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Divorce, Child Custody and Domestic Violence

Divorce, Child Custody and Domestic Violence

Divorce can be one of the most stressful encounters people may face.  Emotionally and financially, divorce can be a life disrupter causing profound changes on finances, parenting and social life.

Whether it is an amicable, uncontested, situation where both parties have decided that it is simply time to move on, or a highly contentious matter with allegations of abuse, misconduct, financial improprieties, infidelity, or profound disagreements over parenting, a highly experienced divorce attorney can help to lessen the emotional and financial stress that accompanies such a major life decision.

Financially, divorce is akin to a business partnership dissolution.  That's where the business and tax expertise of the firm provides the edge you need to make sure that you are treated fairly in the process and that you receive the support and share of marital assets that you deserve. The firm has a broad range of experience in asset tracing, forensics, disposition of retirement accounts in divorce, and the unique and often complex issues that arise in divorces involving self-employed individuals and professionals. The firm also has experience in international divorce issues involving both U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens, including off-shore accounts, novel transnational choice of law matters, as well as highly sensitive, unique issues that arise in divorces involving public officials and professional athletes.

Same-sex couples face many of the same challenges in divorce, and some unique challenges. While the landmark U.S. Supreme decision in Obergefell v. Hodges recognized that the fundamental right to marry is protected by the U.S. Constitution, the hodgepodge of state and federal laws affecting that right can require novel application of legal principles that developed over time pre-Obergefell.

In child custody matters, there are three main issues to resolve: legal custody (decision making), physical custody (where the child resides and visitation rights) and child support.  Relocation issues may arise after these issues have been initially determined, when one parents desires to move to another jurisdiction. The court always retains jurisdiction to modify legal custody, physical custody and support when there has been a material change in circumstances occurring since the last custody order. 

Child support is often straightforward because most jurisdictions rely on child support guidelines in which the amount of support is determined by the income of the parties, and the cost of certain childcare related expenses such as health insurance, work related childcare, extraordinary medical expenses, and the like. The formulas provided by the child support guidelines yield a support amount that is presumed to be the "correct" amount of support. However, child support can become more difficult to determine when there are reasons to ask the court to deviate from the guidelines due to atypical circumstances such as where one parent is incurring travel costs to see the children, where a parent is providing support for the children by paying certain expenses that a court could not otherwise order to be paid, or other case specific circumstances. Additionally, determining a spouse's income can become complicated in situations involving self employed individuals, business owners, foreign sourced income, and other non W-2 type earnings. 

Domestic violence includes not only physical violence, but also emotional abuse, threats, humiliation, sexual abuse, preventing social interaction, financial control, abuse of other family members such as children, and battered spouse syndrome. If you are the victim of domestic violence, or if you have been accused of domestic violence, courts (and where appropriate, police) can offer swift and sweeping actions that can have profound effect.  Courts can issue a protective order (sometimes called a restraining order), order a spouse or partner to vacate the residence and to provide financial suppose.   

Some people are eager to find the most aggressive, "bull in a china shop" divorce attorney around. In some situations, that approach is effective but those situations are rare. More typically, clients benefit from knowledgeable, experienced legal representation that can quickly and efficiently zero in on the issues and prepare the evidence to be presented to the court. There is a difference between aggressively protecting your rights and aggressively beating up on the other side to exact some measure of revenge or satisfaction. Clients achieve greater success (and at a lower cost) when they stay focused on aggressively protecting their rights, rather than aggressively beating up on the soon to be ex-spouse. Where both sides are represented by effective counsel, matters are more likely to resolve without the stress and high costs of a trial because an experienced divorce lawyer can help clients understand what they can realistically expect from the court.  That information helps people make informed decisions and adopt reasonable positions on what to demand from the spouse.

The firm also relies on its of counsel relationship with the attorneys of Axelson, Williamowsky, Bender & Fishman, PCto ensure that all aspects of the divorce matter receive the close attention required of every divorce matter. This professional collaboration means that the firm provides comprehensive, experienced representation in all aspects of the divorce process.

Regardless of your situation, contact our firm to speak with an experienced divorce lawyer.

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