Differences in State Divorce Laws

Divorce is a complicated legal matter that, obviously, occurs at a time when two individuals need little more complication in their lives. The specifics vary by jurisdiction and can change over time, as well, meaning that even individuals who believe they know about divorce proceedings through their own or their friends experience may not be ready for court. It is for these reasons that many choose to consult a divorce attorney.

One marked difference in divorce law among states is whether or not one of the spouses can be proclaimed “at fault” for the falling out. For instance, some jurisdictions may grant leverage to a husband if it is proved that the wife was having an affair with another man. This can be a crucial argument in property division.

However, there are other regions where no fault divorce is awarded to either party. Attorneys experienced in dealing with divorce cases in these jurisdictions may nevertheless recognize that preference may still be awarded based on the individual behavior of the parties. In other words, in cases where divorce courts cannot outright use infidelity to find in favor of one party, an event such as an affair may still be used to influence final determinations. It all depends on the local jurisdiction and the local divorce courts, which a professional divorce attorney could help you navigate.

In cases involving children, in fact, the government often prefers if the parents settle their disputes in this manner as soon as possible, so that the specifics do not spill over into actual court proceedings. For one, carrying on court procedures costs a lot of taxpayer dollars, and the government may want to maximize its efficiency by moving through as many cases as possible. Children are also a very sensitive subject matter, with a judge perhaps not wanting to take the life and future of a young person into his or her hands by having to make decisions for the parents. Only so much of a family situation can be told in divorce court, and the parents themselves will likely best know the effect of their divorce on their children.

All states now require parents who are separating or filing for divorce to submit a parenting plan outlining responsibilities. This plan includes everything from physical custody of the children to legal custody (in terms of who will make decisions for the minors) to medical insurance and related expenses. Again, even though the parents may be very vulnerable and unwilling to cooperate with each other in the moments following a separation, it is these individuals who likely best know how to organize their children’s lives.

Yet how many individuals going through a divorce are truly equipped to provide the type of detail mandated by courts seeking parenting plans? A divorce attorney could help guide the process, as well as offer advice and support that will benefit both you and your children.