Once you determine whether you will be filing for a divorce, legal separation, or annulment, you will complete an initial petition with the court requesting a termination of your marriage and orders regarding custody, support, and property division.
Developing A Divorce Agreement
Before heading to court, you and the other spouse should first attempt to develop your own divorce agreement that includes parenting, support and property division. A preexisting agreement can map out a course of action that will allow you and the children of the relationship to better cope with the separation while also protecting your assets and ensuring that all parties are adequately provided for throughout the divorce proceedings. In some cases, mediation can help both spouses quickly develop a mutually agreed upon a plan which can ease both parties and children during subsequent court proceedings.
When attempting to work out a divorce agreement, aim for cooperation and calm. Try to remove any feelings of animosity or defensiveness when communicating with the other parent, and try to keep an open mind. While you may not be able to agree on an ideal course of action, if you keep the lines of communication open you will have a better chance of coming to a decision that is acceptable to both parties while also helping the child cope with separated parents.
As your children mature, their needs and wants will change, and so you will most likely continue to revisit and modify your parenting plan. Younger children may benefit more from joint physical custody, for example, because the ability to spend more custodial time with each parent can foster a sense of stability and equilibrium. As your children get older, outside responsibilities can affect their schedule, including school events and extracurricular activities. Adolescents and preteens may benefit from having a “home base” that allows them to establish one residence while also having easy access to the non-custodial parent through shared visitation.
There are many services available to parents who need help crafting a divorce agreement. Your local courts may provide counseling or guidance, and your community may also host workshops or nonprofit organizations committed to promoting healthy, happy families. The internet is also an amazing resource and can provide easy information at your fingertips.
Here at Family Court Direct, we have decades of experience in preparing family law documents, and we can also help direct you to the right resources for all you family law needs.