Audio file of Divorce Chapter 1 – English Version. Download, or just listen. 

Divorce - Terms and Explanations 4

Chapter 1

Grandparents Rights:

The US Supreme Court ruled in the case of Troxel vs. Granville that grandparents have no visitation rights, that parents have the right to raise their children how they see fit, and that the States cannot force them to allow grandparents visitation.

However, many States have attempted to get around this.

For example, some States will not grant a divorce until you put into your divorce papers some kind of a clause relating to visitation regarding grandparents or other persons.  Once this is stated in the divorce decree, it must be carried out.

Put in your paperwork the following statement.

The US Supreme Court ruled in the case of Troxel vs. Granville that grandparents or other persons have no visitation rights, parents have the right to raise their children how they see fit, and that the States cannot force parents to allow grandparents or other persons visitation.  Then attach a copy of Troxel vs. Granville to your divorce papers.  Click here for the pdf

The following clause in your divorce’s papers may meet this requirement and still provide you with full control as to who gets to visit your children.  However, the Judge might cancel this clause. 

We will allow visitation by the grandparents and others during the times and during the days that are congruent and harmonious with the children’s schedule and the schedule of the parents. 

This Translates too. You will allow visitation by the grandparents and others when you feel like it. 


If you or your spouse receives any inheritance during or before the marriage, then all the inheritance belongs to that spouse. 

However, if the inheritance is used to purchase an asset (like a home) or pay a bill, then that part of the inheritance is now considered a gift to the marriage and no longer solely belong to one spouse. 


Alimony also means support, maintenance, spousal support, and spouse maintenance. 

There are two types of alimony, 1) rehabilitative alimony, and 2) permanent alimony. 

  1. Rehabilitative alimony is for a limited period of time and is used to enable the spouse receiving alimony to get an education or training that will allow them to get a job.
  2. Permanent alimony is for a long period of time and can last until the spouse dies.  This kind is usually granted when the spouse is unable to work because of illness. 

Alimony laws vary greatly from State to State, and thus if you or your spouse is seeking alimony, we suggest that you get a lawyer.  Alimony will depend on how long you two were married, your spouse’s ability to pay, and the needs of the spouse receiving alimony. 

However, if you have been married for 8 years or more, and the other spouse never truly worked, you will have to pay Alimony.

Taxes & Alimony:

The person paying alimony can deduct it off their taxes, and the one receiving alimony has to report it as income on their taxes. 


  • Non-marital property or sole property is property that each owns separately or property that you or your spouse own before you got married.  
  • Joint property, community property, and marital property are property that you and your spouse attained during the marriage.  However, not all property attain during the marriage is considered joint property; this will depend on the State Laws. 

However, the following States are Community Property States, and in these States, all property attain during the marriage is considered joint property or marital property.  The States are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

Restoration of Name:

Either spouse may request that their former name be restored or that a new name be authorized.  Usually, you would make this request in the Judgment / Decree. 

However, for some States, this might require additional paperwork.  Ask the clerk if there are any additional forms that have to be filled out to have your name change or restored. 

This can require you to publish a notice of your request to have your name change in a newspaper.  The court will provide you a list of approved newspapers. 

Shop around, some of the newspapers on the list will charge $1,000 or more, where others will charge a little as $30 for the same service. 

After you have your name changed, it is up to you to notify the following agencies. 

  1. Department of motor vehicles for your driver license & vehicle registration
  2. Social Security
  3. Credit card, loan companies, banks
  4. Your employer regarding payroll, retirement account, and insurance
  5. State tax authority
  6. Voter registration
  7. Mortgage company
  8. Credit reporting companies, which are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.  They all have websites.

If you are the one filing the petition and creating the Judgment / Decree and your spouse wants their name changed, you cannot request this in the petition or Judgment / Decree for your spouse.  Your spouse will have to request it themselves in writing and submit their request to the court. 

Financial Statement:

Some States require a Financial Statement or a Financial Information sheet to be filled out, and the States that require this usually has an official form for this information. 

This sheet should list all of the debts and income of both spouses. 

Describe all the debts of both spouses.  Debts include all kinds of financial obligations, such as loans, credit cards, debit card account balances, the mortgage on your house, etc. 

List to who owns each debt and the amount owed.  When identifying credit cards or debit card accounts, only list the last 4-digits of the account and the bank’s name or issuing institution.  Do not provide the full account number.

For joint debts, both of you will remain legally obligated until your name is taken off the debt.  This is regardless of the agreement as to who will pay the debt. 

Even if you have in your divorce papers that your spouse is responsible for the debt and your spouse stops paying the debt, you will still be responsible for the debt, as long as your name is on the debt. 

If this happens to you, you will have to sue your spouse in court and show the Judge your divorce papers as proof that your spouse is responsible for the debt. 

Even if you sue someone in court does not mean that you will receive the money to pay off the debt.  What you will have to do is ask the Judge for an ORDER to have your spouse’s wages garnished to ensure that the debt is being paid. 


For joint debts, both of you will remain legally obligated to your creditors until the existing debt is paid, regardless of what you have in your divorce agreement.

You must inform your creditors of your joint accounts about your divorce.  After your divorce is over, you should send a copy of your divorce papers to all your joint creditors and the credit reporting companies. 

To protect yourself against future debts that the other party may incur on credit cards and other joint accounts, you may want to close your current joint accounts and reopen them in your separate names. 

In addition, if both your names are on the debt, you may want to consider refinancing these debts and put them only in the name of the person responsible for paying the debt. 

Plus, if you do all of this before you file for divorce, then your divorce will probably go a lot smoother and quicker. 

It would also be a good idea to write the credit reporting companies and add to your credit report that you are divorced.  This will help to prevent your spouse from opening up accounts in your name after the divorce is over. 

You can also ask the credit reporting companies to put a hold on or attach a password to your account.  Thus, if someone attempts to open up an account and do not know the password, the application should be rejected. 

The credit reporting companies are Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.  They all have websites. 


In many States if one spouse attempts to hide assets, such as lottery winnings, the other spouse gets it all. 

In the 70s, many men would be making a high salary.  Let say $1,000,000.  However, during the divorce, they would say that their income was now only $40,000, and this is why the law was changed. 


For many, for both spouses, when they file for divorce, their income drops. 

You might be living in an upper-class neighborhood, but after the divorce, you might only be able to afford a one-bedroom apartment. 

You might get the house and the car in the divorce, but you also might now be the only one responsible for the car note or mortgage.

Judgment / Decree:

The Judgment / Decree is the most important document of all the documents. 

The Judgment / Decree is the legal order from the court that ends your marriage. 

It determines the rights and responsibilities of you and your spouse. 

It also states that the court has the legal power to make the orders in your case and that you and your spouse have met the residency requirement and the separation requirement.

The Judgment / Decree will state who is given what property, who is responsible for what debts, who will pay Alimony, who has custody of the children, and what the arrangements are for child support and visitation. 

The Judgment / Decree is a document that you will have to create.  The Judge might change some of the statements in the Judgment / Decree at the hearing, and if he does, you will have to make the changes he tells you to make and then re-submit this document. 

If you are requesting to have your former name be restored or that a new name be authorized, request it here in the Judgment / Decree. 

Marital Settlement Agreement:

A marital Settlement Agreement is a contract between you and your spouse regarding what you two will do concerning the children, property, alimony, and debts. 

Since the Marital Settlement Agreement is a contract between spouses, both spouses have to sign and notarize it and then file it with the court. 

The majority of States allow Marital Settlement Agreements. However, some do not. 

The Marital Settlement Agreement is part of the: Judgment – Decree that reads “THE COURT HEREBY ORDERED THAT.”  

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