Many people, for one reason or another, have a number of questions about matrimonial law. And the word “divorce” itself has been something which has stricken awe and fear into the hearts of many of us. The greatest reason for the questions, awe and fear is simply that the law on this subject is not readily available to non-lawyers. Actually the basic elements of divorce law and practice are not as difficult to understand as the mystery surrounding them seems to indicate; this is written in the hope of acquainting you with some of these basic elements and considerations in the hope of removing the mystery (and in the process, some of the questions and most of the awe and fear) from the whole idea of “divorce.” This series of blog posts will consist of 5 parts and we hope to answer several of your questions in the process.
WHAT IS A DIVORCE?
A divorce case is a lawsuit filed by one marriage partner against the other. Its major goal is to end the martial relationship. But it almost always has other important goals, and those are to settle questions of where children will live, child support, alimony (spousal support), child visitation and division of martial property and debts.
Unless the parties have been separated for a long time or they agree they are incompatible, the person seeking a divorce must prove in court that his or her spouse has been guilty of certain wrongful acts. Your lawyer can give you an educated prediction as to whether the specific acts in your case are serious enough for a court to grant a divorce. If the parties have been separated for a year, this is all that must be proven in order to entitle one or both parties to a divorce. Things can be proven in court by several methods, but the usual way is by “testifying” (answering questions asked of the parties and their witnesses by the lawyers).
WHAT IS A DISSOLUTION?
A dissolution is almost equal to a divorce. The major difference is that in a dissolution, unlike a divorce, you and your spouse must agree that you want to end your marriage and sign a separation agreement settling the questions involving children, support, visitation, property rights and debts, etc., before any papers can even be filed in court.
You need no “grounds” for a dissolution other than the fact that you both want out of your marriage and feel that your differences are permanent. But the court must find your agreement to be fair or it will not be approved.
A dissolution is just as final as divorce.