Some states/provinces require formal separation with designated timeframes, while others do not. Divorce attorneys can assist with drafting separation agreements so both parties understand what is required of them until a final divorce action is signed by a judge. Agreements address the division of assets and debts, time sharing schedules and financial support responsibility for household expenses, spousal support, and children. Divorce attorneys may draft separation agreements to make it easier when divorce proceedings begin, and to minimize disagreements until the marriage has formally ended.
Although a complaint form is the initial first step to end a marriage, other terms for the divorce must be put in writing and agreed to by divorcing parties, referred to as a “marriage settlement agreement.” A copy of the agreement will need to be filed where the divorce proceeding is filed and parties should keep copies for themselves and for service requirements.
Proof of service is a requirement of a divorce proceeding in most states/provinces and can be accomplished through personal delivery, first class certified with return receipt, newspaper publication, to name a few.
No fault versus fault action
Some states/provinces are considered “no-fault” divorce states/provinces where it is only necessary to admit that the marriage is “irretrievably broken” and only one spouse has to want the divorce. Fault actions have more requirements with some states specifically identifying grounds for divorce including:
- Felony conviction
- Willful abandonment
- Confinement to a mental hospital
- Habitual drunkenness, or drug use
- Both parties living separately for a period of time before formal divorce action
- Physical, or sexual abuse upon the petitioner, or child(ren) of a divorce action
Experienced divorce attorneys can utilize alleged causes for divorce actions to strengthen a case in favor of their client, or defend claims of unfounded fault, that may involve a better outcome, such as: the ability to maintain the family home, receive prolonged financial support, and minimize family interruptions over custody. The Bobb Law Firm PLLC’s attorneys are skillful communicators with clients, opposing counsel, court personnel, judges, and mediators. They can prepare financial affidavits, child support worksheets and other documents including a marriage settlement agreement. They can summarize governing laws to clients and adhere to state/provincial-specific requirements that protect divorcing parties, either individually, or in collaborative actions that may reduce expenses and expedite final agreements.