Marriage is wonderful! Two people fall in love, start a family and design a life together, filled with adventure, memories and romance. However, sometimes things don’t go as planned. Suddenly, those who were once in love find a wonderful existence becoming a war – a battle of two hearts. Feelings are hurt, hearts are broken and pride is trampled on. The natural reaction is anger, self-defense and revenge – in other words, war.
This is why attorneys and judges exist! Imagine if two people in this mental state were left to their own machinations to find an amicable solution that addresses the myriad of circumstances. Would it be fair? Would the best needs of children be considered? Or would the strongest, most angry and influential, bully his or her way to a final resolution?
When two people think divorce, they think war. When a judge thinks divorce, he or she thinks peace. Like Danny DeVito in War of the Roses (a great movie, by the way), trying to save a marriage and bring peace back to the amorously fallen.
Therefore, to help you understand the process of a divorce, you must understand the process of PEACE – an acronym spelling out the steps which must be accomplished. Let’s look at each one.
A divorce does not stop one from being a parent. If children are involved, their needs need to be addressed. Failure to do so could have lifelong ramifications. So, who has more time with the children? When can the other parent see his or her children? What about holidays? With whom will the child(ren) spend Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, Easter, etc.? How often can a parent speak with the child(ren) without imposing on the other? These parenting issues must be managed.
How long two people were married will determine how many assets and liabilities were accumulated. Therefore, is it fair to divide assets and not liabilities, or vice versa? If one owned property before getting married, is it now marital property? If a hard asset, like a home, needs to be divided, but one prefers to keep the home because it’s the best environment for the children; how can this be handled fairly for the one moving out? All of this is taken care of through equitable distribution.
Alimony is not always needed. However, if it is, how much should be paid and for how long, and by whom?
As previously stated, a divorce doesn’t stop one from being a parent. A child still has needs: food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, education, and activities. Child support, as the name implies, is to support the child.
There will be other issues that need addressing. For instance, name changes for the wife or child, attorney’s fees, and other miscellaneous expenses. Therefore, how these are handled must be addressed as well, lest the two parties leave the court and start another war.
While some may debate this, no one wants to see a family end. There are always casualties on both sides of the spectrum. Often, divorcees regret their decisions, but it’s too late. So, before you start a war, think about how you may bring peace within the marriage and save it. Your children will love you for it, and you won’t have to endure the unpleasantness of having a judge decide your PEACE.