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Important topics in divorce

For many people, the focus of the decision to divorce is the end of the marriage. However, it's important to be aware that divorce is an often complicated legal proceeding that encompasses many factors. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to think about the different parts of family law that will be relevant to your divorce and how you would like things to work out.

For those with children, who will have custody and how visitation and child support will be handled are crucial. You'll need to understand the difference between physical and legal custody and whether you are interested in a shared parenting — also sometimes called joint custody — arrangement. No matter how the custody is decided, visitation and parenting time will need to be scheduled, and this can take quite a while for both parties to agree on. Beyond custody, there will also be other aspects that must be decided pertaining to a parenting plan and who will pay how much child support.

Even those without children will have to make myriad decisions, ranging from whether there will be spousal support or alimony or how the marital property and debts will be divided. Property that is more difficult to split, such as the family home, may need special consideration as part of an equitable settlement.

In any divorce, the best way to start preparing yourself to handle these issues is to seek out as much information as possible. Talking with a family law attorney is a good first step.

Source: For Dummies, "Basic Divorce Decisions," John Ventura and Mary Reed, accessed May 05, 2016

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