Frequently Asked Questions: This part of the Handbook will address the most common questions that people have pertaining to the process of divorce. The answers to each of these questions are provided in an attempt to give a general perspective. Please keep in mind that all situations are unique.
The Legal Process: The legal process of obtaining a divorce begins by filing a complaint or summons with the court. The average length of time it takes to obtain a divorce ranges from three to fifteen months from the date of the complaint. The time span can vary due to local provisions and applicable state laws, but the most defining factor is the number of disputed issues that must be resolved.
Children & Divorce: Presently the divorce rate is increasing at an astounding rate, and close to 50% of children are growing up in a single parent environment. Children need their parents in order for them to develop physically, mentally, and emotionally. If the bond between the parent and the child is broken, negative consequences can be a result and can be traumatic for a child.
Child Custody: A child is easily the most vulnerable person involved throughout the emotional side of divorce. Although the prospect might sometimes be tempting, a parent should never ever use the child as a bargaining tool during the sometimes difficult negotiations.
Child Support: Divorce will never end the legal obligation for support. Each parent, although the bond of marriage has been broken, still retains a legal responsibility to provide adequate support until the child reaches the age of emancipation.
Family Counseling: In most courts throughout the United States, divorce counseling is strongly recommended. Counselors or therapists cannot make problems instantly disappear, however, counseling does enable one to better identify and, ultimately, cope with the more difficult problems which may arise as a result of a divorce.
Grandparent's Rights: Within the past decade or two, there have been dramatic changes to what was once a very traditional relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren. The ever increasing divorce rate has probably been the single most predominant factor responsible for these changes.
Financial Aspects: Emotionally speaking, divorce can be a painful process. Whereas you once thought you had a love to last a lifetime, you now realize this is no longer the case. But if the matters of the heart seem complicated, they are nothing in comparison with the fiscal aspects involved with the legal dissolution of a marriage.
Spousal Support: In the past the wife was almost always the recipient, but the courts no longer view gender as a consideration. In most states marital conduct is also not a consideration. It is purely a decision made due to the economic consequences of each spouse.
Pensions & Divorce: A pension plan is a tax deferred savings plan. Typically, during years of employment, monetary contributions are made by the employee and/or on behalf of the employee by the employer to a retirement plan. The contributions and the earnings generated accumulate over time, tax free, until retirement. Upon retirement, the employee will receive a specific monthly income for life or a lump sum payment.
About Professionals: When choosing such professionals, there are many factors which need to be kept in mind and thoroughly analyzed before making any decisions that could directly influence the end results of any divorce proceedings. For example, does the professional you intend to hire have the necessary training and experience to handle your case?