In recent years, children have increasingly been called upon to be witnesses in their parents’ divorce proceedings. In some contested fault-based divorces, children have supplied testimony as to cruelty or adultery by one of the spouses. In other instances, children have been a part of custody matters, including offering testimony as to being poorly supervised by one of their parents and as to any neglectful conditions in the family home.
One important factor in property division in divorce is the date of valuation of the spouses’ assets and liabilities for purposes of dividing marital property. The courts must consider the date of valuation in order to establish a consistent basis for determining a fair distribution of marital property. Fixing values for different assets and liabilities at different times can affect the true value of assets and liabilities that a spouse receives.
One issue that arises in divorce proceedings is the use and possession of the family home, particularly when the spouses are living in the same house and both require use and possession of the home. If the parties have minor children, the custodial parent usually receives the right to use and possess the home in order to safeguard the children’s interest. This right is given to the custodial parent as a form of maintenance or support, in the court’s discretion. The right given to one of the spouses is limited to a specific period after the divorce, which is determined by the court. That benefit may last in some form until the parties’ youngest child no longer is a minor.
In common law equitable distribution states, the general presumption is that workers’ compensation is treated as marital property if acquired during the marriage. In pure community property jurisdictions, it is treated as community property if acquired during marriage and as separate property if it is acquired before marriage or after marriage dissolution.
Collaborative law is a method of family law dispute resolution in which divorcing spouses settle their differences out of court. The trend towards collaborative law developed from a desire to avoid lengthy legal and court proceedings while still reaching a compromise mutually acceptable to all parties. Parties to divorce, their attorneys, and any other professional involved agree to make a good faith attempt to reach an amicable settlement without going to court; collaborative practice is intended to minimize difference while working toward that resolution.