Divorce is a legal process where a judge legally terminates a marriage, reverting the status of the couple to being single, and allowing them to marry other individuals. Divorce in the United States is governed by state laws. Divorce was once an adversarial proceeding where one of the spouse is required to prove that the other spouse is at fault for the breakdown of their marriage. Nowadays, state courts have relaxed their rules and now allow for so-called no-fault divorces under which the married couple will only need to prove that they have irreconcilable differences. Despite not having to show that one of the spouses is at fault, the court, nevertheless, still take into consideration each spouse's behavior within the marriage in determining issues relating to children, debts, and property.
Marriage is a lot of work and teamwork. So does divorce. Divorce law differs from one state to another. Divorce requirements also differ from one state to another. Some states are stricter when it comes to the dissolution of marriage and would often require the married couple to go into therapy prior to filing a petition for divorce. If one is not familiar with state requirements, a divorce petition may be denied for failure to comply with certain requirements. In this regard, it is crucial to seek the counsel of an expert divorce attorney.
Petitions for divorce are easily granted by most courts, especially when they are uncontested. Divorce proceedings, however, often messy and emotionally draining, turn adversarial, in which case, both parties will need divorce attorneys to argue for their client without the impassioned tone of two former lovers now turned enemies. In no-fault divorce proceedings, the real dispute would be on the distribution of assets and on child custody and support. The married couple's assets can be distributed in two ways: community or equitable. When the married couple has a community property, this means the couple equally owns all properties they both acquired during the marriage and the property will be divided equally between the spouses, with each of the spouse retaining the properties they acquired prior to the marriage. In cases of equitable distribution, each of the spouse will need to identify which assets he or she acquired during the marriage and how much each contributed to the family during the marriage. This is a rather tedious process, requiring voluminous paper work for proof of property or contribution. In equitable distribution, the property of the married couple is divided fairly, but not necessarily equally. Prenuptial agreements play a crucial role in the distribution of assets as the couple, before they got married, already agreed as to how their properties would be divided.
Child custody and support for children resulting from the marriage pose two other difficult issues that arise during divorce proceedings. The parents, whether they are amicable to each other or not, need to agree on the terms of custody and support for their children's best interests. Children are most affected by divorce and would generally want their parents to stay together. It is thus an attorney's role to take out the emotions from the individuals so that the parties can agree to reasonable terms.