Rights in a Divorce

How To Ensure Your Legal Rights in a Divorce

  • Spouses have the right to privacy during a divorce, except for court-ordered discovery.
  • An attorney can help with child custody, child support, spousal support, and property division.
  • Both parents have the right to seek custody of their children, and child support payments can be negotiated.
  • The division of marital property includes savings, business assets, and real estate.
  • Debt acquired during the marriage is also subject to division.

Divorce isn’t exactly a topic that most people go around discussing and planning for. Still, it’s unfortunate that many marriages end in divorce, and when that happens, there are a lot of legal issues to consider. In any divorce, there are various legal rights that each spouse has, and it’s essential to know what those rights are. Here are the basics.

The Right to Privacy:

It’s normal for both parties to be curious about their partner’s financial records, especially during a divorce. However, spousal privacy is a fundamental right that must be respected during the process.

Without permission, a spouse cannot search or seize the other spouse’s belongings, such as the computer or bank records. For instance, if a husband has purchased items with a joint credit card, the wife could ask to see the receipts and bills. However, she cannot access his personal emails or browsing history without permission.

There are exceptions, of course. For instance, if the spouse in question is hiding assets or income during a divorce settlement, the other party may be eligible to receive financial compensation from court-ordered discovery rules.

paper shredded with the word confidential previously stamped in red

The Right to an Attorney:

With the complexity of most divorces, a lawyer’s help and guidance are often necessary. A lawyer is the best person to help protect your legal rights and represents you in court. Here are some areas they can help you with:

Child Custody

One of the most important legal rights in a divorce is child custody. Both parents have the right to seek custody of their children.

A judge may determine what is in the best interest of the child, which may include shared custody or visitation rights. Hiring a good attorney can help you make the most of your case to ensure the best outcome for both you and your children.

Child Support:

When parents split, the court may order child support payments to ensure that a child’s living needs are met. An experienced child support lawyer can help you negotiate an equitable payment plan with your spouse so both parties feel secure in their future financial security.

Spousal Support:

Spousal support or alimony is a legal right that ensures an equitable distribution of assets and income post-divorce. The spouse with a significantly higher income will generally have to pay some amount of alimony to the other spouse.

The amount and length of alimony will depend on a variety of factors. These are determined by the court and your spouse’s lawyer.

money stuck inside gavel on top of a wooden table

The Right to Division of Property:

All assets acquired during the marriage are considered marital property. In some jurisdictions, marital assets are split equally between the spouses, while in others, they are divided according to a fault, need, assets, and income. Here’s a rundown of the most common examples:


A previously married couple’s savings, such as bank accounts and investments, are often split evenly. This would include any savings accumulated during the marriage, even if one spouse earned more than the other.

In some cases, debt accrued during marriage is also subject to division. In most states, debts are evenly split between spouses regardless of who originally incurred the debt.

Business Assets

If one or both spouses have a business, the court will typically order an equitable division of its assets. This may include property, equipment, accounts receivable, and more. If you’re both owners of the business, you may need to negotiate a buy-out agreement with your spouse’s lawyer.

Real Estate

In most jurisdictions, any real estate purchased during the marriage is considered marital property and must be divided accordingly. If one partner owns a home before the marriage, then it is still considered separate property and, thus, not subject to division. Immovable property, such as furniture or artwork that was acquired during the marriage, is also subject to division.

Divorces are never easy, both emotionally and legally. However, knowing your legal rights is an essential part of the process. Understanding your rights to privacy, legal representation, child custody, spousal support, and property division can make a significant difference during this difficult time. If you’re facing a divorce, it’s important to consult with a qualified lawyer to protect and defend your legal rights.

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