When you untangle a marital relationship, it can be an enormous undertaking. Being swamped by documentation can be annoying and confusing, and it could help to understand what is important and what is not. When you consider that divorce deals with debt, property, spousal support, retirement plans, real estate, joint credit cards, not to mention issues surrounding minor children, you can understand what to expect in the form of paperwork. Read on for a quick primer on divorce paperwork that you will probably encounter sooner or later during your separation and divorce.
There's no need to wait for the divorce to become final to have things like child support, physical custody, and spousal support ordered. These temporary orders can either be separate or part of a legal separation agreement. If you go with an agreement, you can also address things like debts and visitation. Having such an agreement in place can protect you from the spending that your ex might do during the separation period if you live in a community property state or you have joint credit cards. If the temporary orders work out, it will simplify the creation of your final divorce agreement.
The Parenting Plan
What used to be referred to as child custody and visitation plans are often now known as parenting plans. This plan will be a part of your permanent divorce decree, but you should keep in mind that anything to do with minor children will always remain open and may be changed. You have several options for creating a parenting plan, and it should be individualized for your situation and the age of your children. As far as custody goes, you have a choice of two main types: shared (or 50/50) and joint. Visitation is available for the parent who does not have physical custody of the child.
The issue of child support is important enough to deserve its own order, at least in most cases. The factors on who pays what varies with income, who has physical custody, who pays childcare expense and health care premiums and more.
If one of the spouses need it, spousal support or alimony (also called maintenance in some places) will be ordered. Usually, the amounts can be later altered, but you cannot add a spousal support order back in after the divorce is final.
The Final Decree
When the judge signs the agreement, you are now divorced. Be sure keep several copies on hand for name changes and property awards.
Speak with an attorney or law firm like Marlene Dancer Adams to learn more.