Although divorce has become very common, many people are still unfamiliar with the legal process and requirements involved. Divorce, legally referred to as a Dissolution of Marriage, is the act terminating a marital contract. This is done by filing a lawsuit for marriage dissolution, in which one spouse, the petitioner, files a petition to the court requesting that the marriage be dissolved and the property divided. The process can be quite simple and save time and money with proper guidance and execution. Below are five frequently asked questions regarding divorce:
- How does divorce differ from an annulment or legal separation?
Divorce and annulment are both legal procedures used to end a marriage, however, involve different processes and semantics. An annulment is a process by which the marriage is declared null or void. The marriage is, thereby, deemed invalid, and no longer has legal recognition, as if it never existed. This is unlike a divorce, which continues to recognize the marriage even after its termination. In the case of a divorce, the legal duties and responsibilities bound by marriage are cancelled or reorganized, but the date of matrimony will still be on file.
Legal separation differs in that the marriage is not terminated. When a couple is legally separated, they are still bound by a marital contract, but reside apart from one another.
- What is the difference between fault and no-fault divorce?
The differences between a fault and a no-fault divorce exist mainly on the grounds of the marriage termination. A no-fault divorce, now recognized in every state, typically allows a couple to terminate the marriage without citing a specific reason or claiming spousal misconduct. Most states, therefore, will grant a marriage dissolution on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences.”
A fault divorce is the traditional form of marriage dissolution in which a spouse places blame on the other party. Fault divorce has been used to accuse a party of spousal misconduct, such as adultery, requiring payment of alimony to the victimized spouse. Fault divorce is no longer necessary solely for marriage termination, and is not even recognized by many states.
- Can a spouse stop a divorce from happening?
A fault divorce can be prevented in the case that the accused spouse proves his or her innocence. A no-fault divorce cannot be stopped, because the sole act of disputing the divorce is considered irreconcilable differences that validate the grounds for the marriage dissolution.
- How does alimony work?
In a fault divorce, the spousal party responsible for the marriage dissolution will typically pay support to the victimized party. In a no-fault divorce, alimony is dependent on several factors. Assuming a couple has been married for at least several years, alimony may have to be paid if one spouse earns significantly more than the other, or if one spouse is primarily responsible for the couple’s children.
- How does child support work?
In the case of a divorce, child support is largely dependent on the custody of the child/children. If the spouses cannot reach agreement on their own, then the courts may intervene to determine the financial support a parent must pay. If one parent has custody, then typically the non-custodial parent will be required to pay child support. In the case of joint guardianship, child support is to be paid to the parent with whom the child primarily resides. The courts determine child support amount by considering the needs of the child and the income of the non-custodial parent.
If you are faced with the unfortunate reality of divorce, contact a skilled attorney such as the child custody lawyer Peoria IL locals have been trusting for years as soon as possible in your state to navigate the legal process in a proper manner.
Thanks to authors at Smith & Weer P.C. for their insight into Family Law.