Divorce is a legal procedure in which one of the spouses or both of them agree to separate legally from each other. Divorce can be done voluntarily by one of the spouses or it can be forced on the couple by the court after a detailed investigation. Divorce usually involves the reorganizing or cancelling of the financial obligations and duties of marriage, thereby dissolving the marital ties under the rules of the state or country.
The basic divorce procedures are relatively the same in almost all states. A divorce lawyer may assist in preparing your divorce paperwork and negotiating the terms of alimony and spousal support with your spouse. He will also represent you in court if the court decides to appoint an attorney for you. Alimony and spousal support issues that will be reviewed by the court and will be determined according to the guidelines provided by the state law. In some states, the term spousal support is used to refer to maintenance payments given to the former wife or husband under prenuptial agreement.
Under the laws prevailing in most states, divorce involves separate support for the dependent spouse by the husband or wife. The divorce judgment will mention whether the supported spouse has to pay child support or alimony, depending on the nature of the divorce case and the welfare of each of the parties. The divorce judgment may also include provisions for support for dependents such as spouses or children of the supported spouse who are not financially supporting him or her. For instance, if the awarded custodial parent does not have sufficient income to support his/her child, the court may order support to be paid.
Divorce can also take the form of a legal reason for the termination of marriage. A court judgment may declare that the marriage is irreparably broken. In this case, a divorce decree may be issued by the court to effect the dissolution. A legal reason can be based on fraud or desertion, unreasonable behavior on the part of one spouse or irreconcilable differences. This is called a cause of divorce.
An exception to the requirement for court proceedings arises when the spouses have agreed upon terms regarding child custody, spousal support or other matters affecting the divorce. If these matters are agreed upon and if the spouses proceed with the divorce as soon as possible, they can enter into a prenuptial agreement or marital settlement agreement. Once these agreements are settled, the spouses may file divorce papers with the clerk of court in their county. A petition for a divorce is filed by either the filing spouse or by any other spouse, who may be a cohabitant. The petition must contain the facts pertaining to the complaints leveled against one spouse. The petition must also include an address and service provider for mailing notices of the divorce to the respondent spouse.
Divorce is not a simple legal process and there are a number of steps involved. There are even further administrative steps to follow after the divorce such as filing of divorce papers with the clerk of court in the county where the divorce was granted. A certificate of divorce will be issued by the court and an order of the courts will be published detailing all pertinent information regarding the divorce. It is important for both spouses to understand the nature of divorce, how it affects them (including child custody and visitation) and what steps they must take to end their marriage.