Frequently Asked Questions
You may have heard of mediation, and wondered if that would be a way to settle your (or your loved one's) divorce case. The answer is YES! Mediation is a great tool to save you money on attorney fees, and come to an agreement that you are satisfied with. At mediation, you can have your concerns heard, and explore the best way to get a final agreement that you have had a part of crafting. Once you have that full agreement done, the judge can proceed to sign your Final Judgment of divorce, and then you are free to live your life! At mediation, I work with my clients to examine ways to achieve a positive outcome. Most divorce cases can come to a settlement agreement, and you can avoid the cost and stress of going to trial. The best new thing in mediation is Zoom. If you are my client going through mediation, we sit together in my office and participate by Zoom, and you don't have to run into your soon-to-be-ex! If you want to find out what to expect from the divorce process, call my office for a consultation appointment and I'll meet with you and explain it all.
I hear this question a lot from clients who are dealing with a divorce including parenting time issues. Of course, children don't make the decisions, the parents and judge do. But a child may be able to have input as to his/her preference. A judge may talk to a child to find out about the situations at both homes, including their relationship with the parent and with any other person in the home (like new boyfriend/girlfriend). If there are allegations about the conditions in the home, the judge will ask about that too. This child interview will not be in open court in front of the parents. The judges I've seen talk to the child do so in their private chambers, with another person present (such as the judicial assistant). There is no specific age for the child to be allowed to speak to the judge, and the statute states the court can consider the reasonable preference of the child who is of sufficient intelligence, understanding and experience. In real world terms, that usually means teens.
We often have potential clients who ask for a quick quote over the phone, but the answer is more in-depth than that. Here's the reason: The issues to be handled in your divorce are the main factor to determine the price. For instance, a divorcing couple who generally agree on how they want to divide things can do an uncontested dissolution of marriage. I make sure my client's legal interests are protected, and that my client understands the terms of the agreement, draw up the documents and settlement agreement, and file the case with the court. This is the least expensive alternative, but most cases are not that straightforward. When the parties don't agree on how to settle, the case is contested, and the fee depends on what issues there are to resolve. For a client with children, that includes parenting time, child support, and division of parental responsibility. It also influences the work to be done (thus the fee) if the client (or spouse) owns real estate, has a business, or has investments. A contested case can involve multiple court hearings, mediations, and preparation of motions and other documents. The more complex the issues, the more work required. So if you want to have an expert lawyer explain what you need to know, please call to set up a consultation appointment. What I hear again and again at the end of a consultation is, "I feel so much better, now that I understand what to expect and know what my rights are."
No, you would not be giving up the right to your share of the house value. If you want to leave, you may do so, and you'll still be able to claim your part of the home's equity. However if you have children, the issue of leaving the home is more complex. There are parenting time issues to be considered, and you should ask a lawyer the best course of action.
The unmarried mom is the natural guardian and sole custodian of the child. She can make all decisions. Unless and until a judge has made a finding of paternity, the dad's parental rights are extremely limited.
The county where the parties last lived together as husband and wife would be the proper venue to file a divorce case.