Family law cases are sensitive topics where a caring attorney who is willing to put the time and effort into building a trustworthy bond can be extremely effective. Whether you are going through a divorce or separation, adoption, need to establish child support or are in need of a protective order, we can help bring you results.

Our philosophy is to use the dispute resolution process and our advocacy skills as tools in resolving our client’s business disputes quickly and effectively. We represent clients in all facets of the dispute resolution process including litigation in the court system, private arbitrations, and mediation and administrative hearings.

The essential steps in the divorce process are:

(1) The ”Petition for Divorce” is filed by one spouse, who is called ”the Petitioner”, and is served on the other spouse, ”the Respondent,” by a process server, or by the other spouse signing an Answer, a Waiver of Service, or by other legal means of Process Service.

(2) At least 60 days must pass from the filing of the divorce petition before a final hearing for divorce can be heard.

(3) If there is any disagreement on matters of custody, support or property division, these matters must be heard by a trial judge in open court, and decided, before the divorce decree can be signed by the judge. One of the spouses’ lawyers drafts the divorce decree and any other court orders.

(4) If there is no dispute about the grounds of divorce and everything has been agreed upon, a divorce decree is then proved up with  oral testimony and signed by the judge.

(5) When the final decree is signed by the judge, the spouses are divorced.

This list of steps is not all-inclusive; it is very brief and provides only a summary of the process involved. Not included is the approximate amount of time between each of the steps or the delays or additional steps that are possible because of specific details of the case, ideas the judge may have, or local rules requiring ”custody education” and mediation evaluation.

In most cases, negotiation of the divorce settlement not only expedites the process, but also makes it somewhat less expensive. Face-to-face Mediation with both spouses is sometimes used to supplement negotiation. If negotiation or mediation is successful, the resulting ”Separation Agreement” or ”Property Settlement” is legally binding on both parties. At the time of the actual divorce decree it can be presented to the judge and made part of the divorce decree itself, thus becoming a court order, enforceable by the contempt-of-court process if it is violated.