Common Questions about Divorce Answered

There are many misconceptions about the divorce process, and we’re here to answer some of the most frequently asked questions. Whether you feel that you may be filing for divorce soon, or you are wondering what may be in store for a loved one facing divorce, read on for some answers.

What is the difference between divorce and annulment?

The difference lies in the validity of the marriage in question. A divorce ends a legally valid marriage, while an annulment is granted in the case of marriages that are deemed not legally valid. An annulment treats a marriage as if it never happened.

What about divorce versus separation?

Divorce ends a marriage, while legal separation (also called separate maintenance) doesn’t. In legal separation, both spouses intend to live separately from one another

How long is the typical divorce process?

A divorce will generally take at least three months to finalize, but varying circumstances can make this process shorter or longer. An uncontested divorce, for example, where both parties are in agreement about getting divorced and about the terms of the divorce, will take less time than a divorce with parties in disagreement over children and assets.

What qualifies as marital property, and how is it divided?

Marital property is defined as property acquired by either spouse after marriage, though it does not include gifts or inheritances to one spouse. The issue of marital property can become more complicated when considering unique circumstances, such as a spouse putting inheritance money in a joint bank account.

How does a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement factor in?

Spouses can choose to enter into a prenuptial agreement before marriage, or a postnuptial agreement at any point after getting married. In either case, these agreements can help during a divorce to establish a certain spouse’s rights to alimony, division of property, etc. These marital agreements tend to make the divorce process much more smoothly.

What is alimony?

Also known as spousal support, alimony is court-ordered financial support from one spouse to another following separation or divorce. Alimony generally comes into play when one spouse has a significantly higher income than the other and is carried out as a specified amount paid each month for a designated period of time. A period of alimony will end prematurely if the spouse receiving alimony remarries, if a judge determines that a spouse has not made reasonable effort to become at least self-supporting, or if either spouse dies.

Do we have to go to trial?

Not necessarily. Only cases that cannot be resolved outside of a courtroom need to go to court.