As a couple, when you first contact a divorce lawyer, emotions are high and it is understood. Divorce can sometimes be complicated and painful. You need to find and talk to a family lawyer who has handled divorce cases before. The divorce lawyer has to have a full understanding of your finances as well as your long and short-term goals as early as possible. This post is about the critical issues you need to discuss with your divorce lawyer.
Any property that you acquired during the marriage is referred to as marital property. It includes your marital home or house, furniture, cars, household furnishings, and more. If you lived in a common or community property state, it will determine who owns the property.
Common Law Property States
In any of the common law property states, either spouse is likely to retain ownership of property if they bought it in their name. If the married couple bought property and their names appear on the title deed, the couple own that property. There are 41 states that have adopted the common law for property ownership in marital property.
In the community property states, any assets that were bought by any of the couple when they were married, is subject to equal division between the two. It does not matter whose name is on the title deed. There are currently nine community property states in the US, they are:
- New Mexico
It is crucial to note that in a divorce case, division of property is not always clear. Before meeting with your attorney, it is wise to prepare a list of the marital property, when it was purchased, and whose name is on the title.
Discuss about Child Support With Your Divorce Lawyer
When a married couple go through and finalize the divorce, they are required by law to provide financial support for their children until they are adults. When one of the parents is paying for child support to the other parent, the child/children is the one who has a right to receive support, not the custodial parent.
Both parents are obliged to provide child support. However, the amount each one is supposed to contribute is outlined in a court order or in a written document. Depending on which state you live in, there are guidelines to calculate child support contributions between the two parents. The guidelines considers income from each parent and time each parent spends with the children. There are three types of expenses that parents incur for their children while paying for child support:
- Controlled: These expenses are clothing, food, personal care, entertainment, and miscellaneous expenses. They apply when the child is with the primary caretaker.
- Variable: Variable expenses apply when the child is with the parent. The expenses include food and transportation.
- Fixed: Fixed expenses apply even when the child is not living with one of the parents. This includes housing rent, mortgage, utilities, household care items and furnishings.
Creating a list of the expenses for childcare using the above categories before meeting your divorce lawyer is a good move. It helps to accurately assess your children’s needs now and in the future.
In divorce cases, child custody is highly contested and you’re most likely to face it in your divorce proceedings. Depending on the state that you live in, physical or legal custody may be awarded based on your children’s best interest. Where the children live is referred to as physical custody.
Legal custody means both or either of the parents can make important decisions regarding the children’s welfare, health and education. With joint or shared custody, children spend an equal amount of time living with either of their parents. Children may live with one parent where sole physical custody is determined by court. What’s best for the children depends on many different factors. The court may consider the following.
- Physical and mental health of each parent
- The children’s relationship with either of the parents
- Children’s age, how many they are and their preference
- The home environment where each child wants to live depending on their age
- Communication between parents and their level of cooperation
- Distance between different schools and homes
- Any of the children’s special needs if any
- The parents’ employment status and responsibilities
Knowing which type of custody you want at the beginning of the divorce proceedings allows your lawyer to advocate effectively for you.
You might hire the best divorce lawyer to handle your case, but they are not a mind reader. Your lawyer will only have access to the information that you provide. The more detailed information you give to your divorce lawyer, the better off your case will be at the end. Start by providing and discussing the above issues with your lawyer and you’ll be well on your way to winning the case.