Alimony or spousal support is one spouse’s lawful obligation to give monetary support to his or her former partner after separation or divorce. In the past, spousal support typically consisted of the husband paying his former wife. Modern practice, however, typically has a more gender-neutral viewpoint, instead requiring any spouse with significantly more financial assets to provide support to the other spouse.
Rules regarding this important divorce-related issue and the factors that help determine how much support ought to be given and who ought to receive it vary from state to state, so if you are interested in pursuing a divorce in North Carolina, you should contact a Raleigh divorce attorney to better understand how the law will apply to you specifically.
Alimony usually falls under four different types:
- Temporary – this is otherwise known as “pending the suit,” from the Latin pendente lite; it is given when spouses decide to separate even before they get divorced.
- Rehabilitative – the spouse who earns less is the recipient of the support, but only until he or she acquires work and becomes self-sufficient.
- Permanent – so long as the supporting spouse is alive or the beneficiary has not remarried or died, the financial support to the one earning less is given continuously.
- Reimbursement – this support takes the form of repayment to a spouse for the expenses, such as education, he or she has made during marriage.
Some of the factors affecting decisions on alimony cases are: duration of the marriage; age of the spouses when the divorce began; income of the spouses and their financial prospects in the future; health of the divorcing parties; and fault in marital breakdown.
More than 10 years of civil union or marriage usually merits permanent alimony. However, the amount of this alimony can vary significantly, and even those who receive permanent alimony may no longer be able to support themselves at the standard of living to which they may have become accustomed in their marriage.
When a married couple seeks a divorce, it must decide how to split its debts, assets, and property. If the spouses cannot negotiate a decision on its own, the divorce court will handle it for them.
The laws for how a court determines asset division vary from state to state. Most states follow an equitable distribution model, but Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin use what is called “community property.”
In community property states, all of each spouse’s assets and debts are split right down the middle. Each spouse will be responsible for half of the debts accrued through the marriage and will be entitled to half of the assets.
However, there is a chance that a spiteful spouse will rack up new debt after making the decision to divorce, knowing he or she will be responsible for only half of it afterwards. An attorney can help you recognize and fight this unfair financial manipulation in court.
When a married couple reaches the conclusion that it needs to separate, they will have to decide how to split up all of the assets, belongings, and debts they have acquired during the course of the marriage. They may be able to do so amicably, but most divorcing couples end up taking the matter to court.
The majority of states use an equitable distribution model. This means that the value of all the marriage’s assets are summed and each member receives an equitable amount of those assets. Keep in mind that equitable does necessarily mean a perfect half and half split. Instead, the court determines what is equitable through a number of factors such as:
- Length of the marriage
- Debts and assets each individual had entering wedlock
- Earning capacity and potential
- Childcare obligations
Because of variances in these factors, it is possible for one of the spouses to get next to none of the marriage’s assets when it is dissolved. It’s best to consult with a divorce attorney during this process to increase the likelihood you receive a deal that is fair to you in the divorce’s conclusion.
So, you and your spouse have decided to end the marriage. The next thing to do is to find the right divorce lawyer to help you settle the differences and end the relationship with as little damage as possible. Although there are a lot of lawyers to choose from, hiring the right lawyer can be one way to ensure that your rights are protected and that you are represented well in court.
Not all divorce are the same, and so finding the right lawyer to fight for your right can be essential. Here are some important things to consider when looking for the right divorce lawyer:
- Experience – find a lawyer with a lot of experience in divorce or family law. Ask about how many cases he or she has handled, and what these cases where (see if they are the same circumstance as yours). See if they are familiar with the divorce laws in your area, and find someone who specializes in this particular field of law.
- Communication – have an open communication with your lawyer. Make sure that what you want and need in the divorce is clearly understood, and that your lawyer will respect your opinions and choices regarding the divorce process. Don’t let your anger transfer to your lawyer, and be proactive during the whole divorce process. Ask for a copy of all documents being filed in the court, and be responsible for your lawyer.
- Payment – consulting a lawyer regarding your divorce may be free for many, but there are those experienced in the field that charge their consultations. Ask about their hourly rates, how they are going to send the invoices (and how often), as well as reimbursements/refunds if there will be any. Put everything in paper, and everything should be clear regarding payments and fees to avoid complications in the future.
- Traits – with divorce being an emotional, financial and psychological thing to go through, having someone you are comfortable with is vital. Stress, anger and many other things can take a toll on you, and you might lose focus many times. Find someone who can point you to the right direction, and could help you get through the process as easily as possible.
Hiring the right divorce lawyers is a very important decision. Because of the complexity of dissolving a divorce, having the right person to help you walk through the process could help lessen the stress and burden that you may feel. End your relationship on the right note by having the right lawyer standing in your place.
Divorce can be a difficult and complicated process, and this problem is especially true when child custody is involved. During divorce proceedings involving a marriage with children, it will be necessary to work out a custody arrangement between the two parents. Once the court has decided on the agreements regarding child support and visitation rights, both parents should be able to follow the agreement.
When negotiating visitation rights, the process will be easier if both parents agree; however, this is not always the case. After some time and certain circumstances arise, it may be possible that a modification of visitation rights is necessary. If the parents can’t reach an agreement regarding the modifications of the visitation agreement, then it may be necessary to go to court to resolve the issue. Some of the more common reasons for modifications of visitation rights are:
1. Change of address or relocation of one parent
2. Changes in the child’s needs
3. Demise of the guardian or parent who has full custody of the child
4. Evidence of violent acts of one or both parents
5. Changes in the mental or psychological health of one or both parents
A child or children’s needs changes as time passes, and these changes may necessitate modifications of visitation rights. Minor changes such as the number of hours or days of visitation or changes in location can be talked over by both parents, but the decision should always be in the child’s best interest. Serious changes, such as relocations, child support, schedules, and other issues should be put on paper and filed for the judge and court to agree upon. This ensures clear and binding agreements on the new visitation and child support changes.
Any parent who believes they are on the losing end of the visitation rights can appeal to the court for modifications of the agreement.
When a married couple seeks a divorce, there must be a reason for the marriage to be dissolved lawfully. This means they have to get the marriage legally divorced by the state. Otherwise, the couple will remain technically married to one another until one or both of them take action. The specific grounds for a divorce vary from state to state, but there are two different general types of divorce: fault and no fault.
All states offer fault divorces, but the acceptable reasons may vary between them. These are divorces that are sought after because one partner has wronged the other. Common reasons for fault divorce include:
- Drug addiction
- Criminal conviction
No fault divorces differ in that one partner does not have to egregiously harm or wrong the other in order for the court to consider granting one. Every state has a way for citizens to seek a no fault divorce. This kind of divorce covers couples who have agreed that their marriage is not working and are looking for a way to end it. Typically, the court will require the couple to be separated for some amount of time before it will accept a no fault divorce.
Much like marriage, divorce is a major step that can drastically change your life. Being aware of what to expect and how to choose an attorney will do a lot to make the process easier to manage.
The prevalence of cross-cultural marriages, ease of international travel, and increasing permissiveness of more secular countries in recognizing divorce decrees executed in foreign countries has made international divorce more popular. An international divorce may mean any of the following:
- Divorce of foreign citizens who were married in another country
- Divorce granted in another country that may or may not be recognized in the country of domicile
- Divorce of a local citizen from a foreign spouse who may or may not be domiciled locally
An international divorce may include not only the legal dissolution of a marriage but also decisions on the division of property, child custody and financial support. One problem with international divorce is that there are a wide range of circumstances that may complicate any divorce decree. For example, if the divorcing couple has property in foreign lands, the court-mandated division of assets may not be enforceable.
Another problem is jurisdiction. In some countries such as the Philippines, divorce of two Filipino citizens married in the Philippines is not recognized except in specific circumstances. Conversely, an American couple who obtained a divorce from certain jurisdictions such as the Dominican Republic may not be considered divorced in the US.
International divorce is a complex process because the laws governing it are tenuous at best. In most instances, the validity of an international divorce will depend on a particular set of circumstances. It becomes more complicated when children and property are involved, and the divorce is contested. Even if it is granted more easily in a particular country, there is no guarantee that it will be recognized in the home country of the couple. To ensure that an international divorce will be valid and to avoid unnecessary delays and expense, the advice and guidance of an experienced divorce lawyer will be needed.