Going through an ugly divorce is never easy for all parties involved. Spouses and their children are in for a really tough and stressful series of events which involves division of assets, new living arrangements and custody issues. Suffice to say, the real victim in all these nonsense are not the spouses, but the children who have to bear the brunt of their parents’ inability to co-exist.
It is vital to know and understand all the legal issues that will come out of this divorce especially when it comes to the children’s welfare.
Divorce is basically the termination, cancellation, or dissolution of marriage under the rule of law for a particular country or state. Laws vary depending on the country but in most cases, requires court sanction through a legal process.
Not to be confused with annulment which declares the union null and void, divorce could be a result of several factors such as personality clashes and sexual incompatibility to name a few. Because of the complicated nature of divorce, several other legal issues may soon follow especially if the spouses have children. Legal issues such as child support, child custody, alimony or spousal support, and visitation rights may soon follow or while the divorce proceedings are in progress.
When husband and wife separates, the first logical question to ask is who will the children live with and this is where the legal term child custody comes in. It is basically defined as the legal and practical relationship between a child and his parents. The point of contention revolves around residence and contact which is typical in divorce proceedings.
There are several forms of child custody recognized by the law and below are some of them:
- Joint custody – arrangement where both parents have legal and physical custody of their child or children
- Sole custody – arrangement where only one parent has legal and physical custody of the child or children
- Split custody – arrangement where both parents have full custody of some of their children
- Shared custody – arrangement where children live with a parent for a certain period of time and then do the same for the other parent.
- Bird’s nest custody – arrangement where parents alternately go back and forth from the child’s residence instead of the children having to do the movement
- Third-party custody – arrangement where children live with someone other than their biological parents who also hold legal custody over them
- Alternating custody – similar to shared custody with the only difference being that the parent where the child currently lives gets sole custody over them (for the time they are with them). This arrangement is also called divided custody.
The next question after custody is who will provide for the children after the divorce has been finalized. After all, it is a parent’s duty to support his or her children, biological or adoptive, married or not, especially now that the they are living separate lives.
Child support usually last until the child turns 18 but may get extended if the child still lives with the parent and dependent on them. It may also get extended if the child is still studying. Child support may even be ordered to be paid throughout the child’s lifetime if he or she is severely disabled.
Failure to pay child support can get a parent into serious legal trouble from asset seizure to jail time.
Also called alimony or maintenance, is a form of financial support paid to a former spouse to help pay off living expenses through a court order. A spouse (or former spouse for this matter) may apply for spousal support under the following conditions:
- was legally married
- lived together in a relationship that resembled marriage for at least two years
- lived together in a relationship that resembled marriage for less than two years but have a child or children together
Spousal support is paid to help a spouse who may face financial difficulties because of separation. It is the law’s assurance that neither spouse would not face hardships as a result of their breakup.
The amount to be paid depends on several conditions which include the length of time the spouses lived together, if the spouse worked while in the relationship, if the spouse is capable of supporting his or herself, if the spouse being asked to pay is capable of paying to name a few.
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