Macry Resnik | Navigating US Divorce Law

Marcy Resnik said divorce is a significant life event that impacts individuals and families on emotional, financial, and legal levels. In the United States, divorce law varies from state to state, and understanding the nuances and procedures involved is crucial for those going through the process. In this article Marcy Resnik provides an overview of US divorce law, highlighting key aspects and considerations, and aims to offer guidance to individuals navigating this challenging journey.

Grounds for Divorce:

US divorce laws typically recognize both fault-based and no-fault grounds for divorce. Fault-based grounds may include adultery, cruelty, abandonment, or imprisonment, among others, and require proof of the wrongdoing by one party. No-fault grounds, on the other hand, are more common and only require a showing of irreconcilable differences or an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. Most states have adopted some form of no-fault divorce, making it easier for couples to dissolve their marriage without assigning blame.

Divorce Process:

The divorce process involves several stages, which may vary depending on the state and circumstances. Marcy Resnik said typically, it begins with filing a divorce petition or complaint with the appropriate court. The filing spouse, known as the petitioner, must serve the other spouse, known as the respondent, with the divorce papers. The respondent then has a designated period to respond to the petition. If both parties agree on the terms of the divorce, they can proceed with an uncontested divorce, which is generally faster and less expensive. However, if disagreements arise, the divorce becomes contested, requiring negotiation, mediation, or litigation to resolve disputes.

Property Division:

One critical aspect of divorce is the division of marital property. US divorce laws follow either equitable distribution or community property principles. Equitable distribution, followed by most states, aims to divide marital assets and debts fairly but not necessarily equally. Marcy Resnik said factors such as the length of the marriage, each spouse’s financial contributions, and their respective earning capacities are considered in determining a fair division. Community property states, including California and Texas, generally divide marital property equally between spouses.

Spousal Support (Alimony):

Spousal support, often referred to as alimony, is financial assistance provided by one spouse to the other after divorce. The purpose is to address disparities in income and earning potential, and it can be awarded on a temporary or permanent basis. The amount and duration of spousal support depend on factors such as the length of the marriage, the financial needs of the recipient spouse, the paying spouse’s ability to pay, and the standard of living during the marriage. Spousal support can be negotiated between the parties or determined by the court.

Child Custody and Support:

Child custody and support are critical considerations in divorce cases involving children. Marcy Resnik said when parents cannot agree on custody arrangements, the court will intervene to determine the best interests of the child. Factors such as the child’s age, relationships with each parent, and the ability to provide a stable environment are taken into account. Custody arrangements can be joint (shared), sole (primary custody with one parent), or a combination of both. Child support, on the other hand, ensures that both parents contribute to the child’s financial needs. State guidelines and formulas are used to calculate child support payments based on factors like income, number of children, and custody arrangements.

Legal Representation and Mediation:

Throughout the divorce process, it is advisable to seek legal representation to protect one’s rights and interests. A divorce attorney can provide guidance, negotiate on your behalf, and ensure compliance with the applicable laws. In some cases, mediation or collaborative divorce methods may be recommended, allowing couples to resolve conflicts outside of court with the assistance of a neutral third party

Post-Divorce Modifications:

After the divorce is finalized, circumstances may change, requiring modifications to the divorce decree or court orders. For example, if one parent experiences a significant change in income or if a child’s needs change, modifications to child custody, visitation, or support arrangements may be necessary. Marcy Resnik said it is important to understand the legal process for seeking modifications and to consult with an attorney to ensure compliance with the law and protect one’s interests.

Legal Alternatives: Collaborative Divorce and Mediation:

While litigation is the traditional approach to divorce, alternative methods such as collaborative divorce and mediation offer more cooperative and less adversarial paths to resolution. Collaborative divorce involves a team approach, where both spouses, their respective attorneys, and other professionals work together to reach a mutually agreeable settlement. Mediation involves a neutral mediator who facilitates communication and helps the parties find common ground. These alternatives can often result in more amicable outcomes, reduce conflict, and minimize the financial and emotional toll of divorce.

Protection Orders and Restraining Orders:

In cases involving domestic violence or the threat of harm, individuals may seek protection through restraining orders or protection orders. These legal tools restrict the abuser’s contact, prohibit them from approaching the victim or children, and provide necessary safeguards. It is crucial for victims of domestic violence to seek immediate legal assistance to ensure their safety and the safety of their children.

Parental Alienation and Co-Parenting Challenges:

Divorce can sometimes lead to parental alienation, where one parent undermines or interferes with the child’s relationship with the other parent. US divorce laws recognize the importance of maintaining meaningful relationships between children and both parents. If parental alienation or co-parenting challenges arise, it is essential to document incidents, seek legal intervention if necessary, and prioritize the child’s well-being.


Marcy Resnik said navigating the complexities of US divorce law is a challenging endeavor. Understanding the grounds for divorce, the divorce process, property division, spousal support, child custody, and support is essential for those going through the dissolution of their marriage. Seeking legal representation, considering alternative dispute resolution methods, and being aware of post-divorce modification options can help individuals protect their interests and secure a new beginning. While divorce can be emotionally and financially taxing, having a solid understanding of US divorce law can provide a roadmap to navigate this difficult chapter and move towards a brighter future.

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