How long does a divorce take?
The short answer is, it depends. It depends on if the parties agree on all issues regarding the division of property, debts and child custody. If all parties are in agreement, your divorce can be final in as little as 31 days.
Okay, I want to file for divorce. What happens next?
I will prepare your petition and all the necessary documents to be filed with the circuit court in the appropriate county. There will be a court fee for filing.
After your papers are filed and your spouse has responded, you and I will start talking about reaching an acceptable agreement with your spouse. If no agreement can be reached then we go to court.
How do I protect the marital property I want to keep?
The best way to divide marital property fairly is through a negotiated settlement agreement that the courts will find acceptable. All marital property will be labeled either marital property or separate property. The general rule is that marital assets (assets that you and your spouse obtained while you were married) will be divided equally. All property that each spouse owned separately at the time of the marriage will generally remain individual property. We will work toward a mediated settlement in which both parties are satisfied with the final property agreement. Again, if no settlement can be reached then we must go to court.
What is Maintenance?
You may know it better as alimony. It is typically awarded to a spouse who will be at a distinct economic disadvantage after the divorce, which resulted from financial and lifestyle decisions made as a couple during the marriage. There are two types of maintenance. Temporary maintenance is generally awarded when one spouse has a current need for support but is expected to be self-sufficient in a certain period of time. It is awarded temporarily to help the receiving spouse obtain a job or get required education to improve job opportunities. Permanent maintenance is like it sounds. It is awarded permanently to help the disadvantaged spouse maintain a lifestyle to which he or she had become accustomed during the marriage. It is generally only awarded in cases of a long-term marriage and where one party does not have the means to support themselves without help.
My ex is not paying the court ordered child support. What do I do?
The most inexpensive way to resolve that issue is to report to the Family Support Division of Family Services. They can help with most cases. However, relief from that service is never guaranteed to be quick. The most assured way to receive the results you are seeking is to file a Motion for a Show Cause Order. We can help you begin that process.
The father of my children has taken my kids away. Is that legal?
Unless there is an order from the court directing who has custody, the short answer is yes. Both parents have equal access to their children. As long as the other parent tells you where the child is, most law enforcement agencies will not help you. If this happens to you, seek counsel from a family law attorney immediately!