What Are My Available Divorce Options?

Consideration was given for the editing and publication of this post.

Few things in life are as unpleasant and stressful as divorce. Most couples enter into a marriage with the hope of spending the rest of their lives together; for this reason, divorce can feel like the ultimate failure. When either or both spouses decide to end the marriage, it is often after years of unresolved conflicts, financial difficulties, and even severe emotional trauma. The stakes are often higher when children are involved.

Whether your divorce is destined to be straightforward and amicable, or complicated and contentious, it is in your best interest to seek the representation of an experienced divorce lawyer. Do not be misled into thinking that you will save time and money with a do-it-yourself divorce. This almost never happens.

In fact, those who attempt to divorce without legal counsel often end up spending significantly more money. If the slightest issue arises, a disagreement can quickly escalate into costly conflict. This is true of even the most amicable splits. So, do yourself a favor and seek legal counsel if you are considering divorce.

Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce

If your divorce is fairly straightforward and you are on good terms with your soon-to-be ex, you will most likely proceed with an uncontested divorce. When both parties are in agreement with major issues, such as child custody and support and the split of assets and debts, an uncontested divorce is usually the quickest, smoothest, and most cost effective way to dissolve the marriage. It should be noted, however, that it is not uncommon for uncontested divorces to become contested somewhere along the way. This is yet another reason it is so important to have an experienced divorce attorney by your side.

Some divorces are a bit more complicated, and some are downright messy. When there are disagreements about any major issues—or serious concern that disagreements will arise—your lawyer will likely proceed with a contested divorce. One spouse is served with a divorce petition and has 30 days within which to respond. Following this response, the case moves into the discovery phase, during which information about income, assets, and debts is collected, and depositions may be made.

Decisions, Decisions

Whether your divorce is uncontested or contested, you will have to make some important decisions about joint property, assets and debts, and any marital children. Some of the most common considerations in any divorce include:

Splitting Assets and Debts

Division of assets and debts is necessary if you own a home together and have any other assets or debts, including retirement accounts, bank accounts, or vehicles. This can be one of the most stressful and contentious parts of any divorce, especially if assets/debts are significant. Calculating a fair and equitable split is rarely easy. This part of the process can become even more challenging, and emotional, when the family home is on the line and neither spouse wants to vacate/relocate.

Negotiating Child Custody and Child Support

Custody is more than just physical; it is a legal term encompassing everything from where the children live and how much time each parents gets to spend with them, to who makes decisions about their education, health care, and finances. Protecting your rights as a parent, and ensuring that the outcome is in the best interest of your children, is likely the most important aspect of your divorce. Furthermore, agreeing on a fair child support arrangement is integral to the ability of both parents to provide a safe and secure environment in which the children can thrive. Support payments are calculated based on a variety of factors, such as who has the greater share of physical custody, and each parent’s income.

Spousal Support

Depending on multiple factors, one spouse may have to pay support to the other spouse, but not all divorces involve spousal support, also known as alimony. To determine if alimony is necessary, and how much should be paid, the court will consider each spouse’s income and earning capacity, the length of the marriage, each spouse’s age, each spouse’s role in the relationship, and how those roles impacted their ability to earn income.

What About Mediation?

In both uncontested and contested divorces, a lawyer represents one party to the divorce, looking out for their best interests. In mediation, the mediator doesn’t represent either party. Instead of giving confidential advice to one spouse, a mediator is neutral, helping both parties reach an agreement. Mediation is often recommended during a contested divorce when conflict arises. In an uncontested divorce, mediation is rarely necessary; it’s often quicker and cheaper to hire an attorney.

Seek Legal Counsel

When emotions are high, it can be extremely difficult to sift through the finer details, such as tax implications of certain actions. But these considerations can have a major impact on the outcome of your divorce. An experienced divorce lawyer, such as the team at New Mexico Legal Group, can help you protect your legal rights and ensure that every decision is made with your best interests in mind. With legal counsel firmly by your side, you can also prevent minor issues from escalating into major conflicts, protect the rights and well-being of any children, and save yourself significant costs and stress in the long run.

January 12, 2021 · Tim Kevan · Comments Closed
Posted in: Uncategorized