The decision to end a marriage, whether mutually or not, is always hard. Besides, it is quite a complicated process that might affect one’s overall health. So if one is considering a divorce, it is crucial to be aware of all the aspects that come with it. Many things must be considered, from marital asset distribution to children’s custody and support. Here are four key elements anyone going through a divorce should keep in mind:
1. Marital Asset Distribution
When a couple gets divorced, one of the most important things to consider is how to distribute their assets. This can be a complex process, mainly if significant investments are involved. An experienced family lawyer can help couples reach an asset distribution agreement. Often, couples will need to divide their assets equally between them.
However, in some cases, one spouse may be entitled to a more significant share of the assets. This is usually the case if one spouse has contributed more to the marriage or if children are involved. Whatever the situation, it is essential to get professional advice to ensure that asset distribution is fair and equitable.
2. Child Custody and Support
When couples with children divorce, the issue of child custody and support must be addressed. Sometimes, the parents can agree on a parenting plan that works for their family. However, when the parents cannot approve, the court will step in and decide based on the child’s best interests. In general, the court will prefer to grant joint legal custody, which allows both parents to have a say in significant decisions about the child’s life.
However, the court may award sole legal custody to one parent if it determines that would be the best decision for the child’s future. The court will also consider which parent should have primary physical possession of the child and how much visitation time the other parent should have. Once custody has been decided, the court will also order one or both parents to pay child support.
Child support is intended to help cover the costs of raising a child, such as food, clothing, shelter, and health care. The amount of child support ordered will depend on several factors, including each parent’s income and the child’s needs. Considering these factors, the court can help ensure that children are provided for after their parents’ divorce.
3. Spousal Support
Alimony, also called spousal support or maintenance, is a rightful obligation to provide financial aid to a spouse after divorce. The purpose of alimony is to help the economically disadvantaged spouses support the living they enjoyed during the marriage. When contemplating divorce, alimony should be top of mind for both parties.
A divorcing couple can reach their alimony agreement or choose to have a judge decide for them. Factors that may be considered when making an alimony determination include but are not limited to: the length of the marriage, each party’s respective earnings and earning capacity, each party’s age and health, the cost of maintaining each party’s lifestyle, the ability of each party to pay alimony, tax implications, and any other factor deemed relevant by the court.
A court will typically order one spouse to pay alimony to the other for a set period or until that spouse can become self-supporting. It’s essential to consult with an experienced family law attorney if you think you may be entitled to receive or obligated to pay alimony in your divorce so that you can protect your rights and understand your options.
4. Retirement Accounts
Retirement accounts are often one of a couple’s most significant assets, so it’s essential to consider them during a divorce. First, one must find out what kind of retirement account it is. If it’s a 401(k), one must divide it with a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).
A spouse can take money from the account with a QDRO without paying taxes or penalties. If it’s an IRA, a spouse can withdraw money without paying taxes or penalties if they roll it over into another IRA within 60 days. A couple also needs to consider how they will divide the account. They can either divide it equally or keep the account and give an ex-spouse other assets equal to their share.
Finally, one must decide what to do with the account after the divorce. They can keep it, cash it out, or transfer it to their ex-spouse. Each option has pros and cons, so you must carefully consider what’s best for your situation.
Many essential aspects to consider when taking a divorce include child support, spousal support, taxes, and retirement accounts. It’s necessary to consult with an experienced family law attorney to understand rights and options. With careful planning, a couple can minimize the financial burden of the divorce and ensure that they are in the best possible position moving forward.