3 Things Everyone Should Know About Divorce

The divorce process can be one of the most stress-inducing things anyone will go through. If you're trying to figure out what the legal situation is at the end of your marriage, it's a good idea to consider this list of three things everyone should know before they meet with a divorce lawyer.

No One Can Prevent a Divorce

Whether you're the party seeking a divorce or someone who wants to try to make things work, be aware there's no legal basis for preventing the end of a marriage if either partner wants it to end. Even if the decision to divorce is one-sided, the law doesn't factor that in.

The most that can happen is the process can be strung out a while. This depends heavily on the state you live in. Some states have long cooling-off periods before they'll finalize divorces. Others have none.

Regardless of what the laws in a state are, every divorce will be finalized eventually. Whether that occurs next week or two years from now is largely about what the state's laws are and whether your ex wants to make a mess of it.

At-Fault Divorce Is (Probably) Pointless

First, some states do not even allow at-fault divorces. Second, even if you live in one that allows it, you're probably better off trying to get through the process with a minimum of pain. The financial side of the equation is usually handled based on a formula set out by state law. Marital property will be assigned and divided according to the law, and spousal and child support will be based on some type of formula.

Note, however, that the courts will happily let you and your ex arrive at an agreement on your own. If they try to offer you a junk deal, though, you can and should go to court to defend your rights.

One Attorney Per Spouse

Yes, it might seem like a great way to save money by having a single divorce attorney handle the case for both of you. Unfortunately, penny-pinching of this form isn't allowed. In American law, each divorce lawyer must "zealously" advocate for their client's interests. That means there is an inherent conflict in one attorney representing both sides.

If you're not thrilled at the prospect of shelling more money out for counsel, you can simply accept what the other side proposes or try to negotiate on your own. Just don't complain about the results.