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When is Child Support Addressed in the Divorce Process?

The divorce process can be long and arduous. Many steps are involved in completing a divorce from start to finish. In 2018, there were 2.13 million marriages conducted and 780,000 divorces administered in the United States. Though the process may be cumbersome, it is completed regularly by thousands of Americans. When you have wrapped your head around the situation and have come to terms that a divorce would be the only solution for you, then you need to consult a divorce lawyer who will better understand the process. In the meantime, here is a summary of the basics of the process.

The basics of the process:

  1. Separation. Spouses may be required to live apart for a given duration; although, the rules vary state by state. In general, the rules for defining cohabitation and separation are fairly stern. For the most part, spouses are prohibited from living in the same house if they plan on filing on no-fault grounds. 
  2. File a Petition. This is completed after the above requirements are met. In the petition, the grounds for divorce are stated and usually a list of items that are currently shared that need to be distributed, like the vehicles or residence. 
  3. Notification. Your spouse must be either served or notified of the divorce. There are details regarding how, where, and what exactly must be completed by both parties to legalize this step and they vary state by state. 
  4. Temporary Hearing. Due to the length of the divorce process, a temporary hearing may be conducted to establish rules for child custody, child support, shared belongings, or spousal support for the transitional state. 
  5. Arrangement. This step is where belongings are divided and support and child custody is decided. This can be completed without a trial if the couple can agree on a settlement. 
  6. Trial. If the couple cannot agree on a settlement a trial will take place. Usually, there is a single judge that makes the final decision as opposed to a jury. The judge will assess evidence for various claims and award child support, spousal support, child custody, and belongings as deemed necessary. Oftentimes, the state will have a model they use to estimate the cost of raising a child, which the judge may consider when determining child support payments. 

Above is a brief synopsis of some of the steps involved in a divorce. It is highly recommended to seek the counsel and aid of a divorce lawyer Alameda County CA from a law firm like to get a better understanding of divorce and child support laws in your state.