01. Family Law
What is Separation as Opposed to Divorce?
Divorce is not necessarily the best step for everyone who needs to move past his or her marriage. For those individuals, legal separation may be a better option. A legal separation answers all of the questions of a divorce, including questions about children and property. The difference is that a separation does not end a marriage. This can be a great benefit for couples or families that want to move beyond a marriage while preserving access to health insurance for a spouse, for example.
For many people, divorce or legal separation is overwhelming. During your divorce or separation, skilled legal help is essential to helping you build the next chapter of your life. During a divorce, you will be making decisions on key issues such as:
Having a skilled and knowledgeable attorney to guide you through difficult choices can help you make the right decisions for you and your children.
The question of child custody is one that no one takes lightly. Every parent wants to enjoy an unhindered relationship with his or her child, regardless of the status of the relationship with the other parent. During divorce or legal separation or at other times when a parent is asserting his or her rights, it is crucial that the parent-child relationship is protected.
Protecting that relationship calls for the assistance of a skilled attorney who understands what the court will be looking for when determining child custody and visitation.
The court always seeks to serve the best interests of the child, but how does the court determine what constitutes the best interests? Factors that may be examined include:
Who has been the child's primary caretaker?
Does one parent offer a more stable environment to raise the child in?
Would placing the child with one parent cause a major change in the life the child has known (e.g., school, access to relatives, and friends)?
When a couple divorces, both spouses need to establish new households out of the finances, assets and resources that previously supported only one household. This can be an incredible readjustment and a strain that can make the transition to a new household extremely difficult.
During such an emotionally difficult time, one needs to minimize other disruptive factors such as the possibility of having inadequate financial assets to establish a new household.
Ensuring that you receive a fair portion of the marital property is a necessity for moving on after a divorce. Having a skilled attorney protecting your best interests can help ensure that you have what you need and deserve going forward.
Skilled Negotiation Is The Key To Successful Property Division
Property division can impact other aspects of a divorce, including alimony. For example, one spouse may decide to leave the other the home in return for reduced spousal support. Negotiating these trade-offs calls for more than an attorney who knows the law; it calls for an attorney who understands how to effectively pursue his or her clients' needs at the negotiating table.
When people seek to start a family through adoption or when a child needs someone to take on legal parenting responsibilities by becoming a guardian, they need to secure the representation of an attorney who can help them navigate the bureaucratic channels that stand between them and their goal.
Expanding your family can be a wonderful experience for all involved parties, but the procedures that govern adoption and guardianship are complex and can get in the way of achieving your goals.
Committed Family Law Representation From an Attorney Who Cares
At the Craddock Law Firm, we are dedicated to helping children find loving situations where they can be protected and their needs can be met. We understand how important it is that these situations are handled well, and we bring exceptional skill that allows children and the adults who want to care for them to come together through the legally recognized and respected means of adoption or guardianship.
Individuals can assume the rights and responsibilities of a parent in many ways. We assist stepparents with securing legal recognition of their roles as parents.
When the needs of minor children are not being met, grandparents and others can legally assume the rights and responsibilities of a parent by becoming a guardian for those children. We assist people who are pursuing guardianship.
Children deserve and often need the full financial support of both parents to ensure that their needs are being met. Securing the proper level of child support is essential in a divorce and for parents who never married and are settling child-related issues such as support and child custody and visitation. Too much or too little child support can leave the child in need or the paying parent financially unstable.
Child support is calculated via a formula included in state guidelines on the matter. The primary factor in that formula is the income of both parties. Other factors include expenses such as:
A skilled attorney can help ensure that issues such as income determination for those who are self-employed do not unfairly skew the outcome of the state guideline determination.
Spousal support, or alimony as it is sometimes called, is not necessarily a part of every divorce. Spousal support is determined on a case-by-case basis. This makes it all the more important that you secure the representation of a skilled attorney who can help ensure that the court looks at the factors that matter most to your individual case.
Factors the court considers when determining spousal support include:
Can the spouses support themselves?
The amount of time necessary to get education or training to find employment
The standard of living during the marriage
Duration of the marriage
Contribution of both parties to the marriage (financial and otherwise)
Circumstances of estrangement
Physical and mental condition
Ability to pay
When people negotiate a divorce or child custody and visitation agreement, the goal is to create an arrangement that can serve everyone's needs for the foreseeable future. It can be difficult and costly to create these agreements and they need to be well thought out.
Unfortunately, even with the best possible family law agreement, circumstances can change and people may find themselves having to adhere to directions that no longer apply to their lives.
If you are confronting changed circumstances, we can help you secure a modification to your divorce or other family law agreement.
Common areas that eventually require modification include:
Is Relocation an Issue?
When a custodial parent attempts to relocate with a child, the noncustodial parent can ask the court to intervene. The court will look at whether the move will impact the quality of the relationship between the noncustodial parent and the child. The court has the power to block a move if it decides it is not in the best interest of the child.
Enforcing Family Law Agreements
In some situations, the only thing that has changed is the degree to which the other party is acting in accordance with the agreement. When this happens, we can ask the court to force the other party to comply with the agreement.
Domestic violence is a major issue that needs to be dealt with immediately whether you are the victim or the accused.
The impact of domestic violence on individuals and families is well known and the government takes this issue very seriously.
For victims, immediate help is available. Contact the police. Then pursue a protective order to help ensure your safety and that your rights are respected.
For the accused, know that an allegation of domestic violence cannot simply be explained away in most cases. You need to take the charges against you seriously and begin working to defend your rights.
If you are facing domestic violence or allegations of committing domestic violence, you need to take action to ensure that all of the legal aspects are well handled.
Whether you are facing a family law issue, employment issue, or forming a small business, a skilled attorney can help you lay a solid foundation on which your future can be built. To schedule a free initial consultation, call 410-246-2655, toll free or contact us online.