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11 divorce terms, explained

If you are entering the legal world of divorce proceedings, some of the terms may seem foreign to you. Of course, your attorney can explain in detail what you need to know, but if you want a basic understanding of the most common terms, keep reading. It is important to have a good grasp of how the outcome of these proceedings will affect you and your loved ones.

1.What exactly is alimony?

Alimony may also be referred to as spousal maintenance or spousal support. It is the monetary payments made to assist a spouse or former spouse while separated or after the divorce is final.

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2.Are there other ways to settle legal disagreements without going to court?

Yes. Other ways include professional mediation or arbitration, as the lawyers at Cohen & Cohen can explain.

3.How is child support calculated?

Child support is financial support given by a non-custodial parent to the custodial parent to help support the child or children.

The amount is generally calculated based on the needs of the child/children and the income of the parents.

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4.Custody explained

The rights to your child/children are called custody. Physical custody means that your child lives with you and you are raising the child. Legal custody means the right to decide important issues about the welfare of your child.

You can have joint legal custody where both parents share the responsibility of making important decisions. You can also have joint physical custody of the child, sharing both physical care and custody.

5.What is the divorce decree?

This is the official written order by the court finalizing your divorce.

6.What does it mean to be in default?

If you fail to respond to a complaint or petition for divorce you run the risk of having the court award everything requested to the filing spouse. This is called being in default.

7.Do I need to file a deposition?

Yes, it is part of the process of obtaining and exchanging information in a legal process. The attorney for the other person presents questions for you to answer, which you will do in the presence of your lawyer. A transcript is then created of the proceedings.

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8.What is equitable distribution?

This is when the property is divided in a way that, because of the circumstances, is deemed fair. Remember, fair does not always mean equal.

9.What is marital and non-marital property?

Marital property is basically any property that you and your spouse purchased or acquired while you were married.

Non-marital property may include items that one spouse inherits or that they owned prior to the marriage.

10. If I’ve been married for years, can I get part of retirement benefits?

There is an order that the court issues called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order that is used to divide retirement benefits. Be sure to ask your attorney if this is something that will affect your divorce.

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11.What are visitation rights?

This is the time allotted for the noncustodial parent to spend with their child/children. It is important to fully understand the visitation terms.

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