts during a divorce involving contested property distribution problems. In certain jurisdictions, spouses must reveal the approximate worth of non-monetary goods.

Courts take failure to disclose money seriously, and parties who conceal assets may face harsh fines. If you willfully neglect to disclose financial facts, a court may make revisions in divorce settlements and award the totality of the help you have concealed from your spouse. However, if the failure was unintentional, the repercussions may be less severe.

Is it possible to seek a divorce if I don’t know where my husband is?

If you are unable to identify your spouse, you may be able to get a default divorce. Though each state has its processes for this kind of dissolution, sometimes known as divorce “in absentia,” courts will typically require you to make a conscientious and reasonable attempt to identify the other party before proceeding.

The next step usually is to print a notice in a newspaper that circulates in the region of your spouse’s last known location and to maintain the information in the paper for a short period to allow them to reply. The court may issue a divorce judgment without your spouse’s signature, provided you meet certain extra conditions that may apply in your state, such as giving affidavits about your attempts to inform your spouse of the divorce. Working with a lawyer may be prudent since the standards for getting a divorce by publishing are complicated in many jurisdictions.

How do divorce courts split the property?

Property division upon divorce differs based on which state’s legislation applies.

What exactly is the difference between legal separation and divorce?

Legal separation is a judicially acknowledged separation between spouses that effectively terminates a partnership. However, the marriage remains intact, and the spouses cannot remarry or form a domestic partnership with others. On the other hand, a couple seeking a divorce petitions the court to dissolve the marriage, most commonly because the parties have irreconcilable differences that have disintegrated the wedding.

A legal separation entails a court decree outlining the couple’s rights and responsibilities while they are still married but living apart. Remaining legally married may be beneficial for personal or financial reasons, and a court will determine alimony, child custody, and child support. Similarly, the court determines similar concerns in divorce procedures. This is known as separate maintenance in a legal separation.

In certain jurisdictions, a trial separation in which the couple decides whether to pursue a formal separation or divorce does not result in the division of assets or debts. They are still considered marital property. A trial separation is not a proper separation and has no legal impact.

Living apart is seen differently in other jurisdictions as completing the accumulation of marital property. In other words, any debts or assets incurred during this period would not be considered marital property. Finally, permanent separation usually leads to the court seeing property as the acquiring spouse’s independent property. Permanent separation may occur after a trial separation or after the couple lives apart.

What is the difference between annulment and divorce?

An annulment is a legal statement that a marriage is no longer valid. It is null and invalid. An annulment is given when a judge determines that a marriage is invalid. Unlike a divorce, an annulment treats a legally legitimate marriage as if it never occurred. An annulment has the same effect as a divorce in that the parties are single and may remarry or engage in a domestic relationship with another individual. In addition, as with divorce, the court presiding over an annulment procedure may rule on child custody, child support, alimony, and asset distribution.

Will I be required to pay alimony or spousal support?

Alimony (spousal support or maintenance) is determined by various variables, including the duration of the marriage and each spouse’s earning capabilities.

Can I reclaim my maiden name?

Changing one’s name after a divorce is usually a simple procedure. Changing a child’s name after a divorce may be more difficult, depending on the child’s connection with the other parent.

Should my prospective husband and I get into a prenuptial agreement?

Prenuptial agreements might assist couples who have significant income or wealth discrepancies to avoid abusive litigation if their marriage fails.

What happens to my season tickets in the event of a divorce?

Season tickets might be divided, purchased, or sold during a divorce. While separating couples may agree to divide season tickets by taking one seat each, there are better choices than this. They might instead decide (in writing) to alternate games or enable one ex-spouse to use the tickets for the first half of the season and the other for the second half. Divorcing couples may estimate the worth of the keys and have one spouse buy out the other’s portion, or they could sell the tickets to a third party and divide the proceeds.

What would happen to my frequent flyer miles in the event of a divorce?

Some airlines provide a method for distributing airline miles in the event of divorce, but in many situations, separating couples must assess the miles’ worth and enable one spouse to buy the other out of their portion. Valuation might be based on various factors, such as the monetary value of the miles or the estimated amount of money each spouse would save on flights before the miles ran out or expired.

What happens to my credit card points if I get divorced?

Divorcing couples may split the points between their separate personal cards (and share any transfer charge) if any credit card point systems allow transfers of points across cards. Points may also be shared by estimating their monetary worth and having one spouse purchase the other’s part. Topics might also be used to pay down the card’s balance, decreasing or erasing the amount of shared debt.

In the event of a divorce, what happens to my club membership?

Memberships like country club memberships might be split creatively in a divorce. The membership agreement may specify what happens to membership in divorce. Both divorced spouses may be permitted to keep their membership in some instances. Still, they may need to agree (in writing) on particular uses, such as whether ex-spouses would alternate participation in club activities. If a membership is transferrable, the spouses might share the revenues. If the membership is not transferable and both couples are unable or unwilling to continue membership, one spouse may purchase the other’s share for its approximate worth (including any prepayments). However, if a club membership cannot be valued, a court may refuse to split it.

Can a judge require my ex-spouse to pay my legal fees?

A court seldom orders a person to pay their ex-spouse’s legal bills. A court may, however, award an ex-spouse lawyers’ costs if the other party behaved in bad faith throughout the divorce proceedings. This might involve concealing assets or purposefully delaying the procedure. If there is a significant financial discrepancy between the parties or one party cannot properly pay their legal bills, the court may consider awarding lawyers’ fees.