Our firm can provide competent representation with your uncontested and contested divorces from start to finish. This process will include drafting and filing an Original Petition for Divorce with the court, having the papers personally served on (delivered to) the other spouse (the Respondent).
If you have concerns about your spouse hiding or secreting the children, depleting assets or taking certain actions that could decrease the value of the marital estate; our firm can help file a request for a Temporary Restraining Order and obtain Temporary Orders. Temporary Orders can (a)provide temporary visitaiton and support for the children; (b) require assets are maintained until future division by the court; and (c) require that the spouses act civilly toward each other and not threaten or harass each other. Generally, Temporary Orders remain in effect while the divorce is pending. Temporary orders usually involve temporary custody, visitation, and support of the children, and temporary use of property and servicing of debt. It can include temporary spousal support and the payment of interim attorney’s fees as well.
In some cases the parties will not be able to resolve issues concerning the children and property without the aid of collecting additional documentation. With the assistance of our firm, we can request and exchange relevant information about the parties assets necessary to reach a fair and equitable divorce settlement. Before trial, and in some courts before Temporary Orders are issued-the parties are required to attend mediation. Mediation is a process allowing the couple to work with a neutral third party (the mediator) to negotiate and settle their conflicts.
The spouses may reach an agreement during mediation or amongst themselves and their attorneys. If such an agreement is reached, our firm can prepare an Agreed Decree of Divorce that will resolve all issues related to the divorce including provisions for the children and the marital estate. If mediation fails, the case goes to trial. At the conclusion of the trial, one of the attorneys will prepare a Final Decree of Divorce to present to the judge for signature. This will contain all of the court’s rulings and will resolve all issues pertaining to the divorce, and is binding on the parties going forward.
Establishing Paternity, Parental Rights, & Visitation
When people become parents, they automatically have parental rights and responsibilities. Generally, when the two parents cease living together and/or separate, a court needs to establish custody, visitation, and child support. Court orders that establish parental rights and responsibilities are called Suits Affecting the Parent – Child Relationship (SAPCR orders) . SAPCR orders can be part of a divorce or paternity case. Suits Affecting the Parent – Child Relationship (SAPCR orders) are also appropriate in certain circumstances in which someone other than the parent is caring for the child. If you feel as though, this situation may pertain to you-our office can assist you with exploring your legal options.
Modifying Court Orders
The parties are bound by the terms of the existing order unless modified by the court of continuing exclusive jurisdiction. After the court has signed an order pertaining to a child, that court retains jurisdiction of that case for subsequent modifications of the initial order. Over the course of a child’s life, the parent of the child may find it necessary to change the terms of child support, conservatorship, or the possession and access schedule. This firm is equipped to assist you with evaluating your case to determine if you meet the requirements for the court to modify the existing order and assist you with presenting the case to the court. Until the court modifies the order, all terms of the existing order must be met or the party failing to adhere to the terms may be held in contempt of court.
Contempt of Court Orders
Sometimes one parent may violate the terms of an existing court order. In certain circumstances, the parent following the order has relief available from the court against the parent not adhering to the order. Some examples of how a party can be held in contempt include but are not limited to: failure to make timely child support payments, timely pick up and drop off of the child, refusal of visitation and failing to adhere to the court ordered times for possession and access. Our firm is equipped to pursue and defend these types of cases.
Whether it a name change for an adult or child, our firm can assist you with obtaining a court ordered name change as well as helping you to notify the appropriate agencies to attain amended documents with your new name.