No one enters a marriage with the idea that it is going to end in divorce. However, for many couples a divorce is the only solution for an unhappy situation. If you are considering filing for divorce, make sure you understand the types of dissolutions available to you.
Obtaining a divorce involves following a certain set of procedures and rules, filing the proper papers and appearing in court. While you may or may not need an attorney to make sure every aspect of this process is done right, unless you and your spouse agree on all the issues to be decided in your divorce, like the distribution of property and custody of the children, then you will definitely want the assistance of qualified and experienced family law attorneys. The decisions made in a divorce can affect you and your family for the rest of your life.
How Long Will The Process Take?
The dissolution process takes a minimum of about four months, in a complicated case it may take much longer. The court sets two dates when a complaint is filed. The first is the “return date,” which is at least four weeks away to give the defendant a chance to answer the complaint, file a cross complaint, or simply enter a “pro se” appearance. The second date is the “case management date,” which is at least 90 days after the return date and is the earliest date a divorce can be finalized. The court takes no action before the case management date so that the spouses have some time to settle issues out of court. Couples with children must also complete a court-approved parenting education program within 60 days of the return date.
Equitable Distribution Of Property
The court is empowered to make an equitable distribution of property between the parties. The judge is not limited to only dividing marital property but may also redistribute a couple’s separate property between them. The judge is authorized to make any distribution that is equitable, or fair. In deciding how to divide the property, the judge considers factors such as the following:
• The length of the marriage
• The causes for the dissolution
• The age, health and station of the parties
• Amount and sources of income
• Each person’s earning capacity
• Vocational skills, education and employability
• The separate estate, liabilities and needs of each of the parties
• The opportunity to acquire capital assets and income in the future
• The contribution each party made to acquiring or preserving the value of their respective estates
Alimony is not awarded automatically, one party has to request it and prove in court that an award is justified. In determining whether alimony will be awarded, and the duration and amount of any award, the court considers the same factors as when determining the property settlement.
Contact Our Office
If you are considering divorce, or if you have been served with a summons and complaint by your spouse, contactour office for a consultation.