Getting ready to sit down with a divorce attorney may have you feeling a bit anxious. If you're worried about what's going to happen, it can be helpful to have an outline of the issues that you will discuss. This article will look at 3 items every divorce lawyer will discuss with their clients.
Dividing up real property and other assets is a big component of the divorce process. The main difference in how states handle this task is between those that use community property and common law systems. In a community property state, there's a good chance that most property obtained during the marriage will be evenly divided. In a common law state, there's a better chance that one party will retain a piece of property if their name is the only one on the title.
Income and accounts fall under this heading, too. That means that a savings or brokerage account, for example, will be divided up based on the above rules.
For the record, pets are considered property for legal purposes. How you feel about that doesn't matter; it's how the law sees the issue.
It's wise to consider doing some trading if the other party is willing to negotiate. Giving up a few assets you don't care about to make sure you keep family heirlooms, for example, may be worth the effort.
One thing people often overlook going into the divorce process is that financial liabilities are handled the same way as property. This can impose some interesting problems if your spouse ran up significant debts during the marriage, especially if you're dealing with joint accounts. Make sure you document everything, because you're going to want fair and accurate accounting before you dig into this sort of trouble.
It's rare that two former partners have equal earning potential, and that means spousal support may be owed to the one who has less financial capacity. This usually doesn't kick in until you've been married for a certain amount of time. The length of the marriage also dictates how long support will be paid for. Both those factors are governed by state laws, and they'll vary among states.
Child support, conversely, is dictated in nearly all states by set formulas. These usually take into account the standard of living a kid had when their parents were together. There is also some allowance for the financial situation of the parent paying support.