5 Facts About Divorce
If you’re considering divorce or already going through one, it’s important to know as much as possible about the process. The more you understand, the more prepared you’ll be.
To help, Business Insider compiled 5 facts about divorce. These include what it actually takes to get a divorce, how often couples argue about money, and more.
1. Marriage Licenses
A legally married couple can establish joint bank accounts, receive spousal support and child custody rights, qualify for property division in the event of divorce and enjoy family discounts on insurance such as health, homeowners’ and auto. In contrast, unmarried duos may not be eligible for these benefits.
If a couple wants to take that next step, they must present a valid marriage license. This can be done by a professional officiant such as a priest, pastor, rabbi or justice of the peace. In New York, the two parties must show a form of identification such as a passport, driver’s license or IDNYC card when applying for the license. This is to verify the identity of each party. Also, a previous marriage must be disclosed on the application.
2. Public Records
Unless a judge orders that they be sealed, divorce records become part of the public record. This includes everything from the court documents you draft and submit to the judge, the judge’s statements of facts, the judge’s conclusions of law (application of the law to the facts), and the final divorce decree itself.
Those documents can be filled with all sorts of damaging allegations, especially when accusations of adultery or financial misuse are involved. You don’t want your personal life to become a public scandal, so it’s important to take steps to keep your private information out of the court file.
It’s worth noting that you can only request that certain information be sealed, and the judge must determine whether that is appropriate in your case. If you want to seal court documents related to your divorce, it is often more effective to focus on specific aspects of the proceedings that you believe are particularly sensitive.
3. Court Records
Divorce records are legal documents that prove a marriage has ended. They include the divorce decree and any other paperwork created during the divorce process. These documents are normally kept confidential, but there are some elements that are public and can be viewed online.
Some people view these documents with feelings of shame or guilt. However, it is important to remember that these are not a reflection of the marriage or the people involved.
For example, if you have a criminal record, it will impact your case and may affect your custody and visitation rights. A judge will place great consideration on the overall mental, physical well-being of the children when making these decisions. This is why it’s important to keep your criminal history in check.
4. Court Orders
Court orders, which are legally binding, can affect many aspects of a divorce. Examples include restraining orders (to prevent violence), exclusive occupancy rights (to decide who will live in the house) and temporary support.
To request a court order, you need to file a motion with the judge. A motion is a document that explains what you want from the judge, briefly outlines the facts supporting your request and includes evidence (e.g. affidavits).
You will also need to serve the other party with the motion and the relevant papers. Most states have instructions for doing this, and some even have special “bailiffs” who are responsible for delivering these documents. If you are concerned about the way an order is written, you should have your lawyer review it before serving it.
5. Child Custody
Child custody is one of the most important issues in divorce. It affects the children and can be emotionally difficult for both parents. Parents can work together to come up with a parenting plan or get help from a family lawyer.
Typically, courts favor awarding custody to the parent who is the primary caretaker of a child. They also take into consideration whether that parent has a strong bond with the child. Historically, courts have used fault-based notions when making custody decisions but now they are more inclined to use the best interests of the child standard.
There are different types of custody: physical, legal and joint custody. Physical custody is when the children live with each parent. Joint custody is when both parents have a substantial amount of time with the child but do not share decision making authority.