It’s time to file for divorce and having the right information and family law resources is paramount to a fair and equitable resolution. The Law Office of Melanie Soloman, PLLC ensures that every client is thoroughly informed of the divorce process so that the right information is acquired and resources secured to file accordingly. The process of divorce can be long and stressful, with preparation being the key to a successful filing.
Joint Petition/Complaint for Divorce
To file for divorce, an individual must petition the court for a judgment of divorce by filing either a Joint Petition for Divorce or a Complaint for Divorce, if there are contested issues. As your attorney, we draft the documents for the Petitioner, if the divorce is being filed as a Joint Petition (uncontested divorce). If the divorce is contested, meaning that there are issues upon which an agreement cannot be acquired without court intervention, then as your attorney I draft a contested divorce, known as a Complaint for Divorce.
The person who did not file for divorce, also known as the Defendant, will have 20-days from the date s/he was served to answer the Complaint for Divorce. This 2-day time period is flexible and the court will allow late filings from the Defendant. The answer will generally be an admittance or denial of the assertions in the Complaint for Divorce and ask the court to either deny or grant the request. It is common for the Defendant to file a Counter-claim with his/her Answer to the Complaint for Divorce. The process of filing a Complaint for Divorce, Answer and Counter-claim is very procedural and it best completed with an attorney.
In the early stages of the divorce process, it is common for the parties to a Motion for Temporary Orders that will address any pressing issues that require immediate temporary resolution such as child support, child custody, parenting time, and payment of routine expenses associated with the marital home and other bills. In an effort to thoroughly discuss the immediate issues, we recommend a meeting of the parties and his/her counsel prior to the scheduled court date in an effort to reach a partial or complete agreement on the Motion. This preferred method saves both parties a substantial sum in counsel fees as significant time in court has been diverted.
Discovery and Settlement
As your divorce lawyer, I will focus on discovery (evidence gathering) as well as engaging in settlement negotiations for the purposes of reaching a settlement with your spouse. Discovery, also known as evidence or information gathering, is a process by which I seek certain documents or answers to questions that will strengthen your case and aid me in negotiating a favorable resolution of the contested issues. While Massachusetts is an equitable division state, there are some instances in which the conduct of one spouse may warrant an unequitable division of the marital assets, so information gathering is extremely important.
Negotiated settlements have advantages such as empowering the parties to have more control over the outcome versus a judge who, even after a trial, truly does not know you, your family, and what is in the best interests of the parties. Many divorce clients opt to settle so that they are not dependent on the decision of the judge. With our help, you can reach a settlement with your spouse and complete your proceedings in a timely manner.
Whether you are seeking a divorce involving only you and your spouse or if there are children involved, the process can be scary and stressful. Let the Law office of Melanie Soloman, PLLC provide you with experience and knowledge to ensure your process is completed without delay and in the best way possible for you and your family.