Frequently Asked Questions by Divorce Clients II
Can I obtain child support or alimony before the case is finished?
Yes. After your divorce case is filed your attorney can file a motion for temporary relief to request temporary child-support and temporary alimony as is appropriate in your case. Prior to the request for temporary relief, the court will require the parties to go to mediation to try to resolve the temporary relief issues if possible. It is also recommended that mandatory financial disclosure be completed prior to mediation so that mediation will be meaningful and you will be able to prepare for the temporary relief hearing should the mediation not be successful.
Can my spouse be ordered to pay for my attorneys fees by the court?
Yes. Not only can your spouse be ordered to pay some or all of your attorney’s fees but it is possible to obtain temporary attorneys fees in the same manner as you can file for temporary child support and alimony. Attorney’s fees are based upon the need of the party seeking fees and the ability of the payer party to pay fees if ordered by the court. As in the case of temporary child support or alimony it is important to complete mandatory financial disclosure before mediation and before the hearing on the motion for temporary relief. Temporary attorney’s fees are usually sought at the same time as the motion for temporary relief i. e. temporary child-support and temporary alimony.
Will I lose my rights if my spouse files for divorce before I do?
No. You will not lose your rights even if your spouse files for divorce before you do. However, sometimes it is strategically advantageous to file for divorce as soon as you make a decision to proceed. You will not be able to obtain temporary relief. i.e. temporary child-support, or temporary alimony or exclusive possession of the marital home, until you have filed for divorce. Also, the definitions of marital assets and marital debts are affected by the filing date of the divorce. For purposes of equitable distribution, for example, a marital asset is generally defined as an asset acquired during the marriage prior to the date of the filing of the divorce. Furthermore, marital debt is defined as any debtor acquired during the marriage prior to the filing date of the divorce. Filing the divorce case could thus prevent your spouse from making you responsible for debts that he has incurred.
What should I bring to the first appointment with the attorney?
The first appointment with the attorney will generally be for information gathering and not necessarily for document gathering. You will need to know the date of your marriage and the birth dates of your children. You will not necessarily be asked for birth certificates or for your marriage certificate. Because the process of mandatory financial disclosure is extensive, it would be helpful if you would gather your financial documents such as tax returns, pay stubs, bank account records and credit card statements for your first appointment. The law office of West Palm Beach divorce attorney, Stephen J. Press will assist you with filling out your family law financial affidavit and will provide you with a list of financial documents that must be provided. You will generally have about 45 days to gather your financial documents.
How long does a divorce case take?
It is difficult to give a precise length of time because it depends on whether a case is settled or if it is decided by the judge after a trial. A divorce case is started by the filing of a petition for dissolution of marriage. After the other party is served with a petition he has 20 days to file his response. If a settlement can be reached either through the mediation process or informally, a final hearing to conclude the case can be scheduled usually within a couple of weeks after the settlement agreement is executed by the parties. If a case proceeds without settlement and it must be tried by the court, a trial date can generally be obtained on the contested docket usually within about six months from the filing of the case.
The law offices of Palm Beach County divorce attorney, Stephen J. Press takes pride in its professionalism and is passionate about defending the rights of its clients. If you are ready to start divorce proceedings or would just like a consultation please call our office at (561) 833-2772 or contact us online.