Defending Your Custody Agreement: Protecting Your Education Choices
What To Expect With Your Divorce
by Daryl Young
A divorce is a life-changing event and the way it affects you varies from couple to couple. Some divorces are simple and some are more complex and the difference between the two often comes down to how easily the parties agree with each other on certain key issues. If you are feeling confused and overwhelmed with the process, it can help tremendously to have a guide. The below summary of divorce events offers a general overview of the process.
The Separation – You don't have to live apart to divorce but most couples find that they should. Living apart while waiting for the divorce to be finalized can mean doing so with some legal orders hovering over the couple. The separation doesn't necessarily have to be ratified with a legal filing (at least, in most states) but many couples find that taking the legal approach to things lend comfort and security.
Legal Support – Each party must have their own lawyer and the sooner you act to get your own, the better. Your lawyer can help you decide what issues need to be decided now and what can wait. For example, you might want to ask for spousal support, the use of the family home, and child support during the separation period. This is accomplished using a legal separation agreement that contains temporary orders that expire upon the final decree.
Serve the Papers – It's often in your best interest to be the one who files divorce first if you expect contentious events ahead. Doing so makes it appear you have the upper hand because the petition you file is an assertion of marital rights. You will be asking that certain orders be approved and that you be legally set apart from your spouse. Your spouse, through their lawyer, replies to those assertions and either agrees or disagrees with what you are asking for. For example, you may assert that you deserve physical custody of the minor children and that your debts be divided based on the laws of the state. Some spouses will go along with what is stated in the petition and some won't, however.
Work Things Out – You cannot be divorced until you both agree on all custody, property, debt, and other issues 100%. That can sometimes take time and effort to achieve, though. In some cases, it less-expensive for couples to participate in divorce mediation and to work their way through their differences. If you are unable to come to an agreement, the family court judge will do it for you.
When my ex-husband decided to contest my choice to homeschool our children, I knew that I had to defend my right as the custodial parent. Our custody agreement gave me authority over educational decisions, but he still took me to court. I spent a lot of time working with an attorney to find out how best to handle it, and I did a lot of research on the laws as they applied. If you're trying to defend your educational choices amidst your divorce, this site may help. I've built it to share everything I learned and explain the process that I went through to secure my rights.