If you are about to begin the divorce process, it’s important that you become familiar with the most common divorce terms. The divorce process can be overwhelming in even the best situations, so it’s important that you do what you can to prepare yourself. Doing your homework ahead of time can make it easier to negotiate the terms of your divorce, whether you choose mediation or litigation. It can also help you save time and speed the divorce process along.

To make sure you’re prepared, learn a little bit about some of the most common divorce terms.

Alimony: Also called spousal support, alimony is the payment one spouse makes to another during or after the divorce. This payment is often used to support the spouse with less earning power, especially if the receiving spouse is unable to work because he or she takes care of their child. Alimony is not always awarded in a divorce, but it can be in certain circumstances. It may be temporary or long-term, depending on the duration of the marriage and the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, among other things.

Child Custody: For parents seeking a divorce, they will likely need to negotiate a new child custody plan. Child custody can be divided by physical authority, (who the child lives with), and legal authority, (who makes decisions for the child). Custody can be joint or shared, or sole custody might be awarded to one spouse over the other. In cases where sole custody is awarded, the other spouse is usually granted visitation rights for scheduled time with their child.

Child Support: When parents share a child, one parent might have to pay child support payments to the other in order to make financial responsibility equal. Courts understand that both parents are responsible for the health and well being of their child, and if one parent takes more responsibility for the child, the other parent is often asked to pay child support payments. These payments can be used to pay for the child’s living expenses, food, school necessities, transportation, and other necessities.

Financial Affidavit: The financial affidavit is a formal document required at the beginning of a divorce, usually in litigation. This form usually includes a detailed list of each spouse’s properties, accounts, income, debts, and other financial particulars. The form is later signed, usually in court while under oath, and is used as a document to determine alimony, property division, child support, and other key components of divorce. Lying on a financial affidavit is illegal and can result in serious repercussions.

Litigation: Divorce can be handled either by the court or independently. If spouses are unable to negotiate their divorce terms on their own, they will have to seek court help. This method, a more traditional idea of divorce, includes each spouse attending court, where each side presents their wishes to a judge. The judge will then make all decisions regarding the divorce, including property division, alimony, child support, and child custody.

Mediation: If a divorcing couple wishes to avoid court, they may choose to work through their divorce on their own with the help of a third-party mediator. Through mediation, couples can negotiate certain terms of their divorce, but still gain the legal guidance and counsel of a mediator. During mediation, couples may still choose to work with their own attorneys in order to better protect their interests.

Contact Smith Law Offices, LLC to discuss your case with our skilled divorce attorneys.

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