The termination of a marriage is most often made complex by the presence of children in the union. Nonetheless, even without children, there are many things to deal with, from individual and community assets and liabilities to the emotional baggage for both parties. Going through all the details beforehand can make legal separation or divorce less stressful. This article highlights two important aspects of this process.
1. Legal counsel
Some people think it may be easier to have lawyers mediating the practical and legal aspects of a divorce, while others opt to do it themselves, especially when the parties cannot afford legal assistance. Usually, the latter use DIY divorce kits, which are often available at the local family law courts. When weighing these options, how do you decide which is best for you?
DIY kits are cheaper than using lawyers. In addition, scheduling lawyers to discuss separation details is often difficult. With the kits, you simply need to merge your own schedules. For DIY kits to work, both parties should have a basic understanding of the law law to make the process easier and potentially less time consuming.
Working with a lawyer ensures you navigate all legal aspects easily, whether or not you have an understanding of the law. The presence of a family lawyer can be comforting, particularly when navigating complex legal issues or when the parties reach an impasse and need a mediator to soften their stance. Bear in mind that every divorce is unique, so you'll need to make a decision based on your own circumstances.
2. Spousal maintenance
Spousal maintenance is money paid to a former spouse where their income is inadequate to maintain a reasonable standard of living. A spouse with better earning potential is legally obligated to assist their former spouse to the extent that they can afford to pay. Not all spouses automatically qualify to receive spousal maintenance. Once you put in your application, the family court judge will weigh your needs versus your spouse's financial capacity. The judge will also weigh both parties' health and age, financial assets and income, ability to work, what constitutes a reasonable living standard and effect of the marriage on the applicant's earning capacity before making a decision.
It is important to make your spousal support claim within the shortest time after finalising the divorce. Most states have a statute of limitation after which special court permission must be sought before an application is made. De facto spouses can also apply for maintenance if their relationship ends. Note that spousal maintenance is terminated once one remarries.