What most people call “Divorce” is also known as marriage dissolution.
A dissolution of marriage terminates the legal relationship between a husband and wife. A decree of dissolution is granted by a county or district court when the court finds there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.
However, the definition of marriage dissolution is deceptively simple considering the complexity of legally separating two lives. Depending on the rights and preferences of the two parties, all facets of the shared lives must be consciously divided or not divided. There is a great deal of gray area and some subtle distinctions that can have a major effect on the lives of the two parties post-dissolution.
Issues to consider when pursuing a divorce include:
- The division of marital property, including real estate, personal effects, investments, and retirement funds
- Child custody, visitation and child support
- Spousal maintenance
- Financial burden of maintaining two households vs. one
- Where both parties will live (Will one spouse move out of state? Will you sell your home?)
What about Prenuptial Agreements?
You may wish to sign a prenup for many reasons. Prenups are primarily used to protect assets acquired or inherited pre-marriage, but they can also protect those acquired or inherited post-marriage. Sometimes, both parties to the prenup have been widowed and want to ensure their respective estates go to children from a previous marriage—and not to their current spouse—if they die or become divorced.