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Divorce

Divorce Services from the Legal Experts at LegalShield

The divorce process is not something that anyone wants to go through, but should you find it necessary to end a marriage, you’ll want to have a family law lawyer or law firm to call upon for help.

Petition for Divorce next to calculator, eyeglasses & paperwork in uncontested divorce

Filing for Divorce

Disentangling your life from that of your soon-to-be-ex is complicated emotionally as well as legally, with divorce forms and papers in addition to dividing your property and considering custody of any children. As much as you want the legal process to be over, you also want to make sure that you’re protected, which isn’t necessarily an outcome if you file for divorce.

Starting at $29.95/month, a LegalShield membership allows you to work with a LegalShield provider lawyer to sort through the complicated questions and legal documents that come with divorces to make sure that you’re doing what’s best for your family while making sure your own interests are protected as well.

Uncontested Divorce

No divorce case is ever simple, but an uncontested divorce is hopefully a somewhat less painful option for couples. In an uncontested divorce, both parties have agreed to the divorce itself and the particulars of the split, including child custody, alimony, and the division of property. That agreement allows them to avoid a longer and more expensive court process, between lawyer fees and court costs.

With the details out of the way, the couple can file the necessary forms and their divorce settlement agreement with the court and wait for a judge to issue the divorce decree, which may include an order for a name change if one party wishes.

Reaching an agreement can be tricky when it comes to children and their care, or in the division of a greater accumulation of assets, so it’s useful to have a lawyer to review whatever agreement you reach or to help negotiate some of the points.

Older couple setting on a park bench deciding on an uncontested divorce
Couple contemplating a separation sitting on a couch

Separation

Couples that are considering a split can first opt for a separation instead of a divorce. Separation, and in particular legal separation, differs from divorce. A separation court order will divide your assets and set the terms of alimony, child custody, and support as would a divorce but the parties remain bound together even while leading separate lives.

Some couples opt for separation as opposed to divorce or annulment due to religious beliefs or a desire to keep the family unit together for the sake of their children, or for the more practical reasons of maintaining health insurance or other benefits that would be lost to one party through divorce. 

Alimony

Depending upon the particular financial situation of a couple, one party may be entitled to ask for spousal support. Also known as alimony, this support provides for a spouse that has a lesser income than their partner, often due to that spouse working less hours or stepping away from work altogether to raise children.

Alimony can be paid in a lump-sum payment but is most often set up as recurring monthly payments for a period set forth by a judge in a court order. Those payments can be ended early under conditions set forth in that order, like the spouse receiving the support finding a higher-paying job, cohabitating, or remarrying.

Alimony money underneath gold wedding rings
Divorced couple doing a child custody exchange

Child Custody

The most important, and often most contentious, consideration of any divorce process is child custody. Each parent wants what’s best for their child, but there can be significant disagreement on what that means in terms of care, living arrangements, and child support.

Ideally, parents come together to reach an accommodation for custody that avoids a long and ugly battle, but in the event that they can’t agree, the courts will make the ultimate decision in the best interest of the child.

In determining custody, courts consider the relative fitness of each parent to care and provide for the child, as well as the relationship between the child and each of the parents and the preference of the child, provided they are old enough to give their opinion.

Legal Custody vs Physical Custody

There are two different kinds of custody:

  • Legal custody is the right of a parent to make decisions about a child’s medical care, schooling, or other important factors in their life.
  • Physical custody pertains to where and with whom a child is living.

Depending upon what the courts find, they may award sole legal and/or physical custody to one parent, or joint legal and physical custody to both parents, or some mixture of the two.

How LegalShield Can Help

Any divorce is going to be complicated and only gets more so when kids, houses, and 401ks are added to the mix. Signing up for a LegalShield membership to get legal advice is the smart way to tackle your divorce, especially in considering what you can save in lawyer’s fees.

LegalShield’s divorce services include consultation on your home and accounts and other assets and how they may be divided; your obligations to your common debt; the custody arrangements for your children; and the review of any prenuptial agreements or any divorce documents that you need to submit, all at a low monthly price.

You can’t avoid the filing fees that come with a divorce, but you can avoid spending a fortune on the necessary legal services. 

Woman getting legal help with divorce papers
Unhappy spouse thinking about divorce questions

Divorce FAQs

Q: How do I file for divorce online?

A: There are services that offer the option of getting your divorce online, aimed at those who are seeking an uncontested divorce. However, arriving at the point where every issue is resolved can be tricky, and you run the risk of forgetting key issues if you take the self-help route with your divorce. Working with a lawyer can streamline your divorce process and reach an agreement that is fair and equitable. 

Q: How much does divorce really cost?

A: Filing fees for divorces vary by state, and the other associated costs of a divorce, like court fees and lawyer fees, can quickly run into the tens of thousands of dollars, depending upon how contentious the divorce becomes. You can save money by agreeing to as many of the specifics as possible before heading to court, and by taking advantage of your LegalShield membership and its provider lawyers. 

Q: What’s the difference between divorce and annulment?

A: While a divorce and an annulment have the same effect of splitting a couple, an annulment differs in that it asserts that the marriage was never valid, and essentially, it’s as if the marriage never happened. Though not common, annulments are sought on the grounds of fraud, misrepresentation, or other deception on the part of one of the spouses.

Q: How long does divorce take?

A: The amount of time it takes to finalize a divorce depends upon where you live and the type of divorce you’re seeking. Uncontested divorces are generally relatively quicker, whereas divorces that go to court with contested issues can take months or in rare cases, years to resolve. 
 

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