After divorce, the rights and responsibilities of a husband and wife are contained in the final divorce decree. There are no absolute rights for both parties because the particular factors in a divorce situation determine what settlement is most appropriate for both the husband and wife. Generally your ex-wife would have the same rights as you after divorce, including a right to marital property, alimony (depending on your state) and access to the children. Neither you nor you wife can unilaterally change the rights granted in the decree; either a judge must order changes, or you must both agree about any modifications.
Right to Marital Property
Marital properties are those assets that you and your ex-wife acquired together when you were married. This may include a business, house, car, furniture and even pension payments and other wages earned. Even though the title of these assets may be under your name, your ex-wife has a right to acquire or benefit from the property. But the judge has the responsibility of determining how much your ex-wife will get from the marital property. Factors that are considered include: non-marital assets that both of you have, income, age and health and economic fault such as wastage of money.
Spousal support, also known as alimony, is a right that your ex-wife may enjoy after divorce, depending on the laws in your state. It includes an amount of money payable to her to support her for certain duration. A judge often determines how much you should pay and for what duration of time. Factors such as your incomes, education, health and age, and children are taken into consideration in determining the amount of alimony. However, you can stop paying alimony if she remarries or is cohabiting with another person. In some states, you may even be eligible for alimony from your ex-wife, depending on relevant law and your comparative income.
If you are granted physical custody of your child after divorce, your ex-wife may have a right to visit the child. Visitation can be supervised or unsupervised depending on factors such as child abuse or drug addiction on her part. However, she does not always have the right to visit at any time, visitation is according to an established visitation plan
Your ex-wife has a right to legal custody which allows her to participate in your child's life. Even after divorce your ex-wife can contribute in making major decisions that include health, education, sports, religion or marriage. Legal custody is often joint, meaning that neither you nor your ex-wife can override each other's decisions regarding the child. If you cannot agree on major decisions then mediation using an attorney or a family law mediator is an option that can be used to reach an agreement. Mediation is a process in which you and your ex-wife are assisted by a neutral party to identify ways of compromising so as to meet the best interest of the child. If mediation does not work, a court may make the final decision as a last resort, about the issue which you and your ex-wife cannot agree on.
- Findlaw: Marital or Community Property
- The Modern Woman Guide: Quick Facts About Spousal Support, Alimony and Maintenance
- Divorce Lawyer Source: Joint Legal Custody
- Just for Dads: Father Visitation Rights
- Mediate: Mediating a Custody Crisis May Be Better Than Going Back To Court; Cynthia M. Fox; 2009;