Going through a separation or a divorce is one of the most emotionally challenging experiences anyone can go through. Any dissolution of a marriage has to pass through court after which time the bonds of matrimony are removed leaving each party free to re-marry should they so choose.

Proceedings are often complicated by shared commitments between the couple such as children, property and debt. There are occasions where the two parties will be able to come to an amicable and mutual agreement, but often, the court will be required to intervene and divide custody, assets and liabilities based on a number of variable factors.

As with marriage, divorce and separation cases are handled in State courthouses – not at Federal level. Consequently, the process and law is likely to vary depending on where the case is heard. Every state offers ‘no fault’ divorces whereby neither party is cited as the main cause of separation, however this does not necessarily ensure a 50/50 split in assets. The judiciary is still at liberty to take behaviours into account when making their ruling.

Provision is made in each state’s legislature for child support. Likewise, in cases where children are involved the state expects each party involved in proceedings to present a parenting plan to the court to assist with division of custody. The court’s main priority is to ensure minimum disruption to the child during any parental separation.

Prior to a court granting a divorce, the couple will usually have had to live apart for a period of at least 2 years. Where a couple have lived separately for 2 years or more, but have been legally divorced, they are considered to be ‘separated’.

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