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LEGAL DICTIONARY

Divorce

The legal definition of a divorce is the termination and dissolution of a marriage.

If for any reason relations between both spouses break down irretrievably, a divorce is necessary to end the legal association of the couple in question.

Getting divorced can be an emotionally difficult and legally complicated process so it’s important to fully understand what to do if it happens. Below we look at the types of divorce and what they can mean for your assets, property, and co-parented children.

Types of Divorce

Most states offer two possible types of divorce.

The first of these is a fault divorce. This is sought when one of the spouses has committed marital misconduct which has led to the relationship ending. This has to be proven in court in order for the final divorce to be granted.

Alternatively, if the marriage is ending due to circumstances beyond the control of either spouse a no-fault divorce might be filed instead. In this case, you don’t need to provide evidence of misconduct.

However, it should be kept in mind that not every state permits a no-fault divorce. It is sometimes necessary to get a separation agreement first and then convert this to a full divorce later.

Important Considerations When Getting Divorced

Getting divorced is a state court procedure, which can only be carried out where the filing party has been resident for a sufficient period of time.

Additionally, some states might mandate a ‘cooling-off period’ be observed before official divorce proceedings can begin. This is intended to allow the possibility of reconciliation.

When talking to attorneys about an impending divorce the following topics will usually be discussed at length.

Division of Propert

When you get divorced, all the property shared between yourself and your spouse will need to be divided equally. In this process assets such as real estate and jointly accrued debt will be taken into consideration.

However, if there is a prenuptial agreement (also known as a “prenup”) there might be items of property that exist outside the marriage arrangement. These therefore will usually not be considered when calculating the joint assets.

Alimony to Your Former Spouse

Alimony is a form of spousal support made in monthly payments at the order of a court. This is awarded to an ex-spouse to ensure they aren’t economically disadvantaged as a result of the divorce.

Who Gets Custody of Any Children or Minors?

If the divorcing spouses have any children, the question of custody comes up. This apportions the rights that both parents will have over the minors in question.

This will set out a plan for where the children will live, how often they will have access to both parents, and how decisions will be made about their well-being.

Child Support Payments

In addition to deciding on who gets custody of children from the marriage, arrangements will be made about any money that will be provided to support the custodial parent.

The noncustodial parent will need to pay this on a monthly basis to ensure that their children are properly provided for after the divorce is final.

Do Estate Planning Documents Need Updating?

If you have named a former spouse as your Power of Attorney or as a benefactor in your will you should update these legal documents to avoid granting them undue power over your assets and estate.

In the event that you created the original using our contract builder, this can be done by creating and printing a properly modified copy of the original file. You will then need to follow the correct signing requirements for your state to quickly put the newer form into effect.

It may also be necessary to inform any institutions holding records of these legal documents of the changes and to provide a newer copy. This will help make the process of managing your estate much simpler if they are needed in an emergency.


Get a Free Divorce Agreement

Read more:
Separation vs. Divorce: Key Differences
How to File for Divorce

The legal definition of a divorce is the termination and dissolution of a marriage.

If for any reason relations between both spouses break down irretrievably, a divorce is necessary to end the legal association of the couple in question.

Getting divorced can be an emotionally difficult and legally complicated process so it’s important to fully understand what to do if it happens. Below we look at the types of divorce and what they can mean for your assets, property, and co-parented children.

Types of Divorce

Most states offer two possible types of divorce.

The first of these is a fault divorce. This is sought when one of the spouses has committed marital misconduct which has led to the relationship ending. This has to be proven in court in order for the final divorce to be granted.

Alternatively, if the marriage is ending due to circumstances beyond the control of either spouse a no-fault divorce might be filed instead. In this case, you don’t need to provide evidence of misconduct.

However, it should be kept in mind that not every state permits a no-fault divorce. It is sometimes necessary to get a separation agreement first and then convert this to a full divorce later.

Important Considerations When Getting Divorced

Getting divorced is a state court procedure, which can only be carried out where the filing party has been resident for a sufficient period of time.

Additionally, some states might mandate a ‘cooling-off period’ be observed before official divorce proceedings can begin. This is intended to allow the possibility of reconciliation.

When talking to attorneys about an impending divorce the following topics will usually be discussed at length.

Division of Propert

When you get divorced, all the property shared between yourself and your spouse will need to be divided equally. In this process assets such as real estate and jointly accrued debt will be taken into consideration.

However, if there is a prenuptial agreement (also known as a “prenup”) there might be items of property that exist outside the marriage arrangement. These therefore will usually not be considered when calculating the joint assets.

Alimony to Your Former Spouse

Alimony is a form of spousal support made in monthly payments at the order of a court. This is awarded to an ex-spouse to ensure they aren’t economically disadvantaged as a result of the divorce.

Who Gets Custody of Any Children or Minors?

If the divorcing spouses have any children, the question of custody comes up. This apportions the rights that both parents will have over the minors in question.

This will set out a plan for where the children will live, how often they will have access to both parents, and how decisions will be made about their well-being.

Child Support Payments

In addition to deciding on who gets custody of children from the marriage, arrangements will be made about any money that will be provided to support the custodial parent.

The noncustodial parent will need to pay this on a monthly basis to ensure that their children are properly provided for after the divorce is final.

Do Estate Planning Documents Need Updating?

If you have named a former spouse as your Power of Attorney or as a benefactor in your will you should update these legal documents to avoid granting them undue power over your assets and estate.

In the event that you created the original using our contract builder, this can be done by creating and printing a properly modified copy of the original file. You will then need to follow the correct signing requirements for your state to quickly put the newer form into effect.

It may also be necessary to inform any institutions holding records of these legal documents of the changes and to provide a newer copy. This will help make the process of managing your estate much simpler if they are needed in an emergency.


Get a Free Divorce Agreement

Read more:
Separation vs. Divorce: Key Differences
How to File for Divorce