Our Divorce Lawyer Answers Some Common Questions
Divorce is a difficult, sensitive time. Aldridge & Birdwhistell Law Firm, PSC hears many questions and always strives to help. We’ve answered some of the most common questions for you here.
How are custody and visitation rights decided?
Generally, the parents in a divorce are free to make their own agreements for child custody and visitation. But they do not always agree.
When the parents cannot agree, a judge will make decisions for them. The judge’s goal is to make a custody decision that is in the best interest of the children. The judge evaluates many factors to determine the children’s best interest, including the children’s involvement in school and community, the wishes of the child and any instances of abuse or neglect. The judge may award sole custody to one parent only or joint custody to both parents. The judge may also set a visitation schedule and evaluate the parents’ conformity on a regular basis.
How is child support awarded?
The amount a parent must pay for support and maintenance of children is calculated using a formula that takes into account each parent’s income and other factors such as child support obligations for prior children, child care expenses and health insurance costs. Both parents receive equal and fair treatment under the law. There is no particular preference for the mother or father.
Can I change an existing order?
Yes, modifications to existing arrangements can be made if circumstances warrant reconsideration. For instance, if one former spouse loses a job, that might affect child or spousal support terms. We can help determine if modifications are appropriate and work with you to make those changes.
How are assets and property divided?
A divorcing couple is generally free to make their own settlement agreement covering who gets to take which items of marital property. But parting spouses do not always agree. In these cases, the court will make decisions regarding who gets what property. When the court gets involved, the spouses must disclose all information about their assets, liabilities, retirement and income. The court then makes an equitable division of the assets and debts.
What if my spouse is threatening me or our children?
If the other person in the relationship has been abusive or if you reasonably fear that the person will abuse you or the children, our family law attorneys can help you seek an order of protection from the court. An order of protection prevents the abusive individual from contacting you, the children and any other protected party. A person who breaks an order of protection will be arrested and charged.