I am about to begin the divorce process and would like to gain primary custody of our children. What should I know before I get the ball rolling?
While I am not licensed to practice law in your state, I can give some general guidance on this issue.
The beginning of the divorce process can be very overwhelming and can place the parties, as well as the children, under a lot of stress. You want to make sure that you and your wife can continue to communicate and co-parent with the children throughout the divorce.
A divorce can take one of two avenues, contested or uncontested.
An uncontested divorce is a fairly simple and quick process in which the parties are in agreement as to the issues in the matter. An agreement is usually reached between the parties very early on in the process and filed with the court.
However, as you can probably assume, a contested divorce is one in which the parties are not in agreement about most of the issues. This divorce can sometimes proceed for an uncertain amount of time until it is mediated or brought before a judge at trial.
Child support and custody are separate issues although they are inevitably intertwined. Generally the court will order either or both parents to pay child support to the other parent. The amount of time each parent spends with the child can affect the amount of child support paid.
In any case, before separating, you should first try to speak with the mother of your child to reach some sort of agreement with regard to a visitation/time-sharing schedule and have it approved by the court. If the both of you cannot agree, the court will ultimately decide on a schedule.
Alimony or spousal support is not necessarily required in a divorce. Generally, courts will first make a determination as to whether the spouse is eligible or entitled to alimony. This can vary from state to state.
Once the court determines that your spouse is eligible for alimony, it will most likely look at certain factors to determine an appropriate award of alimony. Some of these factors include: educational background; duration of the marriage; age of the requesting spouse; employment history; efforts to find employment; financial resources of the seeking spouse; mental and physical well-being of the spouse; etc.
In addition, some states have caps on the amount or duration of an award of alimony. Alimony could also be agreed to between the parties, rather than court-ordered.
Before taking any major action, like moving out of the home, I urge you to contact a domestic litigation attorney licensed in your area that can examine the full details of your situation.
Remember I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips.