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Divorce cases are those legal proceedings which occur in order to dissolve a marriage. In the past, the fault of one party had to be proven in divorce cases. Divorce cases were also much more difficult because the grounds for divorce had to be significant and often severe. Nowadays, most states will allow divorce cases on no-fault grounds, though some will still hear divorce cases on more specific grounds.
Each state creates and enforces laws regarding divorce cases. In states that have specific grounds for divorce cases, the following may be viable reasons for divorce: incurable insanity, cruelty, abandonment, felony conviction, addiction to drugs or alcohol, separation, impotency, inhumane treatment, and more. Many states also will hear divorce cases on the grounds of irreconcilable differences, incompatibility, and the like. In fact about eighty percent of all divorce cases are filed on no-fault grounds.
Divorce cases are guided and governed by the family court legal system of the jurisdiction where the divorcing parties reside. Divorce cases cannot be heard in a state other than where one or both parties has residency or where the couple was legally married. Divorce cases proceed in accordance with state law, the factors involved in the case, and the negotiations between the divorcing parties.
One major aspect of divorce cases is the division of marital property, assets, and debts. Separate or non-marital property is not typically subject to division during divorce cases. All the assets and debts that were acquired during a marriage are subject to division in divorce cases as indicated by state law. In some states, divorce cases will be subject to community property statutes. This means that all property, assets, and debts are divided fifty-fifty in divorce cases. In some states, division of marital assets in divorce cases is determined through equitable distribution. Equitable distribution states will take into account a number of factors to determine how division will be fairly determined.
Divorce cases can be pursued largely through negotiations made between the two parties. If they are able to agree to all terms of divorce, the decisions will be upheld by the court. When children are involved in divorce cases, the court must approve all terms of child custody and child support for divorce cases to be legal. In some divorce cases, a court may also award alimony to one spouse, requiring the other party to provide support as specified.
When there are disagreements in divorce cases, mediations may be used to settle discrepancies or these divorce cases may be heard in the family court. In most divorce cases, the professional help of a legal expert can be greatly advantageous. A divorce attorney is experienced in protecting the rights of individuals involved in divorce cases.
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Child custody rights may be shared by both parents or, primary child custody rights may be awarded to one parent or legal guardian. Since the 1970s the family court will award child custody rights contingent with the best interests of the child.
Child custody for fathers following a divorce is one of the most important aspects of a dissolving marriage. Throughout history the legal presumptions about child custody for fathers has changed significantly. Before the twentieth century children were regarded as the property of their father. Under common law, child custody for fathers was commonly awarded, as children were considered a father's rightful property. A major shift occurred after this period in history, as family courts came to favor mothers in child custody cases. It was presumed that under normal circumstances, children did better when placed in the sole custody of their mothers.