This has come up in many cases I have had lately. My clients ask how long the divorce will take and I tell them that it can be anywhere from 60 days to 2 years because it all depends on how the case progresses. This shocks most of my clients because they think that everything just gets split down the middle and then they are done. Unfortunately it does not always work out that way. I hope to explain some of the reasons why below.
- Even assuming that the parties will each get one-half of everything, how are the parties to know what one-half is? For example, does your spouse have a separate bank account? How much is in your spouse’s retirement account? What property do you have? Is there equity in the property? Does the property need to be sold so that the parties can get something else that they can afford? Is there a business? Is there separate property?
- Children are frequently the biggest issue in divorce. It is not an automatic that the mom is the primary parent and that the dad gets a standard possession order. Many factors go into determining what is in the best interest of the children. These factors include, but are not limited to, who does the day in day out things with the children. Who takes them to doctors, dentists, school, etc. Who cooks, bathes, cleans, etc the children. How are the children doing in school? How old are the children? There are many other factors that go into play in this decision.
- Was there fault in the breakup? If there was, depending on the fault can determine whether one party receives more in the divorce than the other.
- Is there a disparity in income? If one party makes significantly less than the other party an award of spousal support may be included. If no spousal support, then sometimes a Judge will award more community property to the lower wage earner.
These are just a few of the situations that come up in a divorce that can affect an award. Every case is fact specific and there is no one article that can detail out what will need to be done in your case.