There are many issues that immediately come to mind when the time comes to dissolve your marriage. Some are very obvious, such as child custody, child support, spousal support and property division, however, other issues aren’t quite so blatant.
For instance, many times I am approached by a client or prospective client who says, “We agree on custody and visitation”. So my next question, of course, is for him or her to spell out the agreement. And while the general framework is there, the details are often missing. “We want 50/50 custody”. Right. What does that look like? Are you alternating days? Weeks? Some other formula? Also, what times will custodial exchanges be? Oftentimes, this is easy if school is in session. Pick up and drop offs are at school. What happens when school is not in session? Or if there is a school holiday? These are very important questions to ponder, and the parties’ work schedules can have a significant impact on the answers. Another detail often left out is the division of holidays, both religious and secular. The “Big Ones” are always accounted for, but what about Monday holidays (Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, etc)? Who is responsible when Sally or Johnny are not in school on these holidays?
Another big issue usually revolves around the family residence. Say one party or the other wants to stay in the house. The question most often overlooked is, can he or she afford to maintain that house now that there are two households being supported? This poses a significant problem in most situations, whether both spouses work or only one works, and is often not thoroughly thought out.
Finally, parties have, of late, been having issues regarding the family pets. Who cares for them? Who pays for this care? To whom is the pet more closely bonded? The issue has created an emergence of custody and visitation plans specifically for the family pet.
While most dissolution cases involve similar issues, how they are handled and dealt with can vary tremendously from one case to another. The attention to detail cannot be overlooked if the family is going to move forward in a healthy and positive direction.
We at The Reape-Rickett Law Firm have extensive experience in dealing with virtually every variation of the issues presented here, as well as many others that have not been addressed in this piece.