A divorce is an emotional time when two sides of a relationship make the decision to no longer be a legally bound couple. The benefits of marriage such as tax deductions and property ownership will cease to exist once the marriage is legally dissolved. For most people, divorce is something new that can seem intimidating. When you know the basic laws of divorce, it can help you to relax and make the best decisions for your situation.
In every state, a divorcing couple is given the opportunity to negotiate the terms of their divorce through their respective attorneys. Most courts will insist that each party has a qualified attorney to make sure that one side does not have an advantage over the other. Most states allow everything from marital debt to child custody to be negotiated outside of court, but if negotiations do not work then the process will be put in front of a family court judge.
If a couple cannot successfully negotiate a separation agreement that would be transitioned into the divorce decree, then the process would move to family court. In most states, there is one judge that would oversee the divorce process and, if necessary, make all of the decisions regarding child custody and the final divorce decree.
Each judge will use their own interpretation of the state's divorce laws and their personal judgement to come up with decisions regarding a divorce. But before any of that happens, most judges will send both parties back to try and negotiate a separation agreement they can agree on.
Attorneys who have argued many divorce cases in front of the same family court lawyers develop a comprehensive understanding of how those judges will rule in each situation. This kind of experience can be invaluable to a person who feels that their spouse is being unreasonable in negotiations. An experienced attorney will use their past case history to make recommendations that will get their client the type of divorce decree they want.
There are plenty of myths floating around about divorce proceedings and one of those myths is that the child custody part of a divorce must be settled before the rest of the divorce can be determined. The truth is that the custody part of a divorce can be determined at the same time as the rest of the case, or the divorce can be determined first. But it is important to remember that the family court system will always act in the best interests of the children, which means that there will always be some sort of temporary arrangement in place before the final decree is decided.
A divorce case is just as much a negotiation as any other legal proceeding. While it is a highly emotional time for both parties, it is also a time for both sides to put their emotions aside and negotiate a settlement that the courts will agree with. If there can be no agreement, then both parties will be at the mercy of whatever decision the family court judge will make.