Tag: Family Law Attorney

Avoid These Common Divorce Mistakes in Oregon

Avoid These Common Divorce Mistakes in Oregon

Understanding common mistakes people make during their divorce can help you avoid the same traps. Your Portland divorce attorney will be your ally and can advise you during the divorce while offering advice specific to your individual situation.
Going through a divorce is stressful, and the resulting emotions are not unexpected. It’s helpful to be aware of how these emotions may impact decision-making during this time. Whether you are working through a collaborative and civilized divorce or one that is fueled with difficulty and conflict, the approach should be the same. What’s important is to not allow stress or confusion to overwhelm your decisions during the process.
Though this may be a difficult time, keep in mind that there are certain pitfalls you need to watch out for while negotiating and filing for divorce.

Rushing to Settle

It’s understandable to want to finalize a divorce quickly and move forward to end this chapter and start a new one, but this can compromise a fair outcome. Full information is essential in settling on a proposal that is the best resolution for all parties. Though it may be tempting to accept the first settlement proposed or settle before all pertinent information is available, it may leave you with an unfavorable result. Sitting down with an experienced divorce mediator may be best for both parties to work toward a solution.
It’s helpful to take your time and think through these decisions carefully while consulting your Portland divorce attorney. Once an agreement has been signed by a judge, it cannot be reversed or changed unless you go through additional court proceedings, and often only if there were assets omitted (either intentionally or unintentionally). Take the time to carefully consider settlement proposals before accepting them and work toward a resolution that is best for your situation.

Not Setting Appropriate Boundaries for Your Children

Age-appropriate communication with your children is crucial during a divorce. It can be a confusing time, and it’s important they work through their feelings and have a safe place to ask questions. It’s also essential to clarify that it’s not their fault and to provide reassurance.
Healthy communication with your children about the divorce should include balance. It’s important to not overshare or fail to prepare them by not discussing it all or avoiding the subject. Keep the conversation age-specific and avoid speaking negatively about the other parent.
Before discussing the divorce with them, take time to think about what is appropriate and what is inappropriate for them to know and set healthy boundaries. There are several books available that cover how to speak to your children about divorce, or a family therapist may be a viable option.

Losing Focus

At the time, every detail may seem critical to take to court. In the interest of not dragging out the process, select which issues are worth taking to court and which ones can be negotiated. Your Portland divorce attorney can help decide which issues fall into which category if you are struggling.
Keep the end goal in focus when making these decisions so you can secure a positive future.

Refusing to Negotiate

A common mistake in divorce is rushing the process, but the opposite can be true as well. Negative feelings or a desire to make a spouse “pay” for their shortcomings in the relationship can unnecessarily drag out a divorce.
This may not be true in each divorce, but unresolved issues or anger in some separations may lead to attempting to use the legal process as an opportunity to get even. Refusing to compromise and insisting on going to court or dragging out court appearances can cost time and money. The court may not view this favorably and it could cost you. It’s natural to be angry, but do your best to stay focused so you can focus on the best outcome for yourself.

Listening to Misinformation

Everyone has advice and opinions when it comes to a divorce, whether it’s your family, friends, or the internet. Though some of this counsel may be wise, especially from someone who has previous experience with divorce, keep in mind that a legal process requires the services of an attorney local to you who specializes in family law and how it relates to your situation. With the internet putting a lot of sources at our fingertips, there can be a lot of misinformation that will lead you astray.
An experienced attorney specializing in family law will have detailed knowledge in divorce, as well as other areas of legal practice, and can help you reach the best resolution possible. They will be your ally, help mediate, and help advise you in obtaining the best possible outcome in your divorce.
Whether you need help with legal representation or advice in separation, divorce, custody, or establishing parenting time, Warren Allen LLP is here to help. Our experienced attorneys have detailed knowledge of family law and other areas of legal practice that may arise in domestic relations. Contact us today and let our attorneys help you secure a positive future and the best resolution possible.

Forgetting to Keep Long-Term Goals in Mind

It’s easy to get stuck in the past and forget to create a plan for your future. There are a lot of factors to consider that can be overlooked when dealing with the overwhelming and immediate details. Receiving helpful counsel from professionals like a Portland divorce attorney, counselors, or financial experts may be helpful in staying grounded and creating a plan for the future. This can include protecting the future well-being of children, your mental health, property, and finances.
You may need to make a plan for parenting time, keeping your children’s best interests in mind. You may need to account for financial changes such as a change in income, the differences in separate property and marital property, as well as changes in income tax post-divorce.
Seeking the counsel of professionals, family, and friends can help you create a support team for your family, so you don’t have to go through the process alone. Having help from a knowledgeable and supportive team will help you avoid some of the common divorce mistakes.
Going through a divorce can be a difficult time, but making careful decisions and accepting the correct types of help can guide you to a more favorable future.

Your Portland Attorneys Should Be Experts in What You Need

Your Portland Attorneys Should Be Experts in What You Need

When selecting a Portland attorney to represent your interests, it’s important to choose someone who can meet your specific legal needs. Having just any attorney isn’t enough. You need an attorney who has expertise and experience in the field in which your case falls. In short, you want to hire a personal injury attorney to manage your car accident case or a family law attorney to handle your divorce.
When faced with legal problems, many people run to the first lawyer they can contact, hoping to solve the problem quickly and cheaply. This puts them at risk of overlooking quality advice from expert attorneys, and they can end up with complicated cases, wasted time, lost cases, and hefty legal fees.
You can easily avoid this if you keep one thing in mind: your Portland attorney should be an expert in what you need.
Law is an extensive practice with many technicalities, some of which are under constant change or review. You should, therefore, not expect a general legal practitioner to grasp the essentials of all branches of law fully. By selecting an attorney who specializes in what you need, you can better ensure your case is handled properly.

The Necessity of Specialization

When in need of legal representation, you have three options:

  1. You can go it by yourself.
  2. You can go with an attorney who has legal experience but in another field or as a general practice attorney. They may have dabbled in the law you require, and they understand the constructs, but they’re limited in their knowledge.
  3. You can choose to go with an attorney who is experienced and knows the ins and outs of the relevant legal field. This expert has worked in the field for years, has handled many different cases, and is prepared to deal with all circumstances.

Advanced societies thrive on expertise. This is reflected everywhere, from medicine to business to the justice system and beyond. Law is interwoven into every aspect of our society to provide justice and order.
It’s likely that, at some point, you will need to contact a Portland attorney for specific legal services, whether it’s for an injury, estate planning, or other areas. Every field of law has its own terminology, evidentiary requirements, procedures, and so forth. A legal practitioner who specializes in another field may know the basic legal implications involved, but they won’t necessarily understand the finer points of the process. That comes with training and experience. This could ultimately hurt the results of your case.
Clearly, of the options above, the best is number three. It helps to have an expert Portland attorney with a wealth of experience who engages actively with the field of law that fits your case. Let’s take a closer look at why this is your best choice.

1. The Technicalities of Law

This is why experts dominate over other professionals in the legal field. Law is a broad body of knowledge, and the better educated an attorney is in a particular area of law, the stronger the case they can make for their client. Knowledge of the technicalities of law does not come from general study. It takes years of practice to establish oneself as an expert in any area of law. During this time, the attorney gathers a wealth of knowledge, from both within and outside the field, that they can continually apply to new cases.

2. Speed

The longer an attorney spends practicing, the easier it is for them to handle new and more significant cases. Complications that could arise from a case are anticipated and dealt with even before there is a need to go to court. Unlike a general attorney, an expert does not have to take a refresher course to prepare for your case, as they are constantly engaging with that particular field of law.
In fact, often, general legal practitioners would still request the services of an expert attorney. Cut out the middleman and reduce costs by choosing a qualified expert Portland attorney for your case.

3. Legal Advice

Expert Portland attorneys are adept at providing the information needed to make your case. They can tell you what you need to gather or overlook; sometimes, it can be the smallest of details that you may consider insignificant. Because they are constantly working in their field, they have seen details from previous cases that could either make or destroy a case. They can point out areas where you need redress and weed out anything that would make your case appear weak. Non-experts do not have that level of knowledge and can mishandle your case by missing small but otherwise significant details in a case.

4. Command of Power

Expert attorneys command respect because of the record of expertise behind their names. Communication written by an expert Portland attorney carries more weight than one from a general legal practitioner, just as a recommendation from a neurosurgeon on brain surgery carries more weight than that of a general medical practitioner. An expert attorney is also easily recognized and more respected in professional circles than general attorneys. Expert attorneys have the benefit of belonging to a network of other expert legal professionals.
Each field of law involves many technicalities. When you choose to use the services of an attorney who has established a record of experience and training concerning the area of law where you need help, you are putting your case in the hands of an expert who can help you get the results you deserve. If you’re looking for a personal injury or family law attorney, look no further than Warren Allen. Within our team, you’ll work with an expert Portland attorney who suits your specific needs. Contact us today.

Man signing legal paperwork with happy woman and child. Adoption concept.

What Does an Adoption Lawyer Do?

When you decide that adoption is the right choice for your family, there are a series of steps that need to be taken. Finding an agency, choosing your child, and being matched with them are just a few. One of the steps people often overlook is the need to hire an adoption lawyer. An adoption lawyer is a legal professional who specializes in adoption-related services pertaining to law. Finding an adoption lawyer in Portland, Oregon, is as easy as finding a firm that deals with family law. Warren Allen LLP has lawyers that deal specifically with familial issues, such as issues regarding custody and adoptions.

Though it may seem like a cut-and-dry situation, adopting a child actually involves a large amount of legal work. Because there are so many things at stake when it comes to adoption, it’s best to hire someone who is familiar with and can walk you through any legal requirements necessary. They can assist you in making the decisions that will help you to expand your family and have a positive adoption experience.

Here are just a few of the things that adoption lawyers do.

Help Find an Agency

Adoption lawyers can assist you in even the earliest steps of the adoption process. That can include finding the best adoption agency in the area. An adoption agency is a licensed establishment that can let you place or adopt a child. A good adoption agency will assist your adoption lawyer in making the adoption process as easy as possible, and an established adoption lawyer will have good working relationships with local agencies.

The need to find an agency can be for prospective adoptive parents as well as parents looking to place a child with a prospective family. An agency can help you through this process, but an adoption lawyer can protect you and all of your legal rights before, during, and after. Having both an adoption agency and an adoption lawyer is the most popular and secure way that people move through the adoption process.

Complete Identified Adoptions

Not all adoptions happen in the same way. In some instances, families decide that they want to bring a child into their family without knowing who the child is beforehand. On the other hand, some families have already matched with a birth mother and don’t need the help of an adoption agency to place a child in their care. This can happen when the child is a distant member of a family or the child of a close friend. These types of situations are called identified adoption and require the help of an adoption lawyer to make them official.

Another form of identified adoption can involve stepparents. In some cases, a stepparent may wish to be the legal guardian of their stepchild through adoption. Despite the child being identified already, having an adoption lawyer can still work in your favor. They can assist you in collecting the proper paperwork and notifying the child’s birth parent, as well as represent you if you end up going to court.

Take Care of Paperwork

When you decide that adoption is the right choice for your family, you’ll need to fill out a variety of paperwork to make it official. Having all the necessary paperwork and filling it out correctly is what can officially establish someone as a parent. Not doing so can cause issues or delay the completion of your adoption. With the help of your adoption lawyer, you’ll be able to collect the proper paperwork and have it well organized by the time you need to present it.

One thing that people often overlook is the need to have an adoption lawyer even when you’re doing an identified adoption. Though you’ll skip the need to enlist an adoption agency to work on your behalf, there are still many legal steps you’ll need to take to secure adoption. Since that paperwork can differ from what is needed for traditional adoption, adoption lawyers can help you gather and present those documents as well.

Walk You Through the Requirements

There are various requirements that a prospective adoptive parent must meet in order to move forward. These conditions are different depending on the type of adoption you’re looking into. For instance, if you’re adopting a child from out of the country, families will need to be found eligible by not only US federal and state laws, but also the laws of the country you’re intending to adopt from.

Some of the other requirements include being a US citizen, being at least 25 years of age if you’re unmarried, and jointly adopting as a couple if you are married. You must also meet certain requirements that determine your suitability. These will require background checks, home studies, and fingerprinting. An adoption lawyer can help you understand the requirements and make sure you meet them all before attempting to move forward.

Provide Legal Council

No matter how you choose to move forward with the adoption process, you’ll likely face some challenging decisions. Those decisions will have consequences that can affect the adoption process now or later down the line. To make sure that your wishes are properly stated and that things go the way you’ve planned, it can be helpful to have an adoption lawyer speaking on your behalf. Adoption lawyers are familiar with the ins and outs of adoption law and can guide you in a direction that avoids any potential delays. Adoption lawyers can also provide legal services such as speaking on your behalf. Depending on the situation, you may need to go to court to complete your adoption process.

Assist You With Other Family Legal Issues

A great benefit to finding a good adoption lawyer is that they are usually well versed in other family law issues. Situations such as divorce, establishing paternity, separations, and custody all fall under the arena of family law, and establishing a good relationship with them now could make it easier for you to get their help in the future. Warren Allen LLP has a variety of lawyers in Portland, Oregon, that can assist with both adoption and other familial legal issues.

Woman signing legal documents with man and young girl watching.

What Falls Under Family Law in Portland?

Life can get relatively complicated, but sorting out legal issues related to family law in Portland shouldn’t be something that is overly complicated. Finding the right representation for your issue is key, and at Warren Allen LLP, we provide the best and most solid legal counsel we can. Whether you’re looking to adopt and need some legal guidance through the process or you’re getting ready to tie the knot and want to discuss your options when it comes to prenuptial agreements, we can help. If you’re seeking a legal separation, an annulment to your marriage, or even a divorce, Warren Allen LLP is here to help.

For other issues, such as guardianship, conservatorship, or domestic violence issues, there is someone here who can help you sort through the process and the impending legal framework. For more information about what falls under family law in Portland, Oregon, please keep reading.

Children & Families

Relationships in a domestic setting take a lot of work. When things don’t go as anticipated and new situations arise, a competent attorney can help you and your loved ones navigate the path. If you’ve recently dealt with a divorce and now need to figure out custody and visitation, a legal representative can make sure that you’re securing the results that are best for you and your family.
For other issues that fall under the umbrella of children and families, you’ll find assistance with parenting plans, birth through three, child support, the enforcement of parenting plans, parental education, adoption, mediation, temporary orders, and supervised parenting time.

Divorce, Separation & Annulment

If you were recently married and you’ve realized that it’s not going to work out in the long run, and you’re within the required time period, you can sometimes get an annulment from the courts. A family law attorney can help you with this.

If you’ve been married long enough that you need to take a different course of action, you have the choice to either separate or divorce. A legal separation might be issued in the place of a divorce for a variety of reasons, including if one party wishes to remain on the spouse’s insurance plan, if there is a moral or religious reason not to divorce, if the minimum required residence (six months in the state of Oregon) hasn’t been reached yet, or if the parties don’t wish for a divorce but still do want legal help to split their property and debts, establish a parenting plan, and so forth.

Otherwise, the final option is divorce. Once the papers have been served to the receiving party, the respondent has 30 days to file a response. A divorce doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out, or vicious affair. If both parties work together, including putting together a shared custody and parenting time plan if children are involved, the process can go fairly smoothly.

Guardianship & Conservatorship

If a person is incapable of managing their own care or legal affairs, or if a child doesn’t have a legal guardian, a competent and capable adult can petition to gain guardianship or conservatorship of that person. All people applying for this role must be up front with the court about their legal background, including if they have ever had a professional license canceled or revoked, if they ever went through a bankruptcy, or if they have ever been convicted of committing a crime. A court-appointed visitor will be assigned to the case and will be involved in the case to verify that all parties are adhering to their roles.

Because of the complexity of guardianships and conservatorships, it’s a good idea to get a lawyer who can help walk you through all the rules and laws around this topic of family law.

Prenuptials

Before getting married, a couple can outline and then legally put into place an agreement that outlines their plans for their property, their debts, and other legal rights that they acquire by getting married. There are traditional rules and laws related to marriage, but a prenuptial agreement gives more power to the couple to decide what they do and do not want relating to their marriage and their legal relationship. This is especially relevant if the marriage ends in divorce or death.

In simplest terms, it’s an outline of how the couple would like things to play out should something outside of their control happen in the course of or at the end of their marriage. Relevant topics in a prenup may include the division of property, retirement benefits, savings, and even spousal support. Having an attorney work through all of the legal processes related to prenuptial agreements makes the most sense for the couple involved, as they will need to file with the court and make sure that their agreement is deemed legal and valid.

Domestic Violence

Should things escalate and your safety become at risk, always get out and away and contact a first responder. Once you’re in a safe space and you’re in need of legal counsel on the issue of domestic violence, family law in Portland, Oregon, can help you in a handful of ways.

You can file a restraining order in the Family Abuse Protection Act (FAPA), get help through the Elderly Persons and Persons with Disabilities Abuse Prevention Act (EPPDAPA), or get a Sexual Abuse Protection Order (SAPO). If there are other issues, such as stalking, an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO), or firearms restrictions, then there are family law firms that can help sort through the thick of some of these heavy topics.

There are many laws and rules that attorneys are versed in. Particularly when your physical, mental, or emotional well-being is in jeopardy, it’s best to have representation to make sure all the bases are covered and that you and your family are safe and secure. Attorney’s may also have other recourse and access to other resources to help protect you and those you love.
If you have questions or would like more information about family law in Oregon, contact Warren Allen. Our expert team can help you out.

Male family law attorney shaking hands with male client.

5 Tips for Finding the Best Family Law Attorney in Portland

When you experience a distressing situation in your family that needs potential legal intervention, looking for a family lawyer is the best way to proceed. However, choosing a family law attorney can be stressful. In the absence of adequate due diligence, you may end up with one who cannot give you the desired results.

So how do you go about choosing one? To make the process easier for you, here are Warren Allen’s five tips for finding the best Portland family law attorney without any hassle.

1. Always Go with an Expert

Family law is complex, as the interpretation of the law can change with every new case. Your attorney should be able to identify the core issues right away and provide tailored advice. They should also know the various practices and legal procedures followed by family law courts in the region.

The best way to narrow down your options to the most qualified experts is by browsing through attorney profiles available online to assess the experience of each lawyer, their educational qualifications, and the types of cases they have dealt with. You can prepare an initial shortlist and start a deep dive to assess each of the profiles in-depth.

You can start reading the blog posts and articles published by such lawyers to know more about their work. There may be a lot of general practitioners in the market, but your goal should be to find someone who specializes in family law.

You can look up their social media handles to see the type of posts they have. You can assess your lawyer by asking questions. For example, if you’re approaching a Portland family law attorney for a divorce case, ask them about the recent cases they have dealt with and the outcomes. You can also ask if they’re willing to take on difficult matters for representation. Moreover, an expert attorney will keep track of recent developments in the field of family law. So the more questions you ask, the better it will be to assess their expertise. While this may sound like a lot of work, it can give you a clear sense of whether you want to work with a particular attorney.

2. Make Sure Your Lawyer Is Easily Accessible

Your Portland family law attorney should be someone you can contact easily and receive quick responses. With many family matters, things can go from bad to worse very quickly. Having an attorney who is prompt with turnarounds can go a long way in helping you navigate through complex legal issues.

Your attorney must be able to simplify legal jargon and explain it to you in layperson’s terms. If your lawyer is bombarding you with too much jargon or doesn’t make you feel at ease about your issues, it’s probably a huge red flag. After all, family law involves a lot of complex emotions, and that’s why your lawyer must make you feel comfortable.

In addition to that, also take into consideration the location of the attorney’s office. If it is too far away from where you live, it can be immensely stressful to keep traveling for in-person meetings. Having a local attorney who is closer to home also means you can schedule more face-to-face appointments to discuss the challenges you face.

3. Know What You Want

Too many begin on a wild goose chase to hunt down a Portland family law attorney without knowing what they expect as an outcome. Plus, unsolicited advice from family and friends can make it even more overwhelming for a person to have clarity about the end goal.

If you find yourself in a similar situation, it’s time to take a step back and think. Write down the problem that you’re facing and the outcomes you’re expecting. You should also spend time thinking about the best alternative to your hoped-for outcome.

Doing this will help you find a lawyer who’s more suited to your needs. For instance, if you’re engaged in a custody battle but you don’t want things to get too heated up in the court, choosing an attorney who’s known to be too aggressive in the court may not be ideal, even though such a lawyer may have many years of expertise under their belt.

4. Be Clear About the Costs

Hiring a family law attorney doesn’t come cheap. To avoid any last-minute surprises, it’s best to iron out costs and fees right in the beginning. Usually, attorneys like to charge a retainer fee and then work by the hour, but you may have the option to work out alternative arrangements. Also, make sure to ask about any out-of-pocket or overhead costs (such as travel expenses, postage charges, filing charges with the court, etc.) that you may need to bear as the client.

Asking for discounted rates is also a common practice in the industry. Don’t hesitate to have a conversation if you think you may not be able to work with the fees quoted by your attorney.

5. Ask People Around You

Word-of-mouth references are a great seal of approval for an attorney. You can always ask your friends and family members to pass on references of lawyers they have worked with. Moreover, if you’ve worked with other attorneys, such as a personal injury attorney attorney for another matter, you can also ask them for referrals.

However, be mindful that when it comes to legal problems, there is no one-size-fits-all approach you can take. Ensure that the lawyer you choose is the right fit for you.

Working with an experienced family law attorney can help you get through challenging legal issues and give you the results you deserve. If you’re looking for a Portland family law attorney, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Our team of experienced family law lawyers at Warren Allen is here to help you overcome any challenging situation in the field of family law.

 

Petition to file for divorce form with hand with pen.

How Do I File for Divorce?

Divorce processes can vary from case to case, depending on the parties involved. Though some can be long and complicated, others can be fairly straightforward. Understanding the process of how to file for divorce can help prevent unnecessary delays and complications. Before you begin the process, be prepared by learning the basics of what steps you will need to take.

Residency Requirements

Before you get started, you must first determine residency and where to file. Most states require that you or your spouse have resided in the state in which you’re planning to file for at least six months. Some states also require three-month residency within the county where you’re filing. The residency requirements can differ from state to state so make sure you do a search of your state’s specific conditions.

Reason for Divorce

All fifty states are no-fault divorce states, though some states still provide the option to allege fault if desired. “No fault” means that only one spouse needs to file a petition, and they may do so without filing a fault-based complaint. The filing spouse may claim “irreconcilable differences” and can have the marriage or domestic partnership dissolved, regardless if their spouse consents or not.

Some states require a separation period before you can file for divorce. States such as Oregon and California don’t require such a period of separation. As each state has different requirements, it’s best to look up these specifications.

Filling Out Forms

Now that you have determined the requirements for filing, the first step is preparing the necessary documents. Often, domestic relations law provides two types of dissolution. The simplest procedure is summary dissolution, which is an uncontested divorce. The other is complex dissolution, which means the divorce is contested.

If your marriage or domestic partnership has limited issues, you may be able to file for a summary divorce. Some of the requirements include:

  • Being married for 10 years or less
  • Neither spouse is pregnant
  • No minor children involved
  • No real estate owned
  • No more than $15,000 in debt
  • Personal property values less than $30,000
  • Petitioner waives the right to alimony and temporary orders

If you don’t meet these requirements, you’ll have to file for a complex dissolution. Depending on which dissolution you choose, each requires specific forms. If you and your spouse have biological or adopted minor children, additional forms will be required.

Regardless of which procedure you use, your documents must include a petition for divorce and a summons. The petition for dissolution will outline for both the judge and your spouse what you’re asking for in the divorce. The summons is a document notifying your spouse that they need to appear in court. It also includes instructions prohibiting moving out of state with joint children and written consent required for obtaining passports for the children.

Reviewing All Forms

It’s imperative your forms are reviewed for accuracy. Though the court may have resources to help you review these forms, you may want to consider working with a family law attorney. If your forms are not in order and any of the information is inaccurate or incomplete, this can affect the outcome of the divorce.

Making sure that you have all the necessary forms to successfully file for divorce can be difficult without help. Each case has its particular needs. Do you require alimony? Division of property? Child custody? A do-it-yourself approach may affect the outcome in an undesired way. If you need legal advice and representation, contact our expert team at Warren Allen LLP. Our experienced family law lawyers are able to help with your unique situation and needs.

Filing Forms

Once your documents have been thoroughly reviewed, it’s time to file them in the appropriate county. Turn in the petition for dissolution with the Circuit Court Clerk’s office in the county where you or your spouse resides.

When doing so, you must also pay any fees associated with filing for divorce. If you cannot afford the fees, it’s possible to ask the judge to waive or defer the fees. However, you’ll have to fill out court papers documenting a low income.

Serving the Forms

Unless you’re filing for divorce with your spouse as co-petitioners, the law requires you to inform your spouse of the intended divorce. This is done by serving your spouse with copies of the divorce petition as well as all other paperwork filed with the court. This can be done by mail or by personal service.

Personal service doesn’t mean that you can personally hand the papers to your spouse. They must be served by another adult over the age of 18. Once the papers have been received, your spouse signs a “Proof of Service” or “Acceptance of Service” form (depending on the state). If your spouse refuses to sign, you can hire a private process server or pay a fee for the county sheriff to deliver them in-person.
If your spouse is difficult to locate, you can obtain an order signed by a judge that allows you to publish or post a notice that you have filed for divorce. This may include posting in the courthouse or publishing in a newspaper.

Finalizing the Divorce

After your spouse has been served, there are various options they can take. Your spouse can default, which means they do nothing, or they can file a response agreeing or disagreeing with the terms of the divorce. They have 30 days to file a response with the court.

If your divorce is uncontested, you can write up an agreement outlining the terms and fill out final forms to be submitted to the court.

If you cannot reach an agreement on the terms or your spouse contests the divorce and a compromise through mediation cannot be reached, you must ask the court for a divorce judgment. A trial date will be set and, ultimately, a judge will determine the terms of the divorce.

Having an understanding of how to file for divorce will help, but ultimately, a knowledgeable family law lawyer on your side will better ensure a smoother dissolution and potentially help you achieve your specific needs.

 

© All Rights Reserved.