The dissolution of a marriage can be a particularly traumatic event, not only for the spouses themselves, but also for any children of the union and the family unit at large. Prior to initiating a separation and divorce, knowing your rights and being prepared can save you and your loved ones an immense amount of uncertainty and stress as you navigate the process. Although each case brings its own unique set of circumstances, separation and divorce typically involve one or more of the following potential family law claims:
- An Action for Custody of any Minor Children
- An Action for Support of any Minor Children
- An Action for Alimony and/or Postseparation Support
- An Action for Division of Assets and Debts (Equitable Distribution)
- An Action for Divorce from Bed and Board
- An Action for Absolute Divorce
Although it is possible that a separation will involve additional legal issues, these are by far the most common. Each cause of action listed above involves separate legal rights and potential obligations. With the exception of obtaining an absolute divorce, these rights and obligations can be settled through agreements or resolved by litigation. To obtain an actual divorce, a lawsuit will still be necessary, even if all issues related to custody, property, alimony, etc. have already been settled between the parties without litigation. If the spouses are unable to settle their issues and litigation is involved, each claim outlined above can be litigated and decided by the court.