Divorce Rights – Property Distribution, Child Custody & Support, Alimony and Visitation

Today, most of the young married couples who are on the course of divorce merely think that with divorce they will rid all the miseries and unevenness they are facing in life but, Alas! They are greatly mistaken. Divorce just doesn’t end everything about a marriage, although it ends the legal contract between a husband and a wife but, it shatters the household that was based on that marriage. It also cannot break the relationship that the children of the marriage create merely by existing.

A marriage is a legal contract, and in general in every legal contract all the parties’ rights must be respected.

When we talk about rights after divorce, it involves many aspects of divorce. And in United States it varies from state to state. Divorce rights principally imply each party’s right at the time of divorce. There has been a significant change in divorce rights throughout the history and we still find these rights unstable today. For every divorcing couple, to better understand and maximize their divorce rights, they must take assistance of a trained professional family law attorney. These experts can guide in a better way and let you be aware of your divorce rights that are according to your specific circumstances and the laws that govern divorce in their state of residence.

Some of the commonly identified divorce rights involve distribution of property, child custody, child support, alimony (spousal support), and child visitation.

 Distribution of Property: when entering into a divorce, diversion of property is a great concern of both the couples. If they both were able to reach to a settlement, OK, else the court shall decide the distribution of the property. This distribution is generally based on either community property or equitable distribution. These statuary schemes may differ from state to state.

Under community property law (which is observed in few states) the marital property is divided equally as both the spouses are taken equal contributors. According to this law distribution doesn’t imply to some of the property that is gifted, inheritance granted, purchased before marriage, and/or property that is excluded by prenuptial agreement.

Equitable distribution law is comparatively more common. The term doesn’t mean equal but the fair distribution. This law allows courts more flexibility in fine-tuning property distribution to consider and take care of individual cases. The court shall consider the some factors when equitable distribution is carried out which includes; non-marital property, length of the marriage, health and age of both the spouses, income and earning capacity, who earned the property, debts and liabilities of the both the spouses, tax consequences, premarital agreements, present value of the property and any other applicable factor.

– Child Custody: is the most controversial aspect of divorce cases today. No parent has got the right to pawn child in divorce proceedings and negotiate over the issue if both the parents are equally likely to acquire the custody. Only the court has got the jurisdiction to decide over this issue. Child custody rights are awarded based on the best interests of the children involved. Child custody rights and responsibilities point out who will have legal and physical custody of the child. Child support payments will also be determined where applicable in child custody rights cases. Child custody may be legal or physical. The later one seems perfect but, has serious drawbacks as well.

Court today shall decide to award joint legal custody to the spouses, with sole physical custody to one of the spouses and fair visitation rights to the non-custodial parent.

In very rare situation, where neither parent is capable of being an effective parent, the court shall refuse to award the custody and in its place shall award the custody to another family member or in extreme cases to court appointed foster parent.

– Alimony or Spousal Support: is the amount of money one spouse is legally required to pay to the other in a divorce agreement. It may be periodically or in a lump sum, for a specified or for an indefinite term. Alimony and child support are the two main financial issues after custody is awarded. Alimony law differs from state to state.

Tax issues are also import in this matter. Alimony, unlike child support, is taxable to the person receiving the payment, and deductible by the person making the payment. The mode can be cash including checks and money orders. There different types of Alimony award. Most states allow lump sum payment but, is risky as the circumstances of receiving party may change needing additional amount.

– Child Support: is the amount of money paid by a non-custodial parent to a custodial parent for supporting the children after divorce. There are several factors on the basis of which the payment is determined. Child support payments are not tax subjected by neither party (payer to payee). A payment may be treated as fixed child support even if other separate payments are specifically designated as child support.

Each state court shall base the child support decision (as it varies from state to state) on the basis of child support guidelines. Some states base it on specific percentage of non custodial parent’s income whereas the others base it on percentage that is the effect of the combined income of both the parents that determines the over all need of the child.

For a parent who exercises regular visitation, the child support amount may be decreased in order to allow that parent to provide for the need of the child directly during the visitation hours.

– Visitation: is the time or schedule that determined by the both the spouses and the court to the non custodial parent in order to visit his/her child on defined intervals (daily, weekly, or other periodic). Although visitation rights are generously awarded, a custodial parent can limit the visitation right by petitioning the court if finds out the visitation can harm the children.

Today there is found an emerging trend among all states of the US in granting visitation rights to other family members such as grandparents and others like stepparents and foster parents. With this new form of law, these members have legally enforceable visitation rights.

In addition to these issues roused in every divorce case, there is another issue that can also be observed sometimes.

– Marital Debts: is also one of the major issues of conflict between divorcing couples. In al most all states the court is authorized to decide the division of debts and assets irrespective of whose name the debts are and who is at the fault in divorce agreement. Both the spouses are to decide the debts settlement if not so; the court will divide debts on equitable basis. Factors considered at the time of debts division are both the spouses’ incomes, level of education, being custodial or non custodial, future earning power, and on the basis the parties’ enjoyed life before they were divorced.