4 Family Law Aspects You Should Understand When Divorcing Your Spouse

Divorcing a spouse isn't easy. It's a process full of paperwork, court appearances, and difficult conversations. It also requires you to make some tough decisions about your future. If you're going through a divorce, you need to understand some basics of family law. If you're not well versed in the legal processes, a lawyer can assist you. This article discusses four aspects of family law you should understand. 

Child Custody and Visitation

In a divorce, the court will decide who gets custody of the children. The custodial parent is the one who has primary responsibility for the child's care and upbringing. The noncustodial parent usually gets visitation rights, which allows them to spend time with their child regularly. A lawyer can determine what kind of custody arrangement is best for your situation and negotiate a schedule that works for you and your ex-spouse.

Child Support

A noncustodial parent may be required to pay child support to the custodial parent. This monthly payment covers food, clothing, shelter, medical expenses, and education costs. The amount of child support is based on both parents' incomes, the number of children, and the state guidelines. Payments are made until the child becomes an adult, although it may sometimes continue until the child graduates from college. If a child has special needs, child support payments may be ordered to continue for an indefinite period of time. A lawyer can help you determine the amount of child support you will be required to pay if you're a noncustodial parent.

Spousal Support

In some states, spousal support, or alimony, may be ordered as part of a divorce. Alimony is payments made from one spouse to the other to help maintain their living standards after separation. The factors considered when deciding if it should be paid and how much should be paid vary by state, but usually include things like the length of the marriage, each spouse's earning power, and whether minor children are involved. A lawyer can explain the rules in your estate so you know what to expect.

Property Division

During the divorce process, the court divides a couple's property. This includes any assets acquired during the marriage, such as homes, savings, stocks, and retirement accounts. The court will also divide any debts the couple has incurred during the marriage. Although the division process may be fair, sometimes, one spouse may get more than the other. If you want your interests to be protected, hire a lawyer to help you through the process.

Divorce is difficult, but understanding these four aspects of family law can help you go through it smoothly. If you have any questions about your divorce, be sure to speak with a family law firm.