Some weddings come after a long engagement. Others come within weeks of meeting. No matter how the wedding occurred, or how long the marriage lasted, a divorce is nearly always a traumatic experience. This is especially true when there are children involved. The parents know that their time with their children will be shortened somewhat, or perhaps significantly.
During this potentially emotional time, it is a good idea to try to make decisions that are based on long-term goals and the best interests of the children. Hopefully you can come out of your marriage as a whole person with a healthy attitude, and not as a wounded individual with baggage and regrets. A skilled and experienced attorney can help you during this difficult time.
Your Las Vegas divorce attorney will take his or her cues from you. If you’d like to have the bride’s father walk her down the aisle and have the mother have that important dance with her son at his wedding, your attorney can help that happen by encouraging cooperation and long-term thinking. On the other hand, if you fear for the welfare of your children when in the care of your spouse, you may want your attorney to wage a vigorous fight on behalf of you and your children.
If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement on child custody, the court will decide for you. The court prefers joint legal and physical custody but can also award sole legal or physical custody.
- Legal custody: The ability to make decisions regarding the education, religious upbringing and important health care decisions such as those for surgeries and medical treatment.
- Physical custody: This is who the child is physically with, or where the child has his or her home. When a couple has joint physical custody, the child would have two homes.
Visitation And Coming Up With A Parenting Plans
There are a number considerations which will need to go into the parenting plan which you and your spouse agree to. If you have decided on joint physical custody, you will need to determine not only the weeks you have the children, but also who is transporting the children, how ‘late’ is late when dropping the kids off, and how to handle last-minute schedule changes.
Common types of parenting plans are:
- Joint physical custody – Every other week with each parent
- Joint physical custody – Two weeks at a time with each parent
- Joint physical custody – Six months with each parent
- Noncustodial parent – Visitation overnight every other weekend
- Noncustodial out-of-state parent – One weekend per month and summer vacation
Each parent is expected to support their children financially in terms of room and board. Child support payments can be ordered for the noncustodial parent to pay to the parent with sole physical custody. As with any formula, the result is only as good as that data that goes into it. Working with a divorce attorney is a way to make certain that any potential income deductions or additions to income are accurate.
Child Custody Modifications and Parent Relocation
When a couple is divorced, and situations change, a court-approved post-divorce modification should reflect the change. Without a court-approved modification, any changes you and your ex-spouse make will not be enforceable.
One of the times this modification is necessary is when one of the parents wishes to move a significant distance away. It is important to note that a parent with sole physical custody does not have the right to relocate and take the children to the new location, unless that parent has obtained permission from the court. Likewise, a parent who has joint custody is not permitted to simply leave the state without relinquishing joint custody. If you have joint custody, you have the responsibilities as well as the rights.
Las Vegas is in a community property state. This means that everything is divided 50/50 after its value has been determined. Some items, such as artwork, are hard to value and so those may be split. Other items are hard to split (like the family dog) and so will be awarded to one spouse and not the other. The way in which the property will be divided is very flexible, provided the end result is roughly 50/50.
For example, there are a number of ways to divide the family home:
- If the house is underwater, the couple can walk away from it, or one spouse can assume the payments in hopes that the market will improve
- One spouse can continue to live in it until the children graduate high school, at which time it will be sold and the equity split
- One spouse can keep the home and take less in the couple’s retirement savings
- The house can be sold at the time of the divorce, and each spouse buys or rents a new home
Alimony Or Spousal Maintenance
Spousal maintenance, also called alimony, has changed in many states in the U.S., Nevada being no exception. Alimony is no longer automatically permanent, and it may be a smaller amount, as both parties are expected to be self-sufficient if possible. A divorce attorney can be a valuable ally in spousal maintenance determinations. The court, of course, has the final say.
Divorce And Bankruptcy
If you are a couple with significant credit card debts, an underwater mortgage or if one spouse has a gambling or addiction problem, you may be facing bankruptcy as well as divorce. In a high-debt divorce, the court may require the higher income-earning spouse to take on more of the debt, as well as more of the assets. For example, spouse A could take the $20,000 in credit card debt as well as a car and a motorcycle valued at $20,000 combined.
Be aware that after a couple divorces, if one ex-spouse defaults on any loan payments, or declares bankruptcy, that the creditors frequently come after the ex-spouse as well. If you feel you and your spouse are at risk for bankruptcy, it is important that you discuss this possibility with your attorney, so you are protected.
Since Las Vegas is the home of the “quickie divorce” it must be easy to do – right? It may be relatively quick to get a Las Vegas divorce; however, making bad choices during the divorce process can have long-term consequences. Without an attorney by your side, will you give away too much just to get the divorce over with? Would you listen to an experienced divorce lawyer if he or she told you that your child custody battle was not likely to succeed and could damage your relationship with your children?
A skilled and experienced divorce attorney can help you make decisions that are right for both you and your children.
How To Choose A Divorce Lawyer
When choosing a divorce lawyer, make certain that he or she has a legal practice focused on divorce and family law. A general practice law firm may not be your best solution. Also, make certain that your lawyer practices regularly in the county and city in which you live. Not all courtrooms are the same, even though they are required to follow the same laws.
It is also important that you and your divorce attorney can communicate well with each other. Whether your attorney’s style is detail-oriented and unemotional, or sympathetic and with a summary-approach style, it should be one which matches your style. Together, you and your attorney will be making a lot of decisions, so it is important to communicate clearly.
To learn more about divorce in Las Vegas and arrange for an initial consultation with an experienced divorce lawyer fill out the free case review form today.