Legal Milestones Leading Up To Divorce

During the separation period leading up to a divorce, several common legal actions may take place. These actions may vary greatly depending on the location and the couple's needs, but listed below are some typical legal considerations.

Legal Separation Agreement: Couples may decide to create a legal separation agreement during separation. This agreement outlines the terms and conditions of the separation and deals with the division of assets, child custody, support arrangements, spousal support (if applicable), and other matters. It's particularly helpful for couples that are not ready to divorce and choose not to divorce for religious or other reasons. It's a way to benefit from several divorce provisions while remaining married.

Filing for Divorce: One or both spouses may initiate the divorce process by filing a petition with the appropriate court. This legal action formally initiates the divorce proceedings and establishes the jurisdiction of the court over the case.

Temporary Orders: During the separation period, one or both spouses may request temporary orders from the court to address matters needing immediate resolution. Temporary orders may cover issues such as child custody and visitation, child support, spousal support, use of marital property, and payment of debts. These orders establish temporary guidelines until a final divorce settlement is reached. With temporary orders, the divorcing party is not forced to wait for the divorce to be final for guidance on important issues like child custody and support.

Child Custody and Support: Parents may seek legal action to determine custody rights, visitation schedules, decision-making authority, and child support payments. The court will always consider the best interests of the child when making custody and support determinations.

Property Division: The division of marital assets and debts is a significant aspect of the separation period. The court will consider factors such as the duration of the marriage, each spouse's contributions to the marriage, and the value of the assets and debts when making property division decisions.

Restraining Orders or Protective Orders: When it comes to restraining orders, it's not always about domestic violence, although they are useful for that situation. They can also be used to prevent a spouse from doing things like canceling the other spouse's health insurance suddenly, removing them from an auto insurance policy, selling marital property without an agreement, and more. 

The sooner you speak to a family law attorney, the better. Get some advice about how to proceed so that your moves are legal, fair, and best for you and your children. 

Contact a local family law attorney to learn more.