We ve all heard horror stories about divorce. It can be an incredibly long and painful ordeal. Having been a divorce lawyer for over 30 years, I have seen my fair share of feuding couples. People who are ordinarily rational and controlled become transformed during the divorce process. They become vengeful, abusive and money-crazed. This is a typical contested divorce, and that s when people start divorcing ugly. When a divorce is uncontested, the understanding is that both partners are agreeable to the terms of divorce and, therefore, have no need to prolong the process.
Not so long ago, a divorce could only be granted for a specific fault-based reason such as adultery or mental cruelty. Now most states allow “no-fault” divorce, where the spouse asking for a divorce does not need to prove that the other spouse committed some form of marital misconduct. This makes divorce a little less complicated.
Each state has different rules for splitting up property, awarding alimony and deciding who takes care of the kids and, thus, could be better or worse for you. Divorce laws vary widely from state to state, but here are some of the worst and best states to get a divorce in.
divorce states: the worst
Colorado may be a beautiful place to live, but it s a terrible place to get a divorce if you re the higher earner in a long-term marriage. In fact, it may be the worst state. Colorado has a “temporary” maintenance formula of 40% of the higher income minus 50% of the lower income that is often just carried over into the permanent award, regardless of the lower-earning spouse’s ability to support themselves or the property division. For example, Dick earns $3,500 per month, and Jane earns $1,500 per month. Dick’s temporary payment will be $650 ($1,400 – $750) per month. Here s the kicker though: If you have been married longer than 20 years, you will be ordered lifetime alimony if you go to the judge. The property split will be “equitable,” which basically means you will be at the whim of the judge.
The bottom line: Negotiate a settlement if at all possible, otherwise you will not be feeling Rocky Mountain High.
Of all the states you do not want to be getting a divorce in, it has to be the Empire State. The current laws do not allow no-fault divorce, so litigants can end up spending thousands of dollars in legal fees, and devote significant time to airing their painful and highly personal details to dissolve the marriage. It is also an outrageous use of judicial resources, especially in these tough financial times.
The bottom line: The only thing really achieved by maintaining the current law in New York is making divorces costlier, longer and uglier than they need to be. Many politicians and leaders, however, have been moving to overhaul the law and allow no-fault divorces, but until then, it s the worst state to dissolve a marriage.
What are the best divorce states for men?