Divorce is one aspect of family law where almost everyone needs a family law attorney. Very few people ever “want” a divorce, although that is often what is said by one spouse to the other. Circumstances may make a person feel they have little choice but to obtain a divorce if they want to change their life or the lives of their children for the better. Consultation with a family law attorney can help you decide whether or not divorce is the best decision for your family.
Divorce impacts over half of American families, and the statistic may be higher if you include the blended families which often exist because of a prior divorce in subsequent relationships or marriages. Divorce is a family law reality that must be faced when a relationship is no longer sustainable due to conflicts of personalities, financial problems, marital fidelity issues, health and/or substance abuse problems, or value differences between parents where children are concerned.
When faced with a divorce people have many questions, concerns and worries. I will be able to help you address those questions, concerns and worries. I tell my clients what they need to hear, rather than what they want to hear. If you want an honest assessment from an experienced lawyer about your rights in divorce, in addition to proactive advice, consult with me. I will empower you to make informed decisions about separation and/or divorce.
Many couples separate today long before they file for divorce. They may reside together when the decision is made, and they may need to plan before one spouse has the resources to set up separate housekeeping, which could nearly double living expenses. This need is even more important when children are involved, as the one parent’s new residence could affect the school district the children attend (or force the parents to incur tuition), carpools, daycare, and medical care needs of the children. This type of planning with your family law attorney is a key element of divorce strategy, and possibly a safety issue in certain divorces.
Until approximately thirty years ago, a spouse had to prove grounds for divorce, or “fault.” Grounds for Fault in divorce cases were normally adultery, cruel treatment, or abandonment. In those days a significant amount of fraud occurred when two people just wanted a divorce, but couldn’t obtain one unless they lied about a fictitious affair or other circumstance. Then legislatures around the country, including Idaho, passed “no-fault” divorce statutes. Essentially, if you ask for a divorce, you will get one. The petitioner (person who files) must only plead that there are irreconcilable differences that make the marriage irretrievably broken. Your spouse cannot stop you from getting a divorce, but if there are children, or there is significant marital property, long and costly disputes can slow down the process.
Maintenance / Spousal Support / Alimony
While Idaho law is not overly favorable to the award of maintenance or spousal support (also called alimony) there are cases where it is appropriate and warranted. I will help you determine whether you are a good candidate for spousal support. If spousal support is appropriate in your case, I will be your advocate in establishing a fair, equitable, and reasonable maintenance schedule and payment plan that takes into account all essential facts.
Community Property/Separate Property – Property Division
You may have certain rights to any property (personal and/or real) that was acquired during a marriage, but the facts of how the property came into the marriage determine the exact extent of your rights. A consultation with an attorney is necessary to discuss these rights. Contested property in a divorce can make the divorce more expensive. This is one of the most important topics in any divorce where the parties have assets such as, a home or other real estate, stocks or securities, retirement accounts, and/or motor vehicles. Determining whether an asset is a community or separate asset is essential. These concepts can be difficult to understand and difficult even to determine in some circumstances. I can help you understand these concepts and how they relate to your particular situation. Debts, which are a community obligation, can also complicate the division of property. I can help you sort through and identify the specific issues in your situation that need to be addressed in order to arrive at a fair division of property and debt.
The most important issue in any divorce involving children is the care, custody, and control of those children after the divorce is over, and what type of contact the children will have with the non custodial parent. Children are society’s greatest future resource. Child custody, if disputed between parents, is the most difficult issue in a divorce. Child support is almost always owed by the person who does not have primary custody to the person that does have primary custody, but there are exceptions. I can help you understand how Idaho courts address child custody and support issues and prepare you to present your concerns for your children to the court.
If you seek an alternative to court – more control in divorce proceedings and a more civil tone for the sake of your children – I can assist through an alternative to litigation called collaborative law. Both parties must agree to use collaborative law as an alternative to a traditional divorce or custody case. Collaborative law requires a level of trust between the parties and a genuine wish to do what is best for each party and, most importantly, for the children. Parties who have participated in collaborative law as a way of settling their disputes are far more satisfied with the results than parties who follow the traditional litigation method.
I will be happy to discuss your family law or divorce situation with you and let you know about the services I can provide and the fees involved. Whether you are involved in a divorce, child support, child custody, or other family law matter, you need an experienced attorney you can trust. I will listen to your concerns and work hard to help you maintain your emotional and financial stability during this stressful time.