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What can the divorce process do and not do?

The complexities of dissolution are obvious to any couple in Missouri. Whether they are of average income or are a wealthy couple, the divorce process means taking the time to consider major factors of the relationship and the intended post-divorce life. While some couples understand the constraints and limitations of the process, others believe in the process delivering the divorce settlement they desire.

During a complex divorce, it is important that couples understand that it will not proceed like those they have seen on television, the movies or in news articles referring to celebrity divorces. Additionally, each divorce is unique to that couple, so it will never be like a friend's or family member's divorce. Finally, there is little room for predictability in a dissolution. While a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can provide some predictability and security in the process, this does not guarantee a specific divorce settlement.

Divorce is good for determining the property division settlement. Whether through a legal agreement, such as a prenup, or by state rules, meaning equitable division or a 50-50 split, a couple can expect that the divorce process will help them reach a property division settlement.

Divorce is also a process that helps a couple decide on support obligations. Whether it is alimony or child support, guidelines set by the state can help the divorcing couple, no matter the complexity of the matter, reach a settlement. Additionally, the divorce process is available to help divorcing parents determine the best custody and visitation arrangement. Based on the best interests of the child, a divorce court could help a couple reach a fair and workable agreement.

On the other hand, the divorce process is unable to do certain tasks. It cannot guarantee an exact or equal division of property. It also does not guarantee a cordial relationship post-divorce. Even if divorced parents must interact because of their children, this does not mean that these interactions will be pleasant. Additionally, divorce is unable to ensure that couples will maintain their standard of living post-divorce, even if alimony is awarded. Lastly, divorce cannot help spouses resolve emotional issues. Many emotions are involved in dissolution, and it is likely that these emotions will remain long after a divorce decree is signed.

Going through the divorce process is challenging on its own. Therefore, it is important to understand how the process cannot work for you and in what ways it is limited. This can help couples better navigate the process.

Source: Findlaw.com, "What Is Divorce Good For?" accessed May 28, 2017

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Joseph J. Porzenski
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