What Are My Legal Rights in a Divorce?

Written by mike broemmel | 13/05/2017
What Are My Legal Rights in a Divorce?
Understand your legal rights in a divorce. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Jeff Belmonte)

In preparing to file for divorce you must understand your basic legal rights. Your basic legal rights in a divorce case are divided in categories that include property and finances, children and court proceedings.


A major right in a divorce case is to receive a fair share of assets. Some states employ a community property standard that results in setting aside 50 per cent of the assets obtained during the marriage to each spouse. Other states use equitable division that allows for more flexibility in distributing assets.


A right in a divorce action is to obtain a fair distribution of the debts acquired during the marriage. An appropriate distribution of debt is made between the parties so that no spouse is unfairly burdened.


Depending on your financial status and work history, a right to seek maintenance (formerly known as alimony) exists. Maintenance allows you to receive a set payment from your ex-spouse for a specific period of time to permit you to maintain the lifestyle you enjoyed before the divorce.


One of your legal rights in a divorce is to obtain custody of your child. In most cases, courts order joint custody through which major decisions in the child's life are made jointly by both parents.

Parenting Time

If you do not have primary custody of a child born during the marriage, you have the right to parenting time. Parenting time (formerly known as visitation) is to be "reasonable and regular" to give you the ability to develop a meaningful relationship with your child.


A fundamental right in your divorce case is to be properly notified of all hearings and to have the opportunity to present your case and contentions at these court sessions.

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