In today’s society, the rates of marriage and divorce are unparalleled. It has become a common occurrence for people to get married and divorced at least once in their lifetime.
However, it is important that everyone understands what to do if they ever find themselves in this situation. To make sure you are protected during this process, it is essential that you know your legal rights as a spouse or divorcing couple.
The following will outline the various legal rights individuals have when getting married or divorcing one another. So let’s get started!
1. Property Division
Divorce is a complicated process, and following the proper procedures can help it go much more smoothly. The first you will want to do is consult with an attorney in your area because they can review any prenuptial agreements that exist between you and your spouse, as well as what would be considered marital property.
Marital property is anything that was bought during your relationship, whether it be a car or a house. It is important to make sure you understand what constitutes marital property in order to protect yourself from losing out on things if your ex-spouse sues for their share of the property later.
2. Alimony & Spousal Support
If you are the spouse that makes more money, you might be considering withholding alimony or spousal support from your ex-spouse. However, it is important to keep in mind that if your spouse were to later sue for alimony or spousal support, they would likely win if it was determined that there was not a valid reason for withholding these payments. It is also important to keep in mind that if you divorce your spouse, you still might be responsible for making these payments.
3. Child Support & Custody
Child support and custody can be another difficult part of a divorce or separation. Child support typically ends when the child reaches 18 years of age, but if they are attending college and still living with one of their parents, then payment is likely to continue until their education is completed. Custody can be a big issue, and it is essential that you know your legal rights as they pertain to having either physical or sole custody of the children. Child custody attorneys do help with child support issues like modification, paternity, and relocation.
4. Legal Separation
If you are considering getting a divorce but would like to maintain some sort of connection with your spouse, then legal separation could be an option for you. Many spouses choose to seek this alternative after coming to the conclusion that their marriage is unsalvageable. Legal separation is different from divorce in the sense that it does not allow the two partners to remarry. However, it does give them the opportunity to live apart without completely severing their ties.
Another option that can be chosen in place of divorce is an annulment. An individual might choose this route if he or she believes that their marriage was invalid in some way, such as if one of the parties was already married when the ceremony took place. This is typically only chosen in very specific circumstances, so it is important to consult with your attorney to ascertain if this could be an option for you.
6. Common Law Marriage
However, one other type of marriage does not require a wedding ceremony or legal papers to prove the relationship — this is called common law marriage. It simply requires that you and your spouse live together and be in a committed relationship with one another, as well as holding yourselves out to society as married.
7. Legal Rights of Domestic Partners
While marriage is typically only between a man and a woman, there are some instances where two people who identify as the same gender can get married. The state in which they reside will determine whether this type of union is valid. In addition, another term has come about, and it is known as “domestic partnership.” This type of union is similar to marriage in that it allows both parties to enjoy the same rights as a spouse without going through the usual legal channels. Still, these typically come with a few more stipulations.
Legal rights in marriage and divorce are necessary to discuss because of the many aspects that you need to consider. Whether your relationship is ending due to death, a breakup, or an annulment, it is essential that you know what legal rights apply. We hope this article has helped provide some clarity on these issues for when they arise in your life so that you can make sure everything goes smoothly.