Below are several of the most frequently asked questions by men who come to our office seeking help with their divorce, custody and support cases.
Unlike child support, the courts consider a wide range of factors when determining a “fair” alimony payment in terms of amount and duration. Important here is to early and often stress to the courts the need for non-working spouses to get educated, get into the workforce and financially support themselves to their maximum ability. Whether your spouse simply needs to update her resume or needs an entire vocational assessment, the sooner that effort begins the sooner this goal is accomplished.
Unlike alimony (spousal support), the courts determine child support by and large with a rigid set of guidelines. It is important that your income is accurately presented and that kept at the forefront is the legal requirement that both parents must financially support their children.
Our experience makes us especially adept at dealing with custody and parenting issues in divorce.
Custody is determined in one of three ways:
- The parents decide themselves what is best for their children.
- The family court counselors help parents decide for themselves what is best for their children.
- A judge imposes what’s best for “most” children.
There are two types of custody: Legal and Physical.
Legal custody is generally held jointly and means both parents share the rights and responsibilities to make decisions about the children’s residence, health and education. This includes each parent’s lawful duty to financially support the children to the best of their ability; something oftentimes overlooked at first, but important to establish early in a court case.
Physical custody is also known as “time share” — we don’t “visit” our children — is the day to day responsibilities each parent has; typically under a schedule. Time share schedules vary depending upon each parent’s work schedule and other factors. The ideal schedule is one that maximizes each parent’s available time with the children to ensure kids continue to be raised by two parents and benefit from the best that each parent has to offer. Old fashioned ideas favoring the mom have been rejected by psychological studies of divorcing kids over the past generation.
The court’s primary concern is to assure the children’s health, safety and welfare, and that they have frequent and consistent contact with both parents by ensuring that children of divorce are still raised by two parents. When you leave it up to the court to decide, you risk allowing standardized “one size fits all” formulaic systems imposed on your family. It is better for the parents to work out for themselves what truly maximizes the best of what each parent has to offer. Our 30 years of experience enables us to tailor custody schedules that fit your personal family dynamic.
Welcome to the “Hurry Up and Wait” world of divorce litigation.
Our court system is over-crowded, under-budgeted and as a result incapable of handling problems as quickly as they should be handled. The simple reason is the large number of litigants and cases the courts deal with in any given month. The unfortunate reality is that, except for true emergency situations, the courts take several weeks and sometimes months to address issues and resolve disputes that people can’t work out on their own.
Absent an early settlement, divorcing parties should expect that their case will take about a year.
Legal services are very expensive: reflected in the issues in any given case and the minimum standard of work required by law in all divorce cases.
A key factor in just how expensive the case will be is the approach and attitude of the opposing side. We can’t make the legal system inexpensive, but through a systematic approach to each case we keep litigation less expensive by comparison.
The law requires that each party support themselves and support their children to the best of their ability. When one spouse hasn’t worked much during the marriage, the law also requires that spouse to become “self supporting” within a reasonable time period. Realistically this involves either applying her skills to the full time work force or developing further skills to then enter the full time work force. We approach this dilemma early in each case so as not to lose valuable time in “encouraging” the transition to full time gainful employment.