Divorce Process

The divorce process can be a daunting undertaking. From the beginning of the marriage and prenuptial agreements, to contemplating divorce and even after divorce, if there are appeals, a spouse may feel very overwhelmed in this process. Going through modifications for custody, child and spousal support and the task of post-judgment litigation; even the most organized person can feel overwhelmed.

Prenuptial Agreements:

Prenuptial Agreements: A prenuptial agreement spells out the terms and conditions for the division of the marital or community estate and spousal support.

The Uniform Premarital Agreement: All jurisdictions now permit prenuptial agreements. Since 1983, at least 27 states have enacted versions of the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act.

Romance and a Prenuptial Agreement: The Prenuptial Agreement is just something that has to be considered, even if it is unpleasant.

Prenups are Not Just for the Wealthy: Many people are under the mistaken impression that only wealthy people need prenuptial agreements.

Consider a Prenup Before Saying I Do: A prenuptial agreement can be used for anyone who has property, debt, a degree, a certificate or license, an established career, a business or professional practice, a creative product, expectations of inheritance or other receipt of assets, past matrimonial experience, or children.

Prenuptial Agreements Set Out a Financial Inventory: Some lawyers advise prenuptial agreements in the case of second (or third) marriages between older spouses who have children to whom they wish to leave an estate.

A Warning About the Prenuptial Agreement: While some dimensions of marriage are off limits (child support, for example), care must be taken in the execution of a prenuptial agreement.

Upholding the Prenuptial Agreement: To be upheld, an agreement must be substantively and procedurally fair at the time of execution.
Post-Judgment Divorce Litigation:
Post-Judgement Litigation in the Divorce Process: Some former spouses meet each other again in court after the divorce judgment because one or the other is unhappy about the divorce judgment.

Appealing a Divorce Judgment: A divorce appeal is the least common and most difficult form of post judgment litigation.

Appealing the Marital Settlement Agreement: Almost as difficult as a divorce appeal is a reopening of the terms and conditions of equitable distribution of the marital estate.

Modifying the Divorce Decree: After a divorce, courts frequently entertain motions to modify the divorce decree.
Support & Custody Modifications:
A Change in Circumstances May Warrant Going Back to Court: In family law, former spouses frequently go before courts to seek a change in a previous ruling because of a change in circumstances.

Modifying a Custody Order or Agreement: In the case of custody, once it has been determined, any subsequent changes in the parenting plan must be made with the approval of the court.

Modifying the Child Support Order or Arrangements: If the parent suffers a loss of income, that could be a basis for reducing support; conversely, if the parent's income increases, that could be a basis for increasing support.

Modifying Spousal Support or Alimony: Spousal support is modifiable (up or down) by showing of a substantial change in circumstances.
Pro Se Divorce (filing for divorce without a lawyer):
Doing Your Own Divorce - Pro Se: A divorce in which each spouse represents himself or herself in filing documents and/or appearing in court without a lawyer is a pro se divorce. Pro se means "for yourself."

When to Do a Pro Se Divorce: Filing pro se works when the action is uncontested, a proceeding in which there are no disputes.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of a Pro Se Divorce: The most obvious advantage of a pro se divorce is cost. When couples file pro se, either by using divorce kits or online divorce solutions, they save money.

Can I Really Do a Pro Se Divorce Online?: The popularity of pro se filing has increased with the coming of the information age and online divorce.

Pro Se Divorce Kits: Pro se filers can also purchase state-specific divorce kits. The kits often come in boxes or in book format with blank forms required in divorce.

When Does Filing a Pro Se Divorce Not Work?: No one should attempt a pro se filing in an adversarial divorce, one where each spouse is unable to come to any agreement.

Do I Need a Lawyer to File a Pro Se Divorce?: Many pro se filers do the filing part of the divorce, but nevertheless ask an attorney to review the paperwork.

Pro Se Divorce Popularity: The increasing popularity of pro se divorce probably reflects society's changing perception of marriage and divorce.

Pro Se Divorce and the Courts: The clerk of the court is a public official who is responsible for keeping court records and procedures in order. His or her office handles filings, issue writs of garnishment, and answer questions about court procedure.

Filing a Pro Se Divorce: Filing an uncontested divorce pro se means that one of the parties does work normally done by a lawyer -- the filing of divorce papers.

Pro Se Divorce Documents: Each jurisdiction has its own divorce forms and forms and affidavits may have different names in different jurisdictions.
Grounds for Divorce:
Annulments: Although it is not as common as it once was, a marriage annulment states that a marriage never existed. Whereas divorce is the end of a marriage, an annulment decrees that, for various reasons, the union was not a legal marriage due to a defect in the legal marital contract.

The Reason for the Divorce: Grounds are the legal reasons for requesting a divorce. When one spouse initiates a divorce by filing a complaint or petition, he or she must state the reason for the divorce. The reason or reasons are the grounds, and the parties -- the spouses -- present that reason to the court.

Fault versus No-fault Grounds: California took the lead in 1970 with the first modern no-fault divorce law, and within the decade almost every state followed suit. Today every state offers no-fault as an option. However, 33 states still have fault grounds for divorce.

Liberalization of Divorce: Liberalization of divorce did not make it less painful to get a divorce. Emotionally for most people divorce is a wrenching experience, one right up there with the death of a spouse or a serious illness or accident in terms of pain and suffering.

Adultery and Divorce: Adultery is one of the oldest grounds for divorce because adultery was considered the worst possible violation of marriage vows and proof of a marital breakdown.

Cruelty and Divorce: Another popular fault ground was cruelty, both mental and physical. Often the cruelty was mental, which is a catchall term that often meant that one spouse verbally and psychologically abused the other.

Abandonment and Desertion in Divorce: When one spouse just up and leaves the marriage, the other may have a fault ground for divorce, abandonment, which is also known as desertion, a term with very unfavorable connotation.

Imprisonment and Divorce: Confinement in prison is fault grounds for divorce, but the particulars of the imprisonment can matter.

Alcoholism and Drugs in Divorce: Habitual drunkenness is a fault ground in some jurisdictions, and usually a defendant must be a habitual drunk for a period of one year.

Insanity and Divorce: Insanity is a fault ground for divorce. Most states with fault grounds consider incurable insanity to be adequate fault for a divorce.

Fault Grounds Reconsidered: All fault grounds are ways the legal system through its courts comes to terms with a failed marriage, and this means that the law must reach inside a very intimate human relationship.

Historic Defenses to Divorce: Under traditional fault grounds, one spouse could defeat the claims of fault by the other spouse by raising certain defenses.

No-fault Divorce: No-fault means that no one is alleging that anyone has done anything wrong in the marriage, but rather that the couple desire to terminate their marriage.
Related Articles:
You Don't Need a Prenup if...
The Art of the Prenup -- Use Sparingly
An Outline for Taking Charge of Your Divorce
The Adversary Legal System
You're Not Finished Yet: Fifteen Post-Divorce Tasks You Can't Blow Off
Many More Articles:
Premarital Agreements Articles
Court Procedure Articles
General Divorce Articles
Child & Spousal Support Articles
Custody & Visitation Articles
Child Support Articles
Related Divorce Laws:
Overview of State Divorce Laws (All 50 States)
Related Tutorials:
The Divorce Tutorial
More Tutorials:
Contemplating Divorce? 10 Things You Should Know Tutorial
The 10 Rules of Divorce Negotiation Tutorial
Children and Divorce Tutorial
The Divorce Story: Fair and Reasonable, A Divorce Journey
Starting Your Divorce:
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New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
West Virginia
Related Checklists:
Divorce Lawyer Pre-Screen Checklist
Pro Se Divorce Checklist
Before You Settle Your Divorce Checklist
The Trial/Hearing Checklist
Divorced Parents Checklist
After Divorced Checklist
Hiring a Divorce Lawyer Checklist
Related Community Forums:
Pro Se Divorce Issues
Life After Divorce Issues
General Divorce Issues
Related Products:
Divorce Professional Directory: Find Divorce Lawyers, Mediators, Counselors, and Financial Planners to help you through your divorce.

Premium Online Divorce: Do your own divorce with or without children. Easy, fast and affordable solution with court approval guarantee.

Premium Online Separation Agreement: Do your own separation agreement with or without children. Make sure you get everything in writing and this is an easy way to do it.

Related Downloads:
Interference as Grounds for Modification
How to Win Child Custody
The Father's Child Custody Handbook
The Mother's Child Custody Handbook
The Divorce Record Keeper
Basic Law for Construing Separation Agreements
Related Books:
ABC's of Divorce for Women
The Survival Manual for Men in Divorce
The Divorce Record Keeper
Child Custody Strategies for Men & Women
The Never Ending Divorce
Divorce and Money
Women and Their Children Who Have Survived Divorce
Research Center Categories:
After Divorce
Child Custody
Child Support
Divorce Process
Factors in Award
Post-decree Proceedings
Prenuptial Agreements
Pro Se Divorce
Spousal Support
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