Family Law Faq
Frequently asked questions
FAQ on Family Law
What You Need to Know About Family Law
Family law is one of the most emotionally complex areas of the law, and facing such a matter can be confusing and intimidating. The best way to conquer your anxiety about the road ahead is to make sure you have a firm understanding about the processes that might be involved. That is why our team of Certified Family Law Specialists and associate attorneys have answered some of the most common questions that our clients have.
However, it is always a good idea to have a divorce attorney review any agreement before signing – even a single, minor mistake in a legal document can add time and money to the process. A lawyer can help ensure that your documents are accurate, and that you aren’t taken advantage of in any way. More importantly, should you and your ex be unable to reach an agreement, having an attorney is the most effective way to ensure that your rights and interests are protected.
Presently, most spousal support orders are designed to only last as long as your ex needs to become self-sufficient, which is typically determined based on the length of the marriage and your ex’s earning potential. In these cases, you can petition the court for a modification in the event that your ex remarries, enters into a cohabitation, or gets a new job. A significant change in your own financial circumstances may also be grounds to petition for a modification.
That said, there are circumstances in which this may not be the case. If your child becomes emancipated, support obligations end. The length of child support can be longer if the child turns 18 before graduating high school, or if he or she has a disability. Additionally, some parents may be required to pay for college expenses as part of a support order.
If the financial circumstances of you, your ex, or your child change at any time, you can petition the court for a modification – note that this will generally result in a change to the amount of payments, not an end to them.
Make an investment in yourself to get back into the workforce, brush up on your education and professional skills to advance your career, or consider opening your own business. There are a number of ways to help further your earning potential, and it is important to begin that process as soon as possible. Spousal support and child support payments can help you stay afloat in the meantime.
Therefore, if you or your children are suffering from any abuse at the hands of your spouse, you must contact us immediately. Our attorneys can work quickly to help you take swift legal action and file an Order for Protection to bar your spouse from entering your home.
If you are moving out and feel that your spouse may attempt to keep you out, you can take the right steps to protect your personal belongings. Be sure to make an inventory of all possessions that belong solely to you. This includes items that were given directly to you or family heirlooms that have been passed down to you. It is also a good idea to take a picture of these items for future reference.
Only tell them about it when you the decision to divorce is final – don’t bring it to them when you’re still in the consideration phase. Use empathy and honestly while speaking to your children about it, and keep the conversation going for however long your children need to process it – this can mean years. Be patient and willing to listen to and address your child’s feelings.
The most important points to make sure your children understand include:
- It’s not their fault
- It’s okay to feel the way they do
- They have support available to them
- You love them
- This divorce does not define them
- Marriage can be wonderful
In short, as long as you are able to prove that you are fit to provide care for your child in his or her best interests, a court will likely grant you custody or visitation in some form. The question that remains is whether this custody will be sole or joint – an answer that will be determined by the ability of your ex to also provide care to your child.
Physical custody refers to the parent who has the physical responsibility for the care of the child. Joint physical custody means that each parent has significant periods of physical custody.
In order to decide who gets the house, you, your ex, and both of your attorneys will need to determine its financial value, along with the financial value of all other assets, and evaluate each party’s ability to afford the future expenses involved in keeping the home. Bear in mind that all property will be divided equally – so if you end up getting a house with a large amount of equity, be prepared to give up other major assets.
Additionally, it is important to understand that there are a number of legal and financial steps that must be taken when resolving this matter – for example, the party that keeps the house will need to refinance it to remove the other spouse from the mortgage. Finally, should both parties agree to sell the house, the language of the property division agreement will need to include the details and timelines of the sale.