In America, approximately 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. When attempts to repair a marriage fail, it may inevitably be time for a couple to move on. Even though the thought of divorce may be daunting for all parties involved, especially if there are children, it is important to know what to expect when each side takes the next step towards moving on with their lives.
There are many issues that need to be addressed during the process of a divorce, including property division, spousal support - also known as alimony - and child custody and child support.
Some states take into consideration the contributions of each spouse during the course of the marriage and split the property in an equitable division. Many other states, however, including California, follow what's called the community property rule. This means that marital assets earned during the course of the marriage are divided 50-50 among both parties.
Courts also look at the financial status of each spouse to determine whether either spouse is entitled to spousal support or alimony. Alimony is often awarded to a spouse who gave up his or her career to take care of the children or home. It is used to help the spouse re-establish a career and maintain a previous standard of living experienced during the course of the marriage.
When there are children from the marriage involved in the divorce, child custody, support and visitations also come into play. The primary concern and motivating factor for courts when it comes to child custody, support and visitation is the best interest of the child. If one parent is considered unfit or not responsible enough for proper parenting, sole custody may be awarded to the other parent. Otherwise, joint custody is awarded. If neither parent is fit to care for the child or children, custody may be awarded to the grandparents, relatives or members close to the family, although those instances are rare.
Source: FindLaw, "What is divorce good for?", accessed March 24, 2015