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Are some divorce cases harder than others

December 5, 2017

Divorce is the process of legal termination of a marriage between spouses. Most jurisdictions in the world have assimilated divorce proceedings into their respective legal systems. Although different jurisdictions have structural differences in their divorce laws, most of them provide that legal separations have to be conducted by the mandated entities. Divorce proceedings can exert a lot of physical, emotional and financial pressure on spouses. This is due to their stressful nature involving division of matrimonial property, payment of spousal support and child custody battles.

Divorces are more strenuous than other types of cases. However, some divorce proceedings tend to be harder than others. An example of a divorce case that is more difficult than a regular divorce is where children were born out of the marriage. Multiple factors are put into consideration by courts before deciding on children’s custody. Some of the elements considered by courts in relation to child custody include the child’s preference, the child’s relationship with both parents, the physical and psychological well-being of the spouses, and the ability of each spouse to provide a stable and loving environment for the children. In practice, child custody cases can last for months before a settlement is reached. Cases involving the right to child access by a spouse can also be severely prolonged in courts.

Divorce cases where the spouses disagree on the division of property are also very difficult to conduct. In simpler divorce scenarios, spouses are bound by the prenuptial agreements they may have signed before their marriage. Prenuptial agreements are legally binding documents that are ratified by both spouses and contain guidelines relating to the division of property upon divorce. Cases where divorcing parties agree on an approach to be used in the division of assets and liabilities, are simpler and occupy less time in litigation. Similarly, cases, where the divorcing parties fail to agree on a method of asset distribution, are typically more difficult. Where the spouses contest distribution of property, courts are legally obligated to intervene and divide the property as they deem fit. This process of asset distribution may take even years before courts make a decision.

Another example of divorce cases that are more challenging than regular divorce cases are legal separations between high-net-worth individuals (HNWI). High-networth individuals are members of society whose financial valuables exceed an average sum of US$ 1 million. HNWI divorce cases entail a high degree of financial complexities: from unpaid taxes to offshore funds stashed away in tax havens. Divorce cases among such individuals are characterized by division of high-value assets and liabilities and payment of exorbitant legal fees. Owing to the high-value of assets and liabilities involved, HNWI divorce cases can outlast regular divorce cases in court. Divorce cases of this nature may also require courts to distribute indivisible assets between the parties. In some HNWI divorces, courts have to conduct investigations where a spouse may be suspected of hiding their assets.

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