We’re here to explain all of your options and help you make the right decision for your circumstances. Below we’ve listed a few definitions to help you determine the direction that is best for you and your situation.
Divorce (or dissolution of marriage) is the termination of a marriage or marital union, the canceling and/or reorganizing of the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage, thus dissolving the bonds of matrimony between a married couple under the rule of law of the particular country and/or state. The legal process of divorce may also involve issues of alimony (spousal support), child custody, child visitation/access, parenting time, child support, distribution of property, and division of debt.
Annulment is a legal procedure for declaring a marriage null and void. Unlike divorce, it is usually retroactive, meaning that an annulled marriage is considered to be invalid from the beginning almost as if it had never taken place.
Contested divorce means that one of several issues are required to be heard by a judge at trial level. In such a divorce the spouses are not able to agree on issues for instance child custody and division of marital assets. Less adversarial approaches to divorce settlements have recently emerged, such as mediation and collaborative divorce settlement, which negotiate mutually acceptable resolution to conflicts.
This is when the two parties are able to come to an agreement about the property, children, and support issues. When the parties can agree and present the court with a fair and equitable agreement, approval of the divorce is almost guaranteed. If the two parties cannot come to an agreement, they may ask the court to decide how to split property and deal with the custody of their children.
Legal separation is a legal process by which a married couple may formalize a de facto separation while remaining legally married. A legal separation is granted in the form of a court order. In cases where children are involved, a court order of legal separation often makes temporary arrangements for the care, custody, and financial support of the children (“for the time being”). Thus, part of the court order determines child custody.
Mediation is the attempt to help parties in a disagreement to hear one another, to minimize the harm that can come from disagreement, to maximize any area of agreement, and to find a way of preventing the areas of disagreement from interfering with the process of seeking a compromise or mutually agreed outcome.
No fault is a divorce in which the dissolution of a marriage does not require a showing of wrongdoing by either party. Laws providing for no-fault divorce allow a family court to grant a divorce in response to a petition by either party of the marriage without requiring the petitioner to provide evidence that the defendant has committed a breach of the marital contract.