Divorce Advice for a Woman
- When deciding child custody, a court always considers the well-being of the child as the top priority. With regard to infants and young children, courts tend to value the mother-child relationship and award primary custody to the mother, but this becomes more complicated as the child grows older. By the time children are at elementary school age, questions such as which parent has provided more direct care to the child, and the ability to provide for the child, become more relevant. A teen-aged child is usually invited to give her own opinion on the matter. Custody can either be awarded solely to one parent, with or without visitation rights, or jointly, under an arrangement agreed upon by the parents.
- A woman should know whether she lives in a community property state, in which she legally owns half the property obtained after the marriage, or an equity state, in which courts seek to divide property fairly under the circumstances, not necessarily evenly. In either circumstance, a spouse is entitled to lifestyle maintenance, meaning she can get alimony payments necessary to remain at the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. If awarded child custody, she can also get child-support payments. In most states, the spouse's ability to work and support herself, as well as her financial and non-financial contributions to the marriage, are considered when awarding alimony and child support. A dependent spouse should be sure the responsibility for all debts incurred during the marriage is clearly delineated in the marital settlement.
Divorcing a Cheater
- Men aren't the only ones who cheat, but a woman should be aware of her options if she finds herself filing because of adultery. Specifically filing on grounds of adultery, rather than through a no-fault option, can create implications for child custody, and the mental anguish resulting from the affair can limit a wife's earning ability and therefore increase her alimony. Some states also allow an aggrieved spouse to sue a third party for "alienation of affection" or "criminal conversation," a civil action against someone who comes between married persons.