Divorce Attorney Hattingen Explains the Basics of Family Law

Divorce lawyers help clients navigate divorce proceedings, including splitting up shared assets and family businesses, resolving disputes over custody of children and alimony, and finalizing legal orders for support. They can also assist with modifying existing court orders.

Look for an attorney who aligns with your approach to divorce proceedings and understands your goals. They should be willing to listen and answer your questions honestly.

Child Custody

Child custody is a major issue in divorce proceedings. A court decides a parent’s rights and duties in regard to the child, including legal and physical custody.

In general, a judge decides custody on the basis of the “best interests of the child.” The courts consider many factors including the parents’ living arrangements, each parent’s abilities to care for the child and other relevant issues. A judges decision may also take into consideration the past conduct of a spouse or partner, but this only where it is relevant to the parties’ ability to act as parents.

Non-parents, such as grandparents and relatives, can also file for custody or access. This is called loco parentis and can be awarded when the Court believes it is in the best interests of the child. This can be awarded when a parent is unable to care for the child or in cases of domestic violence. A non-parent can also seek sole legal or physical custody if they have been caring for the child for some time.

Child Support

Parents may face child support obligations in divorces, legal separations and other types of family law cases. Typically, child support payments are made monthly. However, each state sets its own guidelines for how these payments are calculated and what expenses they should cover.

The basic child support amount starts with each parent’s gross income. This includes wages and salaries, commissions, overtime pay, tips, bonuses, self-employment business income, worker’s compensation, spousal support received from a previous marriage, disability benefits and more.

Many factors can affect the final child support number, including the custody arrangement and parenting time schedules. For example, if one parent has more overnights with the children, this can increase expenses for both parties. Likewise, any significant changes in either parent’s income could be grounds for a modification request. A judge will look at the evidence before making a decision on any requests for changes to existing child support orders. Ideally, both parents are able to reach an agreement on these issues outside of court.


The court may award alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance, to limit any economic impact of a divorce. This money can help a spouse who earned less money during the marriage stay at home to raise children and develop job skills necessary to become self-sufficient. Rehabilitative alimony is often awarded for a set period to allow a spouse to go back to school to get a degree or training that will increase their earning capacity.

Alimony can be temporary or permanent, and it can vary from state to state. It is usually based on the amount of time the couple was married and the incomes of both spouses. It can be paid in regular payments or as a lump sum. Like child support, it can be reviewed or modified if there is a significant change in circumstances such as the recipient remarrying or the paying spouse losing their job.

Since California is a no-fault state, neither spouse has to prove that the other was at fault for the divorce. However, a judge might consider fault in deciding how much alimony should be paid.

Property Division

Property division is the process of dividing up assets and debts between spouses during divorce. This can be negotiated between the parties through a property settlement agreement or decided by a judge during the judicial divorce process. Either method is determined by state laws and various factors.

New York is an equitable distribution state, which means that during a divorce in NY, property is not necessarily divided equally but fairly. A judge will look at a variety of factors when deciding how to divide a couple’s assets and debts, including how each party contributed to the marriage, and what each spouse needs going forward.

It’s important to identify assets and debts before starting the process of divorce. Assets can include homes, cars, bank accounts, investments and retirement accounts, art, collectibles, businesses and more. It’s also vital to determine which properties are separate and marital. Our Buffalo divorce lawyers help clients identify and classify property, and work with them to secure a fair property settlement in their case.  Steuererklärung