By Lina Martinez
Divorce isn’t exactly easy. Understatement of the year? Well, that’s probably an overstatement. But it’s definitely pretty high up on the yearly understatement rankings, if such a thing exists.
It’s not just the emotional burdens of the end of a relationship that make divorce so unpleasant. It’s also the various legal complexities. We’re going to take a look at some of the legal problems that many people underestimate the complexity of.
Residency and location
A lot of people forget that not everyone can get divorced. It may seem odd, but that’s just the way the institution of marriage works! The government don’t really want you to get divorced. It looks bad on them. So they may be a number of legal hurdles in your way. For example, most American states require you to have been a resident for a minimum amount of time before either of you can file for divorce. But you can’t get divorced in a state other than the one in which you live! Most of these states will require a period of separation before divorce is granted.
The most famous - and most tricky - of all legal complexities related to divorce. Custody of the children of a marriage is often misunderstood. Many people assume that the mother will always get custody of the kids. While it’s true that this happens in most cases (even when it’s clearly not the right thing to do), it isn’t a guarantee. Get to know more about custody laws if you’re going to be in this scenario.
Taxes and finance
So who’s going to be paying who what? Most of the time, when thinking of this area, people only think of alimony and divided estate. These things are usually more complex than people think, especially when it comes to alimony. But there are other financial factors that have to be considered by both parties. What about joint retirement accounts, for example? If a cash out occurs, there are usually pretty high taxes. Who’s going to be paying those?
So when I referred to the complexity of dividing estates in the previous paragraph, what was I talking about? Well, it’s not as if you can cleanly split all assets down the middle. Even when everything is valued fairly accurately, you’ll end up with a split that isn’t entirely equal. But what if all the assets aren’t “on the table”, so to speak? If a split needs to occur, then what assets there are all need to be presented. But someone might hide assets in an effort to prevent them from being split in value or given away. However you feel about it, it’s against the law.
So what if the relationship has ended really acrimoniously? If there are any problems with harassment on the horizon, then you can deal with it using court orders. But this isn’t always as simple as people think. For example, most people will assume you can get a restraining order. But these are only handed out if there’s a legitimate fear of physical harm. If this isn’t the case, you will have to look into anti-harassment orders.
Lina Martinez has her B.S. in journalism and is a contributor to our politics, life and money pages. She once admitted over drinks to singing "Careless Whisper" in the shower. We are still trying to get her to sing it at karaoke.