The dissolution of a marriage is an upsetting event. A divorce is the unwinding of a marriage and of a family and it is permanent. It is never easy regardless of whether you are the one seeking it or if your spouse has filed for it. There are financial, parental, emotional and legal consequences. You need someone in your corner who can tell you what your rights are and who is not judgmental. Lamp Law LLC is your attorney.
Starting a divorce – the petition for dissolution
To obtain a divorce, the husband or wife must petition a court for a dissolution of your marriage. Attorneys usually draw up these documents for the Petitioner (otherwise known as the Plaintiff or person filing for divorce).
The initial petition often demands much more than the Petitioner expects. Do not worry if your spouse claims that he/she cannot support herself and therefore wants you to pay all attorney fees. Attorneys often use the initial petition as a wish list.
The Respondent (also known as the defendant or the person who didn’t file the divorce) has a limited time to file an answer. The Respondent’s answer is usually brief, admitting or denying each assertion and asking the court to deny the Petitioner’s request.
Early in the process, parties may file motions for temporary orders to address any pressing issue that cannot wait until the end of the divorce. Sometimes it is for exclusive possession of the marital home, other times it is for temporary financial support or an advance of funds for attorneys’ fees.
But most parties make serious efforts to arrive at an acceptable temporary arrangement without going to court. Avoiding temporary orders will help keep down attorneys’ fees and possibly create a more favorable impression on the judge.
Discovery is the process of gathering information about your finances and/or of your children and your lifestyle that will build and strengthen your case at trial. During the discovery process, your attorney will ask you to gather information and the opposing side will be demanding that information. It is a two-way street. Both parties must provide discovery. In rare circumstances, the discovery process can be waived.
Settlement/Agreement of the Parties
It is common for cases to settle or come to some agreement. The settlement agreement has important advantages. A reasonable settlement agreement may allow you and your wife more control over your finances and how to deal with your children. Many clients prefer to avoid the anxiety of wagering their lives on a judge’s decision and agree to settle. When you know the outcome, you are better able to plan for your future. Remember, you and your spouse know each other better than an attorney or a judge will get to know you. Further, you know what you can live with and what you can do without.
Additionally, time and money considerations may lead to a settlement. You may wait one to two years for your trial, but meanwhile, both you, and your spouse’s attorneys’ fees will continue to climb. These fees normally increase dramatically as the trial date approaches.
A pretrial conference involves the attorneys for the parties and the Judge sitting down to discuss the issues in your divorce. You are not present, and the Judge gets to hear things about your particular situation from each of the attorneys. The Judge will give a recommendation as to how he/she will rule if the evidence at trial comes out just like the attorneys stated in this conference. Many times, these pretrial conferences promote a settlement without the expense of a trial.
These conferences force the attorneys for both parties to discuss the merits of the case, with the benefit of input from the judge. Often, it is during pretrial conferences that both sides fully realize the emotional and financial expenses of a trial. Afterward a pretrial conference, the two sides may approach negotiations more rationally.
Trials are expensive propositions and allows all the questions to be answered by a Judge – a person who has never sat down and talked to you. Although fewer than 5% of all divorces go to trial, this figure varies substantially according to certain factors, including salary level, length of marriage, and the whether or not both parties have a job. The length of your trial will depend on the time the court allocates and the number and complexity of issues to be decided. Your trial may last anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks.
The Petitioner presents evidence first by calling witnesses and presenting exhibits. Once the Petitioner “rests,” it is the Respondent’s turn to make his or her case. After both sides have rested, the Court may permit the Petitioner to present “rebuttal” testimony by responding to the Respondent’s evidence.
Divorce proceedings can unleash a torrent of emotions ranging from anger to anxiety to depression. But as difficult as this experience is, you cannot simply call in sick, because your (and your children’s) interests hinge on your ability to push through and make rational decisions. So, you must work to separate grievances that are meaningfully related to you and your children’s welfare from those that are offensive to you personally, however grave.
Remember that you are not walking this path alone. Lamp Law LLC will be your key advisor, but many of the pivotal considerations are not within her province. Therefore, it is usually helpful to seek advice from others whose knowledge and judgment you respect, including a therapist, counselor or confidant.
Always talk to your attorney first. Friends and family may help, but they also might pour gasoline on the fire. Knowing when to tune in also means knowing when to tune out.
Achieve Your Goals
I listen to every client who walks through my doors to ascertain his or her goals. We will create a plan together and work toward negotiation and mediation. As your lawyer, I will be a zealous advocate for your interests, and take your case to trial if it will get you the results you deserve. Don't let a judge decide your family's fate, Contact Lamp Law LLC today.