Pre-marital (sometimes called prenuptial) agreements are a great way to negotiate the financial terms of the relationship between you and your partner both during the marriage and after, rather than leaving everything to the rules imposed by the State. Some issues, such as child custody and child support can't be negotiated outside of the court's authority because those are issues that, as a matter of public policy, are not allowed to be changed by the parties from what the law provides. Many people put such provisions into a pre-marital agreement, but provisions impacting custody and child support are generally not enforceable, but most everything else is negotiable and enforceable.
Agreeing on a Parenting Plan
While an "amicable divorce" may seem like an oxymoron, it's still possible to reach a divorce settlement in a peaceful way. Divorce is often the result of two people failing to see eye to eye; although if those two people can agree on treating each other with civility and respect and are willing to be transparent in their marital finances and also both want the best for their children, there's hope of an amicable divorce.
A "motion to set-aside" is a post judgment procedure that allows either party in a finalized divorce proceeding to ask the court to set aside the judgment. If the motion to set-aside is granted, the court will generally hold a new trial on the issues that have been "set aside" by the court, typically (if the entire judgment is set aside) that means all of the unresolved issues in the case. The motion to set-aside must be made within a reasonable time, not to exceed one or two years after the original judgment or order is issued depending on the basis of the claim.
When one or both spouses in a divorce have ownership in a professional practice, things can become complicated. Spouses who are partners, shareholders, or sole owners of a professional practice have likely invested a great deal of time meeting with attorneys and accountants to limit personal liability and taxes that arise from their practice. In these discussions, the possibility of divorce may have been contemplated and a prenuptial agreement or other pre-divorce plan was put into place to protect their business. Many, however, do not have any pre-divorce safeguards, which can put their professional practice at risk during a divorce.
In any divorce where children are involved, child support is a very serious issue. Whether you are the parent paying or receiving child support, you want to ensure that your child will be provided for and receive all the support and benefits necessary for them to live a healthy and happy life. While the paying parent may feel like they get the raw end of the deal, it's important to remember that this money is not for the benefit of your ex-spouse; it's wholly for the benefit of your children.
Given the number of issues that must be decided in a divorce, such as child support, child custody, spousal support (alimony), and division of assets, the divorce process can take a long time. If you and your spouse are unable to agree on some aspects of your divorce, but can agree on others, you or your spouse may be interested in filing a request for Bifurcation with the court. This is a process that can either be stipulated to (agreed with) by the two parties, or it can be made by one party over the objection of the other.
While the best way to protect your investments in divorce starts long before the divorce ever becomes an issue, i.e., through a prenuptial agreement, trust, estate planning, or other pre-divorce strategy; many people do not have such plans in place. In the absence of a pre-divorce plan, the burden is on you to prove that your investments are separate property not subject to division.
Professional athletes and their spouses face a number of complex legal issues when going through a divorce. In addition to the routine issues that arise in lower profile divorces, professional athletes have a number of other circumstances that need to be addressed.
In the aftermath of a custody battle where one parent was awarded sole or primary custody of the child, the noncustodial parent often feels devastated. Moreover, the custodial parent may use the custody award to reinforce their superiority over their former spouse. These misguided aspirations can be taken to the extreme by taking actions to establish complete control of their child's heart and mind to the exclusion of the other parent. A situation where one parent tries to influence their child's affection towards and desire to be with the other parent is recognized as Parental Alienation (PA).