Divorce is scary. Life feels out of control. Overwhelming anxiety sets in: Fear of the pain, the legal process, the cost, the future, and, especially, the fear of the unknown. At a time when your life can feel like it is in utter chaos, sometimes the smallest bit of predictability can bring a sense of comfort. There is one part of the divorce that does have some measure of predictability, though, and that is the divorce process itself. This means that, despite the uniqueness of your divorce, you can generally count on one phase of your divorce following the next. At Conrad Trosch & Kemmy, our family lawyers can guide you through the divorce process effectively and efficiently. Sometimes, just realizing you are completing stages and moving forward with your divorce can reassure you that it will not go on forever.
A divorce is technically the dissolution of a marriage. While an absolute divorce results in the dissolution of the legal marriage between the spouses, there are other claims that must be brought prior to the dissolution of marriage or they will be waived, preventing both spouses from ever being allowed to bring those claims. These waivable claims include equitable distribution (dividing up the property and debts) and spousal support (e.g. alimony). Other claims that may be relevant to a “divorce” include child custody and child support. For these reasons, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as you are considering, or beginning, the divorce process or the moment you are served with a divorce complaint. You only have a very limited time to respond to any legal paperwork, so it is important to act quickly.
Divorce also has wide-ranging other effects on issues you might not initially think about. Until you are divorced you may be liable to a doctor for your spouse’s medical bills. You may also have to file married filing separately, which is one of the most disadvantageous tax brackets, unless you convince your spouse to file jointly or you are divorced. You may not be able to change your beneficiary on your 401(k) or pension until you get divorced. While you may legally start seeing others after you are legally living separately (in separate homes with the intent to remain separate), you are not allowed to remarry until you receive your absolute divorce decree. After you are divorced many of your important estate rights also terminate.
In order to ensure you protect yourself, your children, and your assets, it is important that you hire a law firm that handles divorces as a regular part of its practice. At Conrad Trosch & Kemmy, our family law team is filled with board-certified family specialists who have decades of experience with handling divorces. Whether you are able to come to an agreement with your spouse out of court, or if your case requires a judge to make some of the decisions, our firm will advocate vigorously on your behalf.