We’re Getting a Divorce, What Should I Expect in Court?

One of the most challenging aspects of going to court for a divorce is that you never know quite what is going to happen. If you are going to be part of a child custody hearing where your children are involved, it is especially essential that you know what is going to happen and what you can expect from court. Many people find themselves in a state of panic and fear as they start their own court proceedings.

There are some things that you can be sure that you will experience as you head to divorce court.

The Room Will Be Small

One thing that you will not have to worry about is a packed courtroom. Many people incorrectly think that the courtroom is going to be packed and they become overly nervous about stage-fright. While the criminal courtrooms are generally packed, family matters generally do not have additional people who are not directly involved in the case. The family courtroom setting is not only much smaller but it is also meant to be more intimate.

Prepare for the Testimony

During the court case, one thing that you can be certain of is that there are going to be numerous testimonies happening, so you should be prepared for these. In a custody case, everything that you have done as a parent will come into questioning. Not only will the judge interview you and your soon-to-be ex, but other witnesses can be called to discuss events that happened when the child was present. Even your child could be called to testify, depending on their age, so you should prepare for that as well.

Short Term Time Frame

Each day, judges hear many different cases in family court. This means that your case is not likely to last very long. Since there is a strong chance that more people will be coming into the courtroom after your case is heard, you might find that the whole process feels too quick or rushed. So, make sure that you are prepared to put yourself out there and have your best foot forward.

Be Prepared for a Judge’s Decision

The day might conclude with a final decision from the judge. In some cases, mediation or other courses of action might be taken in order to try and find the best solution for a family. The judge’s job is to put aside the wants and needs of the parents, and figure out what would be in the child’s best interest. His decision will include which parent is going to be the best custodial parent and what the visitation schedule should be.


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Deciding How to Divide Your Child’s Assets

During a divorce assets are divided.  What can be harder than dividing up the marital property is for you to determine where your children’s things belong.  Your children have their own things that are theirs and determining where these things are kept can be a challenge.  The main thing that the parents need to remember is that since these are the child’s things, where they are kept needs to be a conversation that is had with the children.  It is unfair to them if you are determining where all of their things will be without talking to them about it.


5 Steps to Determine Where Your Child’s Assets Belong


Step 1 – Determine Where the Child’s Time Will Be Spent


The first thing that you have to do when you are determining where your child’s things should be is to determine where your child is going to be.  If your child is going to be in one place more than the other, then it is important to take note of this and decide what of your child’s is most important so that they will have it there.


One option that works for some parents is to have two properties that are to be sold and compensated for after the child turns 18.  How this typically works is that one home is where the children live.  The parent who is to spend the time with the child stays in that home with them. Then the parent that is not with the child gets to stay in the other property.


This can work well with parents who are not going to have any other children but if they become involved with someone who has children or have more of their own then it is not something that will work.  So there are many factors to consider before making this an option for your family.


Step 2 – Talk to Your Child


It really does not matter how old your child is.  At some point you are going to have to discuss the divorce with them.  When you are discussing the divorce, you can talk to the child about where they want certain things to be at.  Explain to your child that they will want some things at each parent’s house.  When you do this, they will be able to help pick out what they have at each place.


You can talk about things that they want to take back and forth too like a special stuffed animal and blanket.  You can also help them to choose between things that they will want when they are with each parent.  Try to be fair about dividing things like games and consider which parent played the games with the child while living in the same home.  Also think about these types of things with books.  Being fair is the best way to make sure that your child has what makes them feel at home in both homes.


Step 3 – Think About Where the Item Came From


With big ticket items, think about where the item came from if there is a struggle.  If it came from a friend or family member, consider whose house that friend or family member will see the child at.  Doing this helps those friends and family members see the child enjoying the things that they have purchased for them.


Step 4 – Consider Buying Doubles


There are some items that you will even want to consider purchasing so that you have them at both homes.  Consider buying doubles of favorite toys, blankets, and even bedding if that is going to make your child the most comfortable.  Agree to share the cost of these items.  If you do this, it might cost a little bit of money but it is going to make the child feel more comfortable as they transition between homes.


Step 5 – Discuss It in Court


If you are fighting over items, it can be damaging to your child.  Do not fight over things.  Instead, make a list of the things that you do not agree with.  Then take this list to court with you.  Reasonably consider what is going to be best for your child.  If both parents, feel that it is best for them to have these items then you will have to let a judge determine what the best choices are.


Deciding how to separate the child’s belongings can be quite difficult.  The easiest way for this to happen is for both parents to make sure that they have everything that they need and then to think about what their child wants.  The goal is not for one parent to have more than the other.  Instead it is so that the child has what they need to feel comfortable and be happy in both homes.

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Determining Division of Assets

One of the things that many people struggle with during a divorce is determining the right way to divide the assets. This is because both parties usually have items that they want and sometimes they both want the same items. Deciding who the rightful owner will be during a divorce can take some time and is often a long drawn out process. There are many reasons for this.

How to Get Started

The first thing that you will want to do is to make a list of everything that you own. Your list can be as detailed as you would like. This is the best way to accurately make sure that you get half of everything that you own. If you do not make this list, then there is a good chance that someone is going to end up getting more than their fair share. If property is not something that you are concerned with then you might elect to allow your ex to take what they want. However, if you want to make sure that you are both treated fairly then you might want to make sure that you both get what you deserve.

File the Right Paperwork

Depending on what state you are in, there will be some type of financial and property paperwork that is requires for your divorce. You can find out what paperwork is required where you live easily and then have it filled out with all of the information. This paperwork usually discloses all bank accounts both joint and separate, trusts, any property both personal and joint, and any major items that are worth enough money to be considered an asset.

Things to Remember When Dividing Debt

There are times when you might think that the right thing to do would be divide the entire amount of debt in half. Many people think that stating that each party has to pay off a percentage of the debt (typically 50% each) is the right way to do this. Often times this is not a good idea because if the debt is based on one person’s credit. The issue is that the creditor does not have to agree to any of the divorce paperwork. So, in the end the person whose name is on the credit card is the one that they hold accountable. This can cause financial ruin to you if your name is on something and your ex is ordered to pay and doesn’t. Many people do not realize that this is the case. You can avoid these issues if the judge orders the other to pay the responsible party directly.

What You Need to Know About Pensions

Pensions are also considered part of the marital property. This is the one thing that ends up being the most valuable during a marriage. In many cases it is actually worth more than all of the other assets combined. Make sure that you fill out required paperwork if your soon to be ex has a pension plan. If you and your ex cannot agree on the terms of pension plan division, a judge can decide for you how you will have it divided. This typically means that your ex will be required to send you a check each month. Now, it is a good idea to make sure that your bills are paid out of the previous month’s check or with your own income. The reason for this being that in most cases your ex will be given a day of the month to send you the check by, but it is very rare that they will be punished if they end up getting the check to you by the end of the month.

Deciding how to divide your assets during a divorce can cause a number of fights. Doing the work and filling out the necessary paperwork to ensure that you get what you deserve takes it out of your hands. Typically, this is the best way to ensure that things are done fairly.

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The Benefits of Legal Separation

There are many advantages and benefits to choosing a legal separation rather than a divorce when you are trying to make the right decision for your family. A legal separation is a contract between two spouses that is honored by the court. This is the paperwork that needs to be done if a couple chooses to stay married while living separately. There are many reasons that a couple might choose a separation over a divorce. These include: co-parenting benefits, access to medical insurance, financial benefits, religious reasons, or just so that they can meet the state’s mandatory separation period (if this applies).


Co-Parenting Benefits

One of the greatest things about a legal separation is that it can help outline issues between spouses for their children. The papers will outline where the child should live, who has the responsibility to make the final decisions, who is required to be financially responsible for the child, and the visitation schedule for the other parent. With legal separation papers you are not going to have to fight and argue about these issues as they are all outlined. If someone does not follow through with this, they can be held in contempt (obviously this is something that is going to look bad if they want to eventually get a divorce). There are many experts that give advice and tips on how to get children through a divorce or separation effectively with the least amount of damage.


Medical Benefits

Another huge benefit for spouses comes in the form of medical coverage. During a legal separation spouses still have access to the same medical benefits that they had while married. This is something that can be done if one spouse is ill and unable to get their own medical coverage.


Financial Benefits

You can also have a lot of financial benefits with a legal separation. The biggest one being that the spouse who makes more money could potentially have to pay spousal support. Also the spouse who has the majority of custody of the child is going to receive child support during the separation. If legal separation papers are not filed, this is not the case and the individual that is not caring for the child is not going to be held responsible.


Religious Benefits

In many religions it is taboo to be divorced. In some cases it is so taboo that the people who practice that religion believe that they have no way to access the highest point of their afterlife. So many times a religious couple might opt for a legal separation. This could potentially mean that they could stay married for the rest of their lives to achieve the ultimate gift after they have died. Plus about 14% of the couples who file separation papers reunite which could mean that they are able to work things out and continue to be married happily.


Meeting the State’s Mandatory Periods

Depending on which state that you live in and whether or not the divorce is mutual, your state might require up to 2 full years of separation before your divorce will be granted. This is something that is important to consider and research so that you know what your state expects. By filling the paperwork there is no way that your ex can try to say that you have not been separated the minimum period of time.


Continued Work on the Marriage

If you still love your spouse and want to try and make things work with them, then separation should be your first choice. During your separation you can determine if you are happier alone or together. You can also go to counseling, either as an individual to work on your own problems and/or as a couple. This gives you a chance to air all issues that you have and to learn about all of the issues that your spouse has. It is a great way to make sure that you are both happy with the end result. If continued effort doesn’t work and a divorce is the only option, click here for when it’s time for finally file for divorce

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