Laws and policies surrounding divorce may vary from state to state. Married couples do not have the constitutional right to divorce, but states permit divorces to serve the best interests of the people. When a couple files for divorce, there are certain obligations that may need to be met before the proceedings can begin. These obligations may also vary and are being updated in many states, but one common obligation is that a couple separate for an amount of time specified as a cooling off period before proceedings begin.
In many states, one partner of a marriage may file for divorce and detail the reason that the other partner is held at fault for breaking the marriage vows. Reasons may include adultery, domestic abuse, drug abuse, abandonment, and criminal charges. If a partner successfully defends against the allegations, the court may rule that there is still a chance for reconciliation, and may not grant the divorce.
No Fault Divorce
Many states have adopted a no-fault divorce policy that allows couples to divorce without proving that one partner is at fault for marital problems. In a no-fault divorce, the couple must show that: the relationship is no longer workable, there are irreconcilable differences that are have caused a collapse of the marriage, there is a conflict of personalities making resolution impossible, and the marriage is irreversibly broken. If the marriage can be proven to fit these guidelines, the divorce proceedings will ensue in much the same manner as other types of divorce.
Dissolution of Marriage
In dissolution of marriage, partners can agree to certain terms and avoid some of the more difficult aspects of divorce. Prior to filing, the couple must document all of the necessary terms regarding future support, division of assets, and any other relevant topics. The dissolution terms will then be reviewed by the court and the divorce will typically be granted.
Types of Divorce
There are two main types of divorce, absolute divorce and limited divorce. In an absolute divorce, which is more common, the relationship is completely dissolved and partners go back to a single status. Limited divorces may also be called separation decrees, and occur when the court does not agree to officially dissolve the marriage. This may happen in the case of an “at fault” divorce in which the partner accused of wrongdoing has successfully defended against the allegations. In this scenario, the couple remains married in the eyes of the law, but can remain separated. This is rare, especially since the adoption of no-fault divorce in many states.
Some states allow conversion divorce. Conversion divorce occurs when a couple has been legally separated for a period of time, and the legal separation is converted into a legal divorce. Conversion separation may eliminate some of the complexities of formal divorce proceedings.
Division of Assets
The division of assets and property is often the most complicated part of divorce proceedings. When determining the fairest division of assets, courts take into consideration whether the property was purchased by one partner prior to the marriage or was purchased during the marriage. Separate property is typically granted to the original party, even if the property has been exchanged or sold. Marital property is usually divided between partners taking into consideration many different factors which may help to reap the fairest solutions.
Factors which may be considered when dividing assets following a divorce include:
- Earning capacity of both spouses
- Employability of unemployed partners
- Age and health of each spouse
- The value of separate property
- Pension and retirement of each spouse
- Child support and custody rights
- Taxation of the assets granted
Orlando Prenuptial Agreements
Prenuptial agreements are contacts that are signed by both partners prior to the marriage agreeing on the division of assets and future support in the event of a divorce. Prenuptial agreements may prevent some of the property disputes that arise in divorce proceedings. However, prenuptial agreements may not always be enforced depending on the reasons for the divorce and what is detailed within the agreement. Child support and custody agreements detailed in prenuptial agreements are generally not recognized.
“Divorce.” LII / Legal Information Institute. Cornell University Law School, n.d. Web. 9 June 2014. <http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/divorce>
“State Divorce Laws.” Divorce Support. DivorceSupport.com, 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 9 June 2014. <http://www.divorcesupport.com/divorce/State-Divorce-Laws-403.html>