General Divorce

Making the decision to pursue a divorce is one is one of the most difficult decisions that you will ever face.Getting divorced affects everything that is deeply personal, such as the breakup of an intimate relationship, children, finances, etc. It is complex and challenging!

With my experience as a family lawyer, I can help you navigate through the Court’s Family Law system, redirecting some of the distress you are experiencing by assisting you in understanding all of your rights and options. My goal is that you begin to realize a clear path for moving forward, so that you can start the process of healing and creating a new chapter in your life.

Hiring an attorney to assist you with your divorce may seem like a costly endeavor. Many times people think that they can navigate a divorce without legal counsel, and then later on down the road they find out that their assets and debts were not divided properly, or they learn that they were not aware of all of their rights. As a result, it is possible to lose out on what you are legally entitled to or learn that you arepaying too much or receiving less than you are entitled to.Correcting these mistakes later on can be even more costly than getting it right with an attorney who can inform you of all of your rights and options from the beginning.

Every divorce is different. When consulting with an attorney, you may hear the words “contested” and “uncontested”. These terms refer to whether you and your spouse are in agreement as to all (or most) of the issues (i.e. property and debt division, child custody and child support, as well as spousal support) that pertain to your divorce. If both parties are in agreement as to how to move forward, then the divorce is “uncontested” and the parties should expect to finalize their divorce more expediently and cost-effectively. Parties should be aware that it is costly to fight. Each dispute or disagreement can significantly increase the amount of money you will spend tofinalize your matter. In either case, you need an experienced, skilled and knowledgeable advocate that can identify several options and negotiate various proposed scenarios for final resolution of the issues. To the extent that going to Court can be avoided, less time, energy and money will be expended. Typically the best resolutions occur when the parties can reach their own agreements. Doing so involves both parties giving up some of their expectations and positions.

Regardless of an uncontested or contested divorce, each case begins with the filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage at which time a Summons and Temporary Domestic Order is issued. The Temporary Domestic Order is a temporary Order that is issued by the Court and protects or freezes the status quo. Basically, until otherwise agreed upon, the parties must leave everything “as is”. That means you cannot remove your spouse from a bank account, insurance policies, etc… or remove the children from the status quo environment without an agreement from your spouse. After your spouse has been served (either formally by a process server) or informally, with your spouse signing a Waiver of Service, you can move forward to preparing and finalizing final documents (uncontested), or you can move to have Interim Orders put in place. Interim Orders allocate all income and expenses during the pendency of the divorce proceedings, so that one party cannot control the finances and leave the other party without access to the community assets.

Subsequently, both sides begin negotiating settlement terms, participate in a Settlement Facilitation (Mediation) or hire Experts to valuate any property, if needed. If no agreements can be reached, a Trial hearing may be set. Trials are very expensive and time consuming, which is why PJ Hartman will make every effort to avoid having to go to Court.

To find out more about how I can help you navigate through your divorce case and get you on your road to your new future, please contact us today at (505) 247-3335.