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Family Law

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between a divorce and an annulment?

An annulment is the legal determination that a marriage is void or did not exist. A divorce is the legal termination of a marriage.

What are valid grounds for annulment?

Generally, grounds for an annulment include bigamy, consanguinity, failure to have a marriage license, failure to have a ceremony, age, insanity, intoxication, duress and fraud.

What’s the difference between a limited divorce and an absolute divorce?

A limited divorce is a court governed separation and allows the aggrieved spouse to live separate and apart and receive financial support. A limited divorce is not permanent and does not allow either party to remarry. An absolute divorce terminates the marriage and property claims and permits both parties to remarry.

What is alimony pendente lite?

Alimony pendente lite is a temporary monetary allowance awarded to the economically disadvantaged spouse pending a divorce to allow him or her to maintain the status quo to prevent financial hardship pending a final resolution of the divorce proceeding.

How does the court determine whether a spouse gets alimony and how much?

There are various factors that the court considers when awarding alimony to include, but not limited to:

  • The spouse’s ability to support
  • The time needed for the party seeking alimony to gain sufficient training or education to find suitable employment.
  • The standard of living the parties are accustomed to
  • The age of each party
  • Physical and mental condition of both parties
  • Financial ability of the party to meet both parties’ needs.
  • Any agreement between the parties
  • Financial needs and resources of each party.
  • The duration of the marriage
  • Both party’s contribution, both monetary and nonmonetary to the family.
  • The circumstances that contributed to the dissolution of the marriage.

What’s the difference between physical custody and legal custody?

Physical custody refers to the care, control, and maintenance of the child. Legal custody refers to decision making authority.

How does the court decide to whom to award custody?

The decision is based on a determination of what’s in the best interests of the child(ren). While there are statutory factors that the court considers, the court has discretion to determine any question concerning the welfare of the child(ren) and may consider any evidence which bears on the child’s well-being.