Archive for October, 2016

How Family Courts Determine The Amount Of Child Support?

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

Each state has its own “formula” for calculating child support, and court judges will use this formula when determining how much child support will be paid. However, parents can still estimate fairly well what the child support amount might be even before the decision is made. Parents can have an idea by using websites that provide free calculators, however, calculations may vary from state to state. One example is alllaw(dot)com.

One component of deciding the child support amount is the income of both parents. Not all states consider both parents, as they only look at the income for the parent who was not granted custody. Also added to this equation is how much time the parents spend with the child, or children, as it is indicative of the type of relationship they have.

In general, these are the common factors most states will consider:

  • If either parent was in a previous marriage, how much child support/alimony are they already receiving?
  • Is either parent currently paying child support or alimony from a previous marriage?
  • Does either parent have primary custody of a child from a previous marriage?
  • Does either parent primarily pay for things like day care or the children’s health insurance? How much are they paying?
  • How old is the child, or children, involved?
  • Does either spouse now reside with a new partner with whom they share the living expenses?

During the process of divorce, most courts believe that figuring out the child support payments are more important than the alimony payments, and will usually decide on child support before moving on to spousal support.

Once again, a huge deciding factor will be income, and not all states consider income the same way. For instance, not all states consider bonuses and overtime as part of income, while others most certainly do. Ask your child attorney about how your state defines income.

How Long Do You Have To Pay Spousal Support?

Saturday, October 22nd, 2016

Spousal support is common in many divorce cases and usually involves one spouse paying the other on a routine basis. For instance, there are many situations where one spouse is not working, and because he or she has been out of work for a period of time, the working spouse has to provide support.

Every state has different rules regarding the duration of spousal support, but in truth, there is no clear-cut way to go about determining how long spousal support lasts.

Spousal support, also called as alimony, is ordered by the court and is meant to be rehabilitative, in the sense that is will be in place as long as necessary for the receiving party until he or she becomes self-sufficient and self-supportive. It is not uncommon for the court to also set an exact time for when the spousal support expires or when payments are no longer necessary. If this does not happen, then payment must be continuously made until the court makes an order otherwise, or the paying spouse makes a motion to stop the payments.

Another possible element that could change the duration of spousal support is the personal life of either spouse. If the receiving spouse re-marry or has a live-in partner, the payments will most likely end. This could be true even if the amount paid up to that point is not enough to qualify as “rehabilitated.”

It is only on rare occasions that spousal support would be permanent, and that is only under a small umbrella of circumstances. The most common one is if the spouse that receives the support has health problems that would require them to have most, if not all of their costs covered.

When Is Divorce Mediation Considered An Option?

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

An alternative to taking your divorce to trial is divorce mediation, which is where you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse will decide how the marital assets are divided and other aspects of dissolving the marriage that a judge would usually preside over. In doing so, you save a ton of money, you can control the outcome, and if there are kids involved, you have more say in their fate.

When you litigate your divorce, you are going to spend a lot of money, no question about it. The combined attorney’s fees alone will be upwards of $25,000 because you’re paying for things like discovery, delays, trials and numerous over-the-phone conversations between lawyers. However, if you mediate, the total fees, which include the review by the consulting attorney, as well as paperwork perpetration could be $5,000 max.

One thing I like about mediation is that it allows the parents to remain in a desired amount of control when it comes to the outcome. Because it is you and your spouse that are presiding over everything, there isn’t a feeling of helplessness that can come with having a judge making every final decision.

Which leads into a subject that strikes a chord with every caring parent, and that is that with mediation, you and your spouse can determine, together, what is in the best interests of your kids. If the case goes to court, and custody is contested, the court will probably appoint a lawyer for your children, who almost never listen to either parent and like to propose invasive psychological evaluations of everyone in the family. Not only is it a scarring and troubling experience, but it also polarizes the family at the worst possible time.

Mediation is only a possibility if the spouses can communicate in an efficient way, and aren’t out to get the other one.

What Are The Grounds for Fault Divorce?

Friday, October 7th, 2016

A “fault divorce” is not very common, and most states don’t even recognize them. In the states that do recognize this type of divorce, it is defined as a spouses requesting a divorce be granted on the grounds of some fault on their soon-to-be ex-spouse.

The most common grounds for being granted a fault divorce are adultery; one spouse abandoning the other for a particular length of time; a spouse is physically unable to have sex; one spouse serves a prison sentence; or when a spouse inflicts “emotional or physical pain”, which is referred to as cruelty.

The reason that these are the grounds for a fault divorce is that in each scenario, it should be very easy to show who is at fault. With the ability to more acutely display causation of one of the grounds (for instance, stating which spouse was in prison or was cruel), the courts can address the divorce in a particular manner necessary for that specific divorce.

With a fault divorce, the dynamic of the litigation process shifts based on what must be discovered, and how each spouse will be represented. It also can shorten the duration of a divorce, because with each of the grounds comes an understanding of why the spouses are separating, and what needs to happen from here on. If you want to get a divorce under one of these grounds and do fit one of the listed grounds, then it can be a very good step to take.

Currently, there is no state that requires the spouses seeking a fault divorce to live separately for a specific period, unlike in a no-fault divorce. Proving fault also affords the spouse without fault a larger piece of the marital estate and/or spousal support. These two features make a fault divorce much more appealing to some, but again, with the number of states that do recognize them being so small, fault divorces are rare.