Divorce law can be very complex, and an attorney who can inform you of your legal rights and options as well as advocate for you is highly advisable. There are certain requirements that one must meet to file for divorce, and a divorce may be brought on the claim by just one spouse that the marriage is irretrievably broken (whether the other spouse agrees or disagrees).
A spouse can also bring more specific grounds for divorce including, without limitation, adultery, abuse, and/or abandonment. In every divorce case the assets and debts of the marriage must be determined and distributed. Additionally, it must be determined whether a spouse can meet their respective financial needs without the contribution of the other spouse for what is known as “maintenance,” which many confuse with “alimony”.
If there are children of the marriage then legal custody, physical custody and child support issues must be addressed. There may be occasions that a Guardian Ad Litem will be appointed to assist the court in a determination of legal and physical custody. Under certain situations attorney fees can be awarded in favor of one party to be paid by another. A divorce can involve very complex matters of evaluation assets and debts such as real estate, taxes, personal property, partnership interests, trusts, pensions, 401ks, IRA’s and certain assets will require a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). Determinations of whether certain assets and/or debts are separate property or marital property can often be issues in a divorce that have a significant impact upon the assets awarded and the debts retained.
If you have been served in a divorce action you have only a short period of time to respond; otherwise you can receive a default judgment against you. In order to preserve your legal rights contact Rudman & Smith well before thirty days after being served. Not all divorce cases have to go to trial, and often cases are resolved by informal or formal mediation and a Marital Dissolution Settlement Agreement can be entered into by the parties.
A divorce case can be contested or non-contested but all cases will have to be approved by the appropriate court. At Rudman & Smith we are well experienced in zealously advocating successfully for our clients’ interests in or out of court. Contact us for a free consultation to inform you of your rights and options.