What to Expect When Divorce Papers Are Filed Against You

Marriage has always been a nearly universal institution around the world, designed by tradition to create a household of a man and woman who will raise children (and some nations today have also legalized same-sex marriage). This is still true today, though the rate of divorce, or the legal end of a marriage, is also higher today than ever. Many statistics are kept to track how often people around the world marry or divorce, and the numbers have pointed out some particular trends. When a spouse determines that they want to file divorce papers, they may turn to local law firms to hire divorce lawyers who can help them. These attorneys can legally represent and advocate their case, and these may be joined by child custody lawyers or child support lawyers too, if necessary. What should a spouse be prepared to do if they want a divorce? Or what if they have divorce papers filed against them?

Why Divorce Happens

Some data and statistics on divorce have made some trends clear. The top reason why Americans file for divorce is infidelity, when one spouse is unfaithful to the other for some reason and is caught. Both men and women cheat, though not always for similar reasons, and discovering a case of infidelity can be a real emotional blow to the other spouse. If marriage counseling cannot save their relationship, then divorce papers might well be next. In other cases, divorce happens because one spouse is abusive toward other household members in a violent, verbal, or sexual manner. In yet other cases, one of the spouses is abusing drugs or alcohol, and substance abuse can put a real strain on the household’s finances and cause radical personality changes.

Some divorces are not quite so dramatic, though. Some low-intensity divorces take place simply because the two spouses realize that they do not have enough personal compatibility after all, and they might have very different lifestyles or spending habits. Studies also suggest that two people who get engaged hastily are more likely to divorce than two people who dated for three or more years before their engagement.

Hiring Legal Help For Divorce

When one spouse is prepared to start the divorce process against the other, they may first turn to local divorce law firms and get consultations of the lawyers working there, which may or may not incur a fee in some cases. Once that spouse has legal representation, they may file their divorce papers, and the court will move the case forward. And of course, the other spouse is likely to look for and hire divorce lawyers of their own to represent and defend their interests during this proceeding. The two spouses may fight over assets in the marriage through their lawyers, such as bank accounts, a house or vacation house, cars or recreational vehicles, or even family jewelry or a privately owned business. And if one spouse has been abusive recently, the other spouse might have relocated to another, private residence and will interact with them only through lawyers. That relocated spouse might also have brought their children with them.

A divorce may be made more complex if there are children under 18 years old involved. In this case, the spouses may each hire child custody lawyers to battle over custody of the child(ren) in a family law court. No guarantees are being made here, but a spouse might be more likely to gain custody if they have a stable income and they have not demonstrated any abusive or otherwise undesirable behavior. And child support lawyers may be involved too, since the parent who does not get custody may be required to make payments for child support to the other spouse. Lawyers may negotiate the terms of that as well, and such laws vary from one American state to another.

Low-intensity divorces with fewer assets to fight over may involve mediators rather than lawyers. The two spouses will negotiate the terms of the divorce themselves, and the mediator is a neutral third party who will help each party come up with enough fair, productive, and clearly expressed ideas to keep the case moving forward. This is often cheaper and more private than a divorce court, too.

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