Although divorce is very common, few people understand the details of the process until they have to go through it. This can make divorce seem more challenging and unapproachable for those who are just beginning to explore the process.
Every divorce is slightly different, and there are some main considerations that most divorcees must discuss at some point. Understanding these considerations can prepare you for the negotiation process when it begins.
One of the biggest negotiations that happens in any divorce is asset division. You and your spouse will need to divide all the assets that you have acquired during your marriage. This includes:
- Stocks and bonds
- Houses and land
- Savings accounts
- Retirement accounts
Each person should get an equal amount of property, even if each item is not split evenly. In some instances, items or property must be sold and the profits divided.
Nebraska is not a community property state, meaning that inheritances and personal property from before the marriage do not need to be evenly divided. However, any assets that the couple acquires in the marriage as shared property need to be split in half.
Another major aspect of divorce is child custody negotiations. If you have children, the court will need to decide who has ongoing guardianship over them. The court only considers what is best for the child or children at hand; they do not take parental opinion into account.
There are several structures for child custody, including:
- Shared custody, where both parents have equal guardianship time over the child or children.
- Primary custody, where one parent has guardianship for most of the time and the other parent gets guardianship less frequently. For example, Parent A gets the children during the week and Parent B gets them over the weekends.
- Visitation, where one parent has guardianship all the time, but the other parent has the legal right to see their child or children for a certain number of hours per month.
- Sole or full custody, where one parent has guardianship all the time and the other parent does not have the legal right to see their children.
The court generally aims for shared custody as it allows both parents to be involved in the children’s lives. It also gives the children a situation that is as similar as possible to the pre-divorce arrangement. However, the court will consider each parent’s health, income, living situation, history, and relationship to drugs and alcohol before deciding what is best for the children in an individual scenario.
It is important to note that there are two types of custody: physical and legal. Physical custody encompasses guardianship and time spent providing basic needs for the children. Legal custody deals with decisions about the child’s healthcare, lifestyle, etc. Some divorced parents have both physical and legal custody, while others have one or the other. It is possible to have some physical custody without legal custody, but it is rare to have legal custody without having some involvement in the child’s physical guardianship.
The law requires that both parents spend an equal percentage of their time and income on raising their children. If one parent spends less time with the child, they can make the situation equitable by paying child support. However, this is not the only scenario in which child support might be required. If one parent makes vastly more income than the other, they may need to pay child support even if they have equal shared custody. This is because the percentage of the income spent on the children must be equal. Otherwise, a parent making $30,000 per year will have a harder time paying for childcare expenses than a parent making $100,000 per year.
A common family setup includes one parent working outside of the home to earn an income while the other remains at home to care for the children, the house, and the errands. In these situations, the stay-at-home parent may have a difficult time supporting themselves after divorce. Many of these individuals have been out of work for a significant amount of time and do not have the skills or resume to reenter the workforce. Spousal support ensures that the lower-earning spouse has the resources to build a new life. Since they counted on their spouse’s income when they made decisions about their life, it is appropriate to offer ongoing support.
Spousal support payments may be temporary or ongoing. The length of your marriage may also determine whether spousal support is necessary. If you were married for less than 10 years, you may not be entitled to spousal support even if you fit into the above criteria.
All the above agreements are legally binding. If you make any changes to these agreements without court approval, the new agreements are not legally enforceable, and you may be penalized for breaking the former agreements.
However, modifications allow you to update your agreements through the court. A judge will review your case and the proposed alterations and allow for a modification if it is appropriate. You do not need court involvement if your agreement has a predetermined expiration date and that date has passed.
Contact Stange Law Firm, PC
When you go through a divorce, it is important to have an attorney on your side. Legal representation allows you to fight for the things that are important to you, whether that is a family home, child custody rights, or a combination of them. Your lawyer will help to accurately portray your situation to the court and ensure that they have the correct information about you before making any decisions. If your ex-spouse’s attorney attempts to make you look bad, your own attorney can refute the claims and avoid any unnecessary fallout from such an accusation. Divorce is complicated, and it is always best to be fully prepared.
Our team at Stange Law Firm offers high-quality divorce services in Lincoln, NE. For more information, contact Stange Law Firm, PC, online today.