There are numerous questions that are raised during divorce proceedings. Whether the parties are represented by counsel or are representing themselves, numerous issues should be discussed.
Issues involving real property such as real estate often arise in divorce proceedings. Issues involving continued ownership of the marital residence or selling the marital residence should be addressed. Many times one party will stay in the marital home for a period of time or until the parties' minor children reach the age of majority. If the marital home is to be sold, the parties must discuss how the proceeds of the sale will be distributed. Furthermore, depending upon the time of year that the marital home is sold, the issue of which party will be permitted to write off the interest paid on the home will arise, as will the issue of which party will be responsible for capital gains taxes, if any capital gains result from the sale of the home. If the marital home is in need of repair, one or both parties may be responsible for the costs of repair to get the marital home in sellable shape.
Issues involving personal property will arise during divorce proceedings. Personal property may include:
- Bank and other financial accounts
- Vehicles, boats, trailers, and other recreational vehicles
- Retirement benefits
- Pension and social security benefits
- Stocks and bonds
The parties will have to determine which assets they will keep and which assets they will divide. The issue of whether the party owned the asset prior to marriage or inherited the asset during marriage may arise. If the party is claiming that they owned the asset prior to marriage they may be entitled to retain possession of the asset following the divorce proceedings.
Debts that the parties incur during their marriage should be divided between the parties. Some jurisdictions do not divide the marital debt in half and instead look to see whether the parties jointly incurred the debt during the marriage. The parties should present a clear and concise summary of all of their debts for a proper determination. The parties may also agree upon debt allocation.
Children and Support
Issues involving children may be among the most difficult to sort through. Some of the issues may include:
- Payment of medical expenses
Issues involving child support, spousal maintenance, and alimony arise during divorce proceedings. Depending upon the length of the marriage and the salary of the giving spouse, the amount of child support and alimony will be determined. Child support is often based upon state guidelines that may not be as negotiable as the amount of alimony or spousal maintenance.
There are numerous miscellaneous issues that may be raised during divorce proceedings. Parties must also consider:
- Life insurance. Whether the custodial or non-custodial parent will be required to maintain life insurance for the benefit of the children.
- Medical insurance. Which party is required to make sure that the children remain insured?
- Income tax. If back taxes are owed, which party will be responsible? If current or estimated taxes are owed, which party will be responsible for the payment thereof?