Monthly Archives: July 2014

Dealing With Divorce: Annulment and Divorce

While divorce effectively ends a marriage, the legal process of annulment declares a marriage null and void. In other words, it treats the marriage as if it didn’t exist.


Annulment and divorce

Annulment is different from divorce in many respects. It acts retroactively, making the marriage invalid from the beginning, and effectually voiding the marriage from existence. While most jurisdictions grant annulments that ‘wipe’ marriages completely from either spouses’ legal record, some only make the marriage void from the date of the annulment itself.

Many reasons exist for people to choose an annulment over a divorce. For some people, annulments have a better ‘reputation’ than a divorce, so the annulment process makes them feel more comfortable about legally ending their marriage. Some parties, however, choose annulment for religion reasons. Thanks to that, two different types of annulments exist.


Civil annulments

A civil annulment is usually granted under a state government by a judge. Annulments, including civil annulments must be filed within two years of the marriage date. And, although a civil annulment seems simpler than a divorce, they’re often marred in restrictions that make them trickier than a divorce in some respects.

Civil annulments are usually granted on the basis of several factors. The grounds for a civil annulment varies from state to state, though most states list the following reasons for receiving an annulment. Here are a few examples of those specific reasons:


  1. Fraud or misrepresentation by a spouse.
  2. No consummation of the marriage.
  3. One spouse forcing the other into the marriage.
  4. Bigamy, or if one spouse is still married at the time of marriage to another.
  5. Marriages under illegal grounds, such as those involving underage parties or incest.
  6. Marriage under an unsound mind, usually through consuming drugs and/or alcohol at the time of the wedding.

Most annulments are known to take place after short marriages, usually those lasting a few weeks to a few months. That usually leaves all of the usual legalities, such as property division and child custody, out of the picture.


Religious annulments

Religious annulments are carried out within the Roman Catholic Church and other religious establishments. Couples can typically obtain a religious annulment after they receive a civil divorce.

This allows one or both parties to remarry within the church, and have that second union recognized under the church. Because marriages aren’t legally impacted by a religious annulment, both parties must divorce before starting the process to receive one.

People who wish to remarry under a religious institution seek a religious annulment. They do need to request their ex-spouse to formally respond and agree to the annulment before proceeding. They don’t have to agree to the annulment or their participation in the process. Once both parties agree, they need to provide copies of specific documents, including baptismal certificates, their civil marriage license, their church marriage certificate and their certified divorce decree.

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Dealing With Divorce: Tips To Remember Before Filing

If you’re planning to file for divorce, you’re not alone. Divorce, as the legal end of a marriage, is something both parties should be involved with from the start. So, while you’re not alone in filing for a divorce, you should ‘buck the trend’ and start talking to your estranged partner to come to an amicable agreement.

That’s one of many tips people need before filing for a divorce. Divorce can turn into a fairly lengthy legal process, after all. If you don’t understand how to handle divorce before it gets started, you’ll probably end up in hotter water than you expected. That said, here are a few tips to aid those thinking about entering the divorce process.


Tips to remember before filing

Plan well before you file. Before filing the divorce, it’s important to plan for it (and a custody case, if you have children) about six months before getting started. Even if a lawyer suggests to get started as soon as possible, wait it out. Although some situations are urgent, it’s better to file with a ‘stable foundation’ (as in with enough finances and a place to live) before filing.

Find the best lawyer you can afford. While you’re planning, find your lawyer. You shouldn’t just pick any lawyer, though. Don’t be afraid to interview divorce lawyers within your price range. It’s also advisable to hire on your own terms, and not on the terms of another party.

Save as much as you can. Save enough money to support yourself and cover any legal fees before filing. Of course, you will have to keep this transparent, especially if there’s any property division to be handled during the divorce process.

Keep copies of important documents. It’s important to keep copies of financial records and other important records on hand. You’ll likely need this during the course of the divorce process, particularly when clarifying information requiring facts.

Plan to initiate the filing process. Depending on the situation, both parties can start the filing process for their own reasons. Probably the best decision you can make is discussing that matter with your spouse, especially if you’ve already separated. If the arrangement isn’t amicable, it’s best to notify the other party about the filing in a civil and neutral way to keep the case from becoming emotionally volatile.

The key to cleanly settling a divorce is working with the other party to a fair and amicable conclusion. The more open you remain with your former spouse, the faster both of you can move on with your lives following the divorce.

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Dealing With Divorce: Parenting Plans Under Traditional Custody

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A custody plan is a plan depicting how parents agree to ‘restructure’ their involvement within their child’s (or children’s) lives. Also known as a parenting plan, a custody plan usually arranges a child’s (or children’s) schedule and determines which parents are responsible for specific aspect of their child’s life.


It’s the responsibility of the judge to determine which parent takes legal custody and physical custody of their child (or children). During this process, they also arrange the legal and physical arrangements for the children. Parenting plans typically address the needs of their children, especially if they’re of different ages. Sometimes, the entire parenting plan needs changes to accommodate changes in one or both of the parent’s lives.


Creating an amicable parenting plan can be a difficult process for separated or divorcing spouses. As long as both parties are willing to resolve their issues and work with the best interests of their children in mind, establishing a parenting plan isn’t difficult.


Creating a parenting plan


Creating a parenting plan, especially under traditional custody, can get tricky. Traditional custody arrangements are usually single parent custody arrangements where only one parent hold physical and legal custody over their child (or children). The prospect of sole custody is what can muddle a parenting plan between both parties.


Though, creating a suitable parenting plan is doable, despite the prospect of sole custody. Both parents, however, need to work together.


Some resources suggest to avoid using ‘custody’ and ‘visitation’ to refer to a single parent (the one with custody rights) during the planning process. That helps keep relations between both parties amicable.


The age of each child in the family plays a large role in developing a parenting plan. It has a lot to do with how children behave when ‘shuffled’ back and forth between parents on a regular basis.


Younger children below age four don’t respond well to constant home changes. They need a more stable environment to grow. Both parents should arrange to leave their child with the custodial parent and have the other parent visit on occasion. Children four and up can handle an alternating schedule between parents, though it depends on the child.


Teenagers usually have a say in what kind of arrangements they would like, so it’s important to involve teens in the planning process. Like younger children, the arrangements that both parties do plan varies on what the teen wants or can potentially handle on a regular basis.


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Dealing With Divorce: Ways To Divide Property During A Divorce

Divorce is defined as the legal action that effectively end a marriage. Both parties use the divorce process to officially dissolve their marriage, no matter which party officially files for divorce. Divorce is also the legal action that effectively ends a marriage before the death of either spouse.

Divorce also marks the end of both parties sharing their property with one another. The property division aspect of divorce effectively divides both parties’ joint assets and property between each other. The point of property division isn’t to make things completely equal between both parties, but fair. That doesn’t mean the process isn’t any less tricky, though.


Ways to divide property during divorce

Property division, in the context of divorce, usually happens in two ways. It usually happens between both parties without the intervention of a judge. In non-amicable divorces, a judge decides how property and assets get divided between both parties.

The property and assets that get divided in a divorce are referred to as community property or marital property.


Dividing property between both parties

The best way to divide property is among both parties without the intervention of a judge. In addition to that, it’s important for both parties to be completely honest about the assets that they might have in their name. That includes telling the other party about any hidden assets they might have in their name.

To get started, both parties should make a list of their all of their owned properties. After that, they need to valuate the property together. For property like homes, businesses or other difficult to value assets, it’s best to enlist the help of a professional appraiser to provide assistance.

Sometimes, adding up the value of the properties belonging to either party can decide who owns certain properties. That usually helps both parties come to an agreement about ‘equally splitting’ property amongst themselves.

After deciding how to divide up the property, it’s required to get a judge’s approval before proceeding with acquiring the property. The court usually approves any agreement that both parties have reached, as long as the agreement is reasonable and satisfactory between both parties. In rare cases, such as one party not having legal representation, the judge may make assessments on their own to decide whether the property was fairly divided between both parties.

Ultimately, property division between both participating parties should be a civil process. That allows the property to be divided fairly among both parties and keep them relatively pleased with the results of their divorce.

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Dealing With Divorce: Separation and Divorce


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Divorce defines the end of a marriage. It’s the legal process that allows married people to terminate their marriage, which usually occurs before the death of either party (for urgent matters for a criminal defense attorney in Dallas see the link). Many married parties who can’t find a feasible solution to resolve their marriage seek divorce as a last resort.

Sometimes, it’s the first option for parties who can’t get along. No matter the situation, divorce as a legal solution is a process both parties should learn more about before committing to the divorce process.

Though, before filing for a divorce, both parties usually seek what’s called a legal separation. Although both parties recognize legal separations as an entirely separate process from divorce, several types of legal separations exist.


Types of legal separation

A legal separation is defined as ‘an arrangement where both parties remain married, but life apart following and/or in accordance with a court order.’ Legal separations allow both parties to continue to live their lives before and during the divorce process. The different types of legal separations mainly affect the ownership of property or assets in a marriage.


Trial separations

Trial separations depict both parties living apart for a test period. This allows them to decide whether or not they wish to live permanently separated. Assets and debts incurred during this period are still considered marital property.


Living apart from one another

Married parties who no longer live within the same household are considered to be ‘living apart.’ Some states actually change the spouses’ property rights if they live apart without any intention to reunite. Debts, property and other assets incurred during this period belong to the party who gained the asset or debt. Some states may declare property (during this period) joint property until the divorce is filed. Other states may also require couples to live apart for some time before filing a no-fault divorce.


Permanent separation

This describes when a couple decides to permanently separate. It usually follows a trial separation, though it commonly begins once a couple starts living apart. Most states consider any asset, property or debt incurred after permanent separation the property of the individual spouse who accumulated them.


Legal separation

A legal separation is the legally recognized version of a separation. It’s established when both parties separate and the court rules on the division of alimony and child support, child custody and visitation, property and other assets. It doesn’t, however, grant a legal divorce. Although legal separations aren’t as common as they seem, they do provide separated couples a degree of finality for their relationship before seeking a divorce.

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Dealing With Divorce: Reduce Your Lawyer’s Fees By Acting Reasonable

The divorce process is a tricky process, and it famously gets nasty in some respects. In most cases, the necessary steps to complete a divorce go as smoothly as both parties can manage to make it. Sometimes, outside factors like children play a large role in how a divorce finishes ‘clean.’

And, sometimes, those aforementioned factors can make both parties act upon their emotions during a divorce, making the process longer than it needs. When this happens, both parties may also make their attorney fees higher than they need to be.


Reduce your lawyer’s fees by acting reasonable

Attorney fees cost a lot. Many charge hundreds by the hour, and those fees usually end up costing thousands of dollars at the end of the divorce process. Couple that with additional fees and both parties may end up paying a lot for legal aid during a divorce.

Believe it or not, dishonesty plays a large role in making attorney fees balloon. Demonstrating honesty is the most important thing both parties owe each other during the divorce process.

If they’re not completely honest, their finances will suffer. That’s because their attorneys will be shouldering most of the responsibility of managing and investigating both parties. Let’s see some examples:

If both parties can’t talk to each other respectfully about child custody matters, they’ll have to enlist their attorneys to communicate with each other, speaking for them. As a result, they’ll have to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars in fees just to arrange a single visit to sort out those issues.

Impromptu or ongoing investigations also run up attorney fees. Attorneys have to spend a lot of time finding out more information about either party. If one or both parties remain dishonest, either attorney will have to spend time investigating everything the opposing party presents them. And, that costs attorneys a lot of time, so they charge accordingly.

One party may have to pay those fees if the courts order them. This usually happens in cases where the supporting party is ordered to pay child support or fulfill their child visitation agreement. They’re also awarded to parties who earn more money than the other party or if they know more about the worth of their community property. Some jurisdictions make it the responsibility of both parties to pay legal fees.

Ultimately, it’s the responsibility of both parties to avoid paying unnecessarily high legal fees by remaining amicable with one another. If they manage that, they won’t have to pay more money than they need to during the divorce process.