Divorce can be a traumatic and devastating experience for both spouses and their children. Emotions run high, and often drive the decision-making process — rather than logic and reason. A divorce case isn’t like other cases. It is not solely about winning or losing. Rarely, does either party feel like the victor. The divorce process is often about making the best of a difficult situation, with an emphasis on minimal disruption to your life and in many cases, the lives of your children. It is important to have a knowledgeable and experienced family law attorney to guide you during this time – with an eye toward striking the proper balance between protecting your interests and navigating to a fair resolution for all involved. Some clients are best served by a restrained and conciliatory approach. Some clients need an absolute fighter. Your lawyer needs to have the experience to be both — and know the difference.
How does the process begin?
After you consult with and hire an experienced family law attorney, a divorce starts with the filing of an Original Petition for Divorce. The petition very generally outlines what the requesting party is seeking from the court. This necessarily involves matters related to the division of the parties’ assets and debts. In those cases where minor children are also involved, the issues of custody, child support, possession schedules, and rules for future co-parenting must also be addressed.
After the other party has been served and been given time to hire an attorney, the case is usually set fairly quickly for a temporary orders hearing. Temporary orders are the parties’ “rules to live by” while the case is pending. They set out how you see your children, where you live, and what bills you pay during the pendency of the case. At that initial hearing, the parties can come to an agreement, or the judge will impose those rules upon them. Your lawyer needs to be prepared to handle this type of hearing on an expedited basis. It often sets the tone for the entire case.
From there to the final hearing, the issues involved in even the simplest divorce case are too numerous to recite here. Community property, separate property, claims for reimbursement, fraud, adultery, wasting of assets are just to name a few. As it relates to children, you must ensure that a proper custody order is in place which not only addresses their best interests and the current circumstances of the parties, but one that may function to govern your interactions with and financial support of your children for years to come.
The Altman Legal team is ready to assist you – contact us.