A decision to dissolve a marriage is never an easy one and rarely is amicable. Often emotions run high and run the range of hurt to anger to sorrow and everything in between. Every divorce must resolve potentially sensitive and emotion issues, such as:
- Spousal support and maintenance (commonly called Alimony)
- Division of Property
- Custody of Children
- Child Visitation
- Child Support
Divorce attorney Mike Watkins understands the physical and emotional drain a divorce can present and will diligently represent you throughout the divorce process and provide advice on how to best proceed - whatever the circumstances. Our family law practice focuses on our clients' interests and how to best accomplish the goals our clients' express.
With more than 30 years of family law experience, we have represented people in just about every type of divorce ranging from a simple, non-contested divorce to a heated, emotional contested divorce to more complex divorces, such as those involving business ownership. The decision to involve a competent divorce lawyer early in the process will greatly improve your financial and emotional well being.
Divorce Litigation Process
If a couple cannot agree on the resolution of specific issues, a legal litigation process must begin in order to achieve a divorce. While there can be some variations to the divorce process depending on circumstances, a divorce process typically includes:
The filing of documents to formally initiate divorce proceedings.
- Summons & Response
Formal notice to your spouse of your intent to pursue court action to obtain a legal divorce. The response is your spouse’s acknowledgement the divorce procedure has begun.
A formal request to the court to order some type of action prior to trial. For example, in domestic abuse cases a motion for a protective or restraining order to be filed is a motion.
This step of the process allows each side to gather information to support their legal arguments. This is a critical step in contested divorces or if you believe your spouse is hiding assets. This step includes depositions, interviews, and interrogatories.
- Hearings & Temporary Orders
In some cases there are situations that need to be temporarily resolved before the final divorce agreement is ordered by the court. These temporary orders are decided by the judge and generally remain in effect until the final decision is made at the end of the divorce process. For example, a couple cannot agree about where their children should live during the divorce process. A judge would make this determination. The most common temporary orders involve child support, alimony (maintenance) and attorney’s fees.
This is a critical court appearance in front of the judge where the case will be decided. The trial may include witnesses, friends, financial experts, psychologists, as well as other type of evidence secured during the discovery step, including financial records.
The final decision of a divorce proceeding is a judgment. It is NOT a verdict in the sense of assigning blame. Rather, it is a legal statement of the court’s ruling on all issues pertaining to the trial, such as child custody and visitation, spousal support, and property division.
The best way to protect your emotional and financial interests in a divorce is to have an experienced, competent divorce lawyer advise you through the entire process. Contact our family lawyers today to schedule a FREE Consultation to learn how we can assist you during this season of change in your life.