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The nature and course of one's divorce procedure is determined by a number of factors. The specific state laws applicable to a person's case will govern the course of a divorce procedure, as will the specific family court and judge presiding over one's case. The divorce procedure is also determined by the factors involved in the marriage such as an individual's previous actions and behaviors (such as abuse or other problematic actions), marital assets and debts, and children. The course of a divorce procedure will also depend on the negotiations made between the divorcing parties. A contested divorce will run a very different course than an uncontested one.
A divorce procedure will depend largely on the state laws and specific family court that hears a divorce case. Each state has adopted their own laws with regards to viable grounds for divorce, the way that property and debts are divided, and many laws regarding child custody and support. Some states have specific fault-related grounds for divorce which will govern the divorce procedure. These grounds are different in each state though some examples are cruelty, desertion, inhumane treatment, drug or alcohol addiction, felony conviction, adultery, insanity, and the like. Many states also have no-fault grounds for divorce, which do not require that a person have committed one of the above acts to constitute a divorce procedure.
A divorce procedure that does not involve kids can be largely determined by the divorcing parties, if the two can agree on the terms of divorce. When an agreement cannot be reached, a divorce procedure may involve mediations. Mediation involves a court appointed or privately hired neutral third party who is trained to help divorcing parties determine the terms of a divorce. These mediators can facilitate a divorce procedure involving only division of marital assets or a divorce procedure involving children.
When the terms of divorce are contested by one or both parties, a divorce procedure will often enter the family court system and the case will be heard by a judge. The judge will direct the course of a divorce procedure to determine the best way to settle the terms of divorce. The court will also have the final say in any divorce procedure involving children. A family law judge will always judge in favor of the child's best interest in all divorce procedures.The divorce procedure for the division of marital assets and debts is different depending on specific state laws. Some states have community property laws, while others have equitable distribution statutes Community property means that the divorce procedure will result in a fifty-fifty split of all marital assets and debts. Through equitable distribution, division will be determined by a number of factors in order to illicit a fair distribution of marital assets and debts to each party. When a divorce procedure involves children, the laws and specifics can get much more complex.
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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.