Difference between Legal Separation and Divorce (US Law)

While most people know that a legal separation is different from a divorce, many may not understand all the ways in which it’s different. While a divorce ends a marriage, a legal separation does not. Instead, a legal separation allows the couple to remain married while living separately. During a legal separation, a court order outlines each spouse’s rights and responsibilities.

Just like with divorce, certain issues can be addressed in a legal separation, including:

  • Division of assets
  • Division of debt
  • Child custody
  • Child support
  • Visitation schedules
  • Spousal support

One reason why people opt for a legal separation is because their assets can be legally protected until the time of the divorce. Divorces aren’t fast, the first step is filing for divorce and the process can be dragged out for a long time. In the meantime, a legal separation document can provide security for both spouses.

Another reason why legal separations are beneficial is because they can provide the layout for the divorce. For example, the same child custody agreement that was followed during a legal separation may be adhered to after a divorce. Legal separations can sometimes serve as the trial period for the couple to see how they handle certain responsibilities. Often, the judge feels that if both parties were happy with the decisions of the legal separation, there should be no problem with the same guidelines for the divorce.

It’s very important to decide on legal separation guidelines that you’re happy with. Looking at a legal separation as a short-term decision isn’t accurate. Since the legal separation is often adhered to for the divorce, you could be stuck with your decisions for a very long time.

One huge benefit to legally separating instead of divorcing is that if the couple wants to work on their marriage, they can do so while living separately but without going through the hassle of divorce. That way, if the couple makes amends, they won’t have to get remarried. Instead, they can simply end their legal separation and begin living together again as a normal married couple.

Another benefit to filing for a legal separation instead of a divorce is that both spouses can still retain their health insurance. Divorce brings health coverage to an end for the married spouse. With a legal separation, the husband or wife can still care for their family even during the time apart.

This article was contributed by the Cantor Law Group of Phoenix, AZ. The Cantor Law Group handles all aspects of family law including adoption, divorce, child custody, and support among other areas.

Five Tips For Finding A Good Divorce Lawyer (US Tips)

When you were married, you probably never imagined that it would end in divorce. Now you are right at the beginning of a divorce and might not be sure of what to do next. Perhaps you realize that you need to get a good divorce lawyer, but you are unsure of where to go and who to talk to. If you need some help finding a good lawyer, there are five tips that might guide you in the right direction.

The first tip for finding a good divorce lawyer is to find someone who specializes in family law or in divorce. There are many different types of lawyers that are probably good at what they do, but do not deal with divorce every day. Someone that deals with divorce cases on a regular basis and has taken special care to learn all that they can about divorce might be a better choice of someone that would be able to help you the very best.

The second tip to find a good lawyer when you are getting a divorce is to talk to multiple lawyers as sort of an interview for the job. You might know a lawyer or two that have a good reputation, but when you meet them, it just doesn’t click for you. Perhaps there is someone that you meet with that will make you feel uneasy or uncomfortable. Use your common sense, and if you are uncomfortable for any reason with the lawyer, you might want to choose someone else.

The third tip is to tell the lawyer everything! You might be embarrassed about some things that happened during your marriage, or perhaps you think something is irrelevant. Letting the lawyer be the judge of that is probably a good idea because they know things about divorce cases that you don’t. They can take the information and decide what to use to build your case. Lawyers take confidentiality very seriously and will not tell anything that you don’t want told.

The fourth tip in finding a good divorce lawyer is to let the lawyer know what your financial situation is. They can help you the best with your marital financial situation if they know all of the details. You may want to include copies of pay stubs, bank statements, and bills.

The fifth and last tip that might help you to find a good divorce lawyer is to follow up after your initial visit to make sure they really are who they say they are. After a day or two, you might want to call them to see if they followed through on what they said they would do and if they still have the notes and information they will need for your case.

Finding a good divorce lawyer is absolutely important so that you are not left holding all the baggage from the marriage. While you will still have some responsibility, you should have a good lawyer to make sure everything is fair.

Guest post provided by the Phoenix Divorce Lawyers from the Cantor Law Group. Based in Phoenix, AZ The Cantor Law Group handles all aspects of divorce, including adoption, child custody, child support, alimony and other family law matters.

Child Support – How is it Calculated? (A Helpful U.S. Perspective)

The dissolution of a marriage, also called a divorce, is never an easy thing to deal with. It becomes increasingly more difficult and heart breaking when there are kids involved. Once you’ve decided that divorce is the only option, you’ll need to start the process if legally ending the marriage. As a part of this process, one of the parents will likely get custody of any minor children. It’s also safe to assume that the other partner will probably be on the hook for child support until a certain agreed upon time in the future, most likely when the kids turn 18 years old. There are many good child support calculators available online, find one geared towards the state that you’ll be filing for divorce in.

According to a top Arizona child custody attorney there are a few key factors in determining how Child Support is calculated, they are:

  • Family Income – Most child support guidelines take into account, the income from both parents. Some states base their formula on gross income, while others chose to use net income as a guide.
  • Child Support Deductions – In a situation where one parent is already paying child support from a previous marriage or situation, that may qualify to be deducted from their income. In most cases, there are 2 qualifiers for this deduction, they are: 1) the previous child support must be court ordered, and 2) the parent must be making the payments.
  • Child Care & Healthcare Expenses – Most states will consider child care expenses that are incurred while the parents are working. The federal government and the states have set-up child care deductions and other benefits. Healthcare can be a major sticking point in child support because it is of utmost importance to determine who will pay for the child’s health insurance. Typically, the amount spent on insurance is added to the child support order and then credited to the parent who pays for it.
  • Custody and Visitation – Many child support guidelines attempt to account for the time each parent has the child or children. The more time that the children spend with the non-custodial parent, the higher the expenses that parent incurs to support the kids. In many situations where there is shared custody, the award amount to the custodial parent will be less than if there was sole custody.

These are just a few of the things that go into calculating child support. You should always consult with a Family Law Specialist when you have decided that divorce is the only option. As a parent, you have rights and those need to be accounted for when the division or property and custody occurs. You should also research the laws or guidelines in your state as they relate to child support matters.

This post is from The Cantor Law Group a Family Law firm based in Phoenix, AZ.