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Some Thoughts About Divorce

When it looks like a divorce is inevitable, many people don't know how to approach some very major decisions. This article tells you about some important things you should know before a divorce is filed. If your spouse files for divorce, here is some information about early decisions you might have to make

A divorce proceeding is begun with a petition for marital dissolution.  This is a specific document that is filed with the court, and it tells the court what the issues are and what the petitioner is requesting.

Sometimes both members of a couple still live in the same house at the time of the filing of a petition.  If the house is jointly owned, both members have an equal right to live in the house.  In those situations, a request to the court is made to temporarily award possession of the home to one of the parties.  It is very uncomfortable for divorcing parties to continue to live in the same residence while their dissolution matter is proceeding.

Usually, a hearing is held 28 days later to decide who should, in fairness, be able to live in the residence while the matter is pending.

A similar procedure can be done for a temporary determination of child custody.  Before the hearing in that case, however, a “status quo” order can be entered very quickly.  A status quo order requires that the children remain in their usual place of residence, continue with their normal schedule and contacts, and the like.

At the 28 day hearing, it is very important to be fully prepared to tell the judge why child custody should be ordered in a certain way.  While temporary custody orders are not permanent orders, they tend to set the trend for the balance of the case.  In other words, the person who gets custody in the temporary hearing frequently receives custody at the end of the case.

Children who are school age generally occupy the same residence and have the same custodial parent during the school week.  Most commonly, the courts are unwilling to have a child bounce from household to household while school is ongoing.  It is disruptive to the child’s education, and emotionally difficult for the child.  It is not generally a good idea to agree to divide custody equally, even while a divorce is pending, if it is during the school year.  This thought may be different for children who are younger than school-age.

In the old days, a custodial parent could pretty much move where they needed to move for employment purposes, education purposes and other reasons.  However, a CoosCounty case established a few years back that a parent may not move just because they want to.  Now, once custody has been determined, a parent who wants to move more than 60 miles must prove to the court that it is in the best interest of the child (not the parent) to make that move.

If a move is contemplated at the time of a divorce, then it should be addressed in that divorce proceeding.

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