The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.

'In the USA, people break up easily and often': the expert - on the nuances of divorce from Americans

'20.03.2021'

Source: Zn.ua

Marjorie Engel is the author of The Divorce Decision. It contains tips on how to intelligently divorce, where to start and what all the next steps should be, as well as talks about the financial, legal, domestic and emotional problems associated with the breakdown of a family. There are also ways to resolve them.

Photo: Shutterstock

- About half of American families, - quoted by Engel Zn.ua, - these are the so-called difficult families. Typically, members of these families have gone through divorce. In America, 125 million people have been directly or indirectly affected by divorce. This situation even affected housing construction: they began to build more so-called studios - apartments for single people.

- What are the main causes of divorce in America?

- The reason for most divorces is the incompatibility of the spouses. This is a very broad concept. Behind it are the difference in education, and the difference in professional interests, and racial, national, religious and other contradictions. There are divorces in which it is impossible to identify a specific culprit. It's just that the spouses come to the conclusion that they are not a couple, and no longer want to live together. In some states, the law provides for divorce if the spouse cites incompatibility. In other states, more compelling arguments are needed to file a divorce: treason, insult, alcoholism or drug addiction of one of the spouses. If those wishing to disperse in these states fail to bring specific charges against each other, they sometimes manipulate the children as evidence of the need for a divorce. For example, a spouse is accused of insufficient financial support for children. Nowadays, more and more often one spouse accuses the other of sexually harassing children in order to deprive him of the right to meet with them in the future.

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- Why is it so easy and often divorced in rich and prosperous America?

“Although there is the highest divorce rate in the world (according to statistics), American society is not at all disappointed in the institution of marriage. Just Americans soberly assess the quality of their marriage. If family relationships do not satisfy them, they decide that marriage “does not work”, that children grow up in an unhealthy environment.

- How many American lawyers charge for divorce?

“If you hire a lawyer to handle the entire case, it will cost between five hundred and a thousand dollars. Much depends on the degree of difficulty of the case, on how many controversial issues have to be resolved. In most cases, a court is not needed, since disputes about the division of property, custody of children and alimony are settled among themselves by the lawyers of the divorcing spouses. But, nevertheless, divorce is always more expensive than expected.

- How to start the procedure of divorce?

- I advise those who decide to divorce, start with a search for a lawyer. Then you need to collect all the documents about your family, because the basis of a divorce is usually two problems: children and money. The documents must contain information about the source of the money received by the family budget, what was spent on it, what is the current financial situation (this includes the presence of a common house or apartment, car, furniture, valuables, securities, bank deposits) ... All this must be presented on court, because the property will have to be divided. Then you should specify the special circumstances (if they exist), such as: whether it was a marriage with a foreigner, whether there is a family business and whether there are general loans and debts. People often think that only property and money are subject to division. However, both parties may be charged with debts that the family has not yet paid.

- You mentioned marriages with foreigners. What if one of the spouses is Russian and the other is American? According to the laws of which country will they be bred?

- According to the regulation adopted in the USA, they are subject to the law on the divorce of the country and state where they currently live. Duration of residence is stipulated in the laws of each state in different ways: in some it is at least six weeks, in others - at least a year. A serious question in case of dissolution of a marriage with a foreigner is taxes, because a married couple may have, for example, their own house in New York and a privatized apartment in Moscow. In this case, they need lawyers who are familiar with the laws of both countries. And one of the main problems, of course, is the fate of children.

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- What if one of the parents intends to return after a divorce, say, from the United States to Russia, and with the child?

- There is an international agreement adopted by many countries in 1986, on the basis of which disputes between parents are resolved if a child is taken out of the country contrary to a court order on divorce and custody. In America today, young people often avoid marrying foreigners precisely because of these potential complications.

- How long does the divorce process usually take?

- Just a couple of years ...

- Wow - "everything"!

- But after all, during the process, the whole further life of the spouses and their children, and even grandchildren is determined!

- How do people get poor out of the situation who have no money to pay lawyers?

- In America, the plaintiff or the defendant has the right to defend himself. If spouses choose this path because their business is not difficult (no children, no real estate, etc.), then they just need to read the relevant literature about the laws of their state, talk to professional consultants and join one of the self-help groups where you can get a lot of useful information. Among the books I could recommend is Help for Divorces, where you can find the addresses of organizations that specialize in specific issues related to divorce.

- In America, there is some intermediate level - the so-called separation of spouses, when they are no longer a family, but not yet divorced. Tell us about this form.

- There are actually several such forms. For example, temporary separation while preparations are underway for the divorce proceedings. This does not require a formal, that is, a court-approved agreement. However, there is also a separate residence ("separation") arranged by a lawyer. This, in essence, is almost a divorce - in everything related to finance, real estate, children, values. But still almost. This form of relationship is chosen for religious reasons (if faith forbids divorce) or because of the poor health of one of the spouses (if he is fatal, is in a nursing home, or has mental disabilities). However, sometimes this form is used for personal gain. For example, spouses who come from Russia often arrange separate residence, as a result of which, instead of one family, it turns out, as it were, two. And when both parts of a broken family receive state aid, the total amount of benefits paid to them increases accordingly. In practice, however, the spouses continue to live peacefully together. This explains the fact that among immigrants the percentage of "living apart" is very high. Now such abuses are being investigated by specially appointed inspectors.

- You are so familiar with the subject that you unwillingly want to ask: have you learned so much from your own experience?

- I divorced my first husband and got married a second time. At the same time, she became the adoptive mother of the children of my second husband, and my children from their first marriage now have an adoptive father. So I really learned a lot from my own experience. What my children told me helped me understand the following: foster parents should never try to replace their real biological parents. They are a kind of "additional" parents, an additional source of spiritual and financial support for children. For example, I am friends with my adopted daughters, but I do not pretend that they call me a mother. They come to me for advice, information, help ...

- What if a man and a woman did not register a marriage at one time, but lived as spouses for a long time, and then decided to disperse and share jointly acquired property?

- Civil marriages are recognized in our country not in all states. But if you have lived for at least 7 years in a state where they are recognized, you can apply to the court to get your share of the joint ownership, as well as child support for a child born in a civil marriage.

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