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When a person is going through a divorce, one of the many issues that they need to address is what type of financial situation they will have once the process has been completed. These issues include how any assets and property they and their spouse own will be divided and, if they have minor children, how custody and parenting time will be set up. There is also the issue of child support and whether they will be the receiving parent or the paying parent.
Division of Assets
The majority of states do not divide the marital estate based on the community property standard; only California and Texas do. This means that everything the couple owns is split down the middle. The other states use the equitable distribution method. This means that assets are divided in just proportions based on certain factors. Assets such as real estate, bank accounts, retirement accounts, stocks, and collections are all included in this division. If either spouse is involved or receiving a personal injury settlement or award, there may be some questions as to whether those funds are also part of the marital estate.
These factors do not include any marital misconduct, such as infidelity, or which spouse caused the divorce.
Spousal support is awarded largely depending on how long the marriage lasted, as well as the earning capacity of the spouse who would be ordered to pay alimony. In other words, the court has to consider what the spouse ordered to pay spousal support can afford.
There are other factors that a court can consider, and typically, for couples with a combined income of under $250,000, there is a formula that is used to determine the amount of alimony or spousal support that should be awarded once a judge decides to award the support. Once again, marital misconduct is not to be considered when awarding spousal or child support.
Similarly, in deciding how much child support should be awarded in a case, a judge is required to follow guidelines, unless the judge determines that it is better to deviate from the guidelines. Some states use a percentage method where a parent is ordered to pay child support in amounts that are calculated as a percentage of the parent’s income depending on how many children are to be supported. For example, support for one child is typically calculated at 20 percent of the parent’s income, two children at 25 percent, etc. Each state sets its own percentage schedule.
Other states use the income shares model where the income of both parents is combined and the amount of support is based on how much the child would have benefitted if the parents had stayed together. Your divorce lawyer will be able to evaluate your case and let you know right away what type of child support will likely be applied in your situation.
There are many factors that go into a final divorce agreement. If you are going through a divorce, make sure you have a skilled divorce lawyer who will protect your rights to a fair share of the marital estate, child custody, spousal support, and more.
Thank you to our friends at Robinson & Hadeed for the information about divorce.