Understanding the Divorce Process as a Dad

Protecting fathers' rights during the divorce process

Meeting Your Legal Requirements for Ending Your Marriage

The end of a long-term relationship is never easy. When you got married, you probably thought the two of you would be together for the rest of your lives, and walking away from the life you've built together may seem difficult, if not impossible. However, divorce can ultimately be the best solution for everyone involved, allowing you to leave a relationship that is not working and make sure your kids can live in a conflict-free home. As you proceed with the divorce process, you'll need to deal with issues related to your kids and your ex, and you'll want to take steps to protect your rights and ensure that you can reach a positive outcome to your situation.

Steps to Follow During the Divorce Process

Since every marriage is unique, every divorce will be unique as well. However, there are certain procedures that are followed in every case. As you proceed with your divorce, you can take steps to protect yourself throughout each stage of the process, including:

  • Preparing for divorce - Before you officially begin the divorce process, and potentially even before you discuss the possibility of divorce with your spouse, you can prepare yourself by gathering financial information, establishing your independence, creating a budget, and getting ready to address some of the issues that will need to be settled as you end your marriage.
  • Filing for divorce - Either you or your spouse can file a petition for divorce, which will state the grounds for divorce and ask for certain matters to be decided during the divorce process.
  • Dividing your property and assets - You and your spouse will need to determine how to divide all of the property you own together, as well as any debts. Depending on the laws in your state, assets may be divided equally, or they may be allocated in a "fair and equitable" manner.
  • Spousal support and alimony - If one spouse earns a higher income than the other, support payments may be necessary to allow the lower-earning spouse to meet their ongoing needs. Eligibility for alimony will often be based on whether a person made sacrifices to their career during their marriage or contributed toward their spouse's career advancement.
  • Child-related issues - You'll need to determine how you and your ex will handle child custody and visitation after your divorce. You'll also need to determine whether one parent will pay child support to the other and how you will divide other child-related expenses.
  • Negotiation, mediation, or litigation - You may be able to work together with your spouse to negotiate a settlement that addresses all of the outstanding issues in your divorce. If an agreement can't be reached, you'll need to resolve the remaining issues through litigation in the courtroom.
  • Post-divorce modifications and enforcement - After your divorce is completed, either you or your ex may ask for changes to be made to your divorce decree, such as updated child custody arrangements or visitation schedules or modifications to child support or spousal support. In some cases, you may need to take steps to ensure that your ex follows the terms of your divorce, including asking that she be held in contempt of court for any violations of the court's orders.

Throughout the divorce process, the best way to protect your rights and ensure that you can reach a successful resolution is to work with an experienced divorce lawyer. Your attorney can help you file a divorce petition, gather the information you need about your family's finances, and advocate on your behalf when addressing matters related to your children and your property. With a skilled legal advocate on your side, you can make sure you have the tools for success as you move on to your post-divorce life.

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