Few people want to think about divorce. Nevertheless, close to half of all married people will divorce at some point. Only in unusual circumstances does the divorce strike like a bolt out of the blue. Often, married couples can see divorce is on the horizon when arguments about money or other issues increase in frequency. If you think divorce might be in your future, you should meet with a divorce lawyer in Northwest Indiana as soon as possible.
A Lawyer will Help You Understand Your Rights
Spouses have important rights during and after divorce. However, if you are unaware of them, then you will not know how to ask a judge for the following:
- Let you stay in the family home with your children
- Let you use the family car
- Give you temporary child support
- Award you temporary spousal support (alimony) that lasts throughout the duration of the divorce process
Furthermore, you need to understand your rights after the divorce has been finalized. A lawyer can help you think about:
- How you will divide your marital property. This is the property you acquired as a couple, and not the property you brought individually into the marriage.
- How you will divide marital debts. These are joint debts you acquired as a couple. After divorce, one spouse usually takes over a debt.
- How you will divide custody of children. You might want a 50/50 custody arrangement or for one parent to have primary custody with the other getting visitation.
- Whether you will pay or receive child support, and whether you need more than the state formula provides.
- Whether you need alimony to get back on your feet, and for how long.
These issues and others like them require a lawyer’s experience. By meeting with a lawyer, you can begin to think about what you will want out of the marriage and how to go about getting it.
A Lawyer Can Help You Gather Evidence
Divorces can be contested or uncontested. With an uncontested divorce, you and your spouse agree on all major issues like child custody, alimony, and the division of marital property and debts. Uncontested divorces are often ideal but not always possible. Instead, couples might have sharp disagreements in that a judge is needed to resolve.
For example, many couples disagree about child custody, with each spouse wanting to be the primary parent. A judge will decide custody based on the best interests of your children and will look to a variety of factors, such as:
- Each parent’s relationship with the child
- The child’s age and sex
- The children’s wishes
- Each parents’ physical and mental health
- Evidence of domestic violence
- Other factors
If you suspect a child custody fight is possible, you can start collecting evidence as soon as possible, which will make your case stronger.
Meeting with a Lawyer Does Not Commit You to Divorce
Some clients are nervous about meeting with a lawyer because they think it commits them to file for divorce, even if they think the marriage can be saved. To be absolutely clear: You and your spouse will decide if and when to divorce; your lawyer does not make that decision.
By meeting with a lawyer, you can discuss what you want in the event divorce is unavoidable. You are still free to try and salvage your marriage.
Schedule a Meeting to Speak to a Northwest Indiana Divorce Lawyer
Divorces are complicated, and proper planning is essential to make sure you have the divorce you want. Even if you hope to save your marriage, it is best to understand the process and your options ahead of time.
At Tanzillo, Stassin & Babcock, our divorce lawyers have helped many people in Dyer, St. John, and Schererville understand their options. To schedule your free consultation, please call (219) 865-6262.