Getting divorced is always a harrowing prospect. Even at the best of times, there are a number of personal and financial issues you will need to work out before you get through the divorce process. Before you get into a divorce, it can be best to understand what you are getting into. Here are seven common issues that come up in a divorce proceeding:
- Prenuptial agreement
- If you signed a prenuptial agreement (commonly known as a prenup), that is almost certain to come up in your divorce proceeding. In theory, a prenup should make your divorce easier by settling certain issues related to distribution of property up front. In practice, however, they can become points of contention, especially if one spouse alleges they only signed the agreement under duress. Thus, in a particularly bitter divorce, a prenup can become another point of contention, and not a shortcut around certain parts of the divorce.
- Distributing marital property
- The equitable distribution of marital property is not always the most contentious part of a divorce, but it is rare for it to go smoothly, even with a prenup in place. There is almost always contention about how marital property should be split up, both in terms of how much money each spouse should get, and in terms of what specific property they want. For example, it is very common for both spouses to debate who should get to keep the family home or car, especially if one or both spouses commute to work.
- Business divorce
- Many people own businesses along with their spouses. And unfortunately, when the marital relationship dissolves, the business relationship often follows suit. Depending on how your business is structured, it could be as simple as one spouse choosing to sell their stake in the business and walk away. Alternatively, it could involve an incredibly complicated process as you try to sever both spouses’ business interests, which could involve dissolving the business entirely.
- Child custody and visitation
- There are rarely any issues in a divorce more divisive than who will get custody of the children in the relationship. Depending on the couple’s circumstances, there could be a shared custody agreement, or one spouse could get custody of the children. In extreme cases, the children might be taken from the parents entirely, depending on what the court deems to be in the best interests of each child. There are also visitation issues to work out, which can cause further complications.
- Child support
- In addition to arguments over who gets custody of children, the issue of how much a non-custodial parent will have to pay the custodial parent will almost certainly come up. Child support can be incredibly costly, in addition to the loss of wealth that comes from equitable distribution and the costs of litigating a divorce. Moreover, child support obligations cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, so once someone owes child support, they must make those payments until their children become adults.
- Spousal maintenance
- In a related issue, the court will sometimes assign spousal maintenance if one spouse has a significantly higher income than the other. Spousal maintenance, which is also known as spousal support, is the modern term for alimony. It is paid by a higher income spouse to a lower income spouse to ensure they do not suffer a decrease in their quality of life as a result of the divorce. However, like all other economic issues related to divorce, it is often the source of intense negotiation.
- Alternatives to litigation
- Chances are, at some point in your divorce, you may be encouraged to handle certain issues out of court in a private setting. These methods of “alternative dispute resolution,” (ADR) as they are known, include mediation or private negotiation. While not always a good method for everyone, ADR can help couples reach a relatively amicable solution to their problems without the stress or cost associated with litigation. However, even in mediation or negotiation it is important to have a representative whose primary concern is your well being and who can explain all the ramifications of a potential agreement.
If you are going through a divorce, or are planning to, an experienced attorney can help protect your finances and legal rights. Whether your divorce involves a situation with complex assets or few assets, an experienced matrimonial attorney can help ensure an outcome that protects your interests. The divorce lawyers at Blodnick, Fazio & Clark are skilled and experienced in representing clients in all aspects of matrimonial and family law. Call (516) 280-7105 or fill out our contact form to arrange a free consultation.