While everyone comes to the decision to divorce via their own personal path, and every divorce is unique to its own set of circumstances, women often face concerns that are specific to them. And things women need to know about divorce.
If you’re facing a divorce – whether you are the spouse who’s instigating the dissolution of your marriage or not – understanding the basics of divorce can help you make better-informed decisions and help you better protect your rights throughout the divorce process.
What Women Need To Know About Divorce
Choosing the Right Divorce Attorney
Whether you are contemplating a divorce, are facing a divorce, or fear that divorce is imminent, you need an experienced divorce attorney on your side. The outcome of your divorce will affect you and your children’s future significantly, and you don’t want to leave anything to chance.
When searching for a divorce attorney, look not only for someone with considerable experience, skill, and knowledge but also for someone with whom you feel comfortable working very closely. In the course of the divorce process, you’ll need to share the private details of your marriage, and choosing a compassionate, understanding divorce lawyer is a great place to start.
The Primary Elements of Your Divorce
While every divorce is indeed unique, certain issues must be resolved before any divorce is final. These include:
- Your Child custody arrangements
- Child support
- The division of your marital property
- Any spousal support (also known as alimony)
Your Child Custody Arrangements
The primary concern of most divorcing parents is their children. Mothers have traditionally been their children’s primary caregivers throughout their marriages, and if you are facing a future in which your children won’t be living with you 24/7, it can be especially difficult. The fact is that more and more fathers are fighting for and receiving enhanced visitation schedules – and even 50/50 custody.
While it’s almost always in your children’s best interests to spend a considerable amount of time with both of their parents, this fact does not mean that you should give up on your plans to be the primary custodial parent. It does, however, mean that you’ll need to work closely with your dedicated divorce attorney to help you obtain custody arrangements that work for you and your children.
The court’s primary goal is always to do what’s in the best interests of the children involved, but this goal is quite vague, and the court has considerable discretion in the matter. If you’re moving toward divorce, it’s never too early to start thinking carefully about your child custody goals and how best to achieve them.
The Division of Marital Property
After child custody arrangements, the division of your marital property is generally the most important divorce concern. Marital property typically refers to the property, assets, and debts that you and your spouse acquired as a married couple. In your divorce, these assets will generally be divided in a manner that is considered fair – if not exactly equal.
Again, however, the court has vast discretion in this determination. The division of your marital property is an extremely important consideration that will likely affect your finances well into the future, and it should be given the careful legal attention that it deserves.
Spousal support refers to what you may know as alimony. Confusingly, it can also be referred to as spousal maintenance in certain states. Traditionally, women receive alimony more often because women are more likely to have stalled or left their own careers to run their homes and to raise their children in support of their husbands’ careers. Spousal support is by no means a certainty, and it is usually just a temporary measure to help the spouse with fewer assets get up to financial speed post-divorce.
Spousal support is most common after a long marriage, but many different variables can play a role. While there is no guarantee that you will receive spousal support, it can play an important role in your ability to move forward after your divorce, and you and your divorce lawyer should explore this potentiality.
The Issue of Fault
Divorce can be complicated by any number of intervening factors, and many women have questions about specific concerns. For example, the issue of fault often comes up. If your spouse was having an affair, spending down your marital assets, or engaging in any number of other nefarious activities, it may have played a critical role in the dissolution of your marriage.
Most states are No-Fault divorce states, which means that courts don’t take either spouse’s fault in the matter into consideration. This being said, however, the presiding judge in any given divorce proceeding always has wide discretion when it comes to the important decisions, and as such, your spouse’s actions may be factored into the outcome of your divorce. Again, it’s a complicated issue that requires the professional legal counsel of an experienced divorce attorney.
Divorce is one of life’s most difficult challenges, and it requires a good deal of heartache and hard work. If you’re facing a divorce, do yourself and your children a favor by working closely with an experienced divorce attorney who will help protect your rights while aggressively advocating for an outcome that works for you.