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Terms You Should Know When Going Through Divorce

Hands of contractual parties
If you intend to divorce your spouse, you can get ahead of the game by familiarizing yourself with some basic divorce terminology. If you prepare ahead of time, you will have a better idea of what is going on when you speak about your divorce with your attorney or with a mediator. Here are some common divorce terms you should know.


A dissolution decree is the official word used for the process of divorce. The dissolution decree is a physical legal document that states the marriage is officially over. You receive the decree once the process is final.

No-Fault Divorce

Some people file a divorce for a specific fault. Faults can include, but are not limited to, drug abuse, physical abuse, adultery, and violence. A no-fault divorce is one which does not prescribe a specific reason for the divorce — the reason is generally attributed to irreconcilable differences.

Equitable Distribution

Courts will work to ensure both parties receive an equitable distribution of the marital assets. To do so, the judge will look at all assets you own jointly and divide them as fairly as possible. In the state of Tennessee, only the property you obtained during the marriage is subject to division.
The court will consider a variety of factors when dividing the marital property. First, they look at the nature of the property and how the marriage obtained the property. The court will look at the length of the marriage and at what point during the marriage the property was obtained. The court will also consider each spouse's economic and financial standing.

Spousal Support

Spousal support is also known as spousal maintenance or alimony. Spousal support is a payment ordered by the court from one spouse to the other. Spousal support is money used by a spouse who earns less than the other or who does not have sufficient employment to manage daily expenses.
Spousal support is not a guaranteed payment. One spouse has to actively pursue the support. The need for spousal support is determined case by case, and approval is dependent on a variety of factors.
First, the court will look at the pursuing spouse's current financial situation as well as his or her ability to earn an income. The court will also examine the paying spouse's current financial circumstances to determine if he or she has the capability to pay spousal support. Additional factors will also be under consideration, including the length of the marriage, the role in the home of the spouse who is pursuing the support, and the emotional and physical condition of each spouse.
If, for instance, one spouse was an at-home parent to the couple's children, the likelihood of gainful employment immediately after divorce is lower. This means he or she may take longer to find a job that will provide enough income for reasonable financial standing. In this case, spousal support has a higher likelihood of approval if all requirements are met.

Parenting Plan

If you have children, the parenting plan is one of the most important terms you should familiarize yourself with. The parenting plan is a document that outlines custody, child support, special arrangements, who will pay for what, vacations, and so on. The plan essentially establishes how each parent will share responsibilities for the care of the children.
You, your attorney, your former spouse, and his or her attorney will work together to draft the parenting plan. The plan should be the point of reference if you ever a dispute regarding the children. One or both of the parents can modify the parenting plan if necessary.
If you have any questions about the divorce process or if you need representation, please contact Martin A. Kooperman Attorney at Law.