Family law cases are always unique, with different relationships among the spouses and/or parents, as well as the different needs of the children. When spouses are divorcing and do not have children, the case comes down simply to a division of property and assets, as well as whether alimony is appropriate. While many couples agree at the outset to be amicable, inevitably divorce leads to conflict and couples spend time fighting about seemingly unimportant items because their emotions are running high. What these couples often do not realize is that while their emotions are running high, endless fighting also runs up their attorney's bill. Trying to work out as much as possible without an attorney, and trying to compromise in order to get through the process, will go a long way to getting a divorce over quickly and as cheaply as possible.
For divorcing parents with children involved, the above remains true, but with the added emotions of the children and fights over custody and visitation. Here, the children's well-being becomes the focus and both parents would be wise to put them first in order to come up with a reasonable, fair, and quick solution to end the process of divorcing.
For unmarried parents who have split up and wish to have a custody and/or child support order in place, the divorce aspect is nonexistent and the entire focus is again on the well-being of the children. For the attorneys, it generally comes down to financial resources for each parent. The courts require the use of child support guidelines that input the yearly incomes of each parent to decide which owes the other child support and/or medical support. The custody arrangement will also come into play, as the primary physical custodian will receive support from the other parent. If the couple agrees to equal physical care, which does not happen in most cases, then each parent will be responsible for a portion of the child care expenses, but the parent earning more money will end up paying the offset balance to the other parent. This amount will be far less than if the parents do not have joint physical care.
There are many considerations for parents and/or spouses when they are seeking a divorce or child support order, and often these factors are unknown to the parties until they are well into the legal process and already spending money on attorneys. The parties would be wise to meet with an attorney before getting started with the process to understand how it will work and how they can best try to save money and time.