Are you going through the divorce process and have questions? Check out these 3 divorce facts, then call Smith & Green today.
Going to Court for Divorce
Oftentimes people that come to us for representation in family law are absolutely terrified of going to court. They’ve never been there. They don’t like going to jury duty. They’ve never had a traffic ticket. Now all of a sudden, this big issue comes up in their lives and their main concern is less with the divorce; it’s more, am I going to have to go to court and stand in front of this judge and jury, this guy with this black robe on and these weird people in court arguing and yelling at each other.
I tell them when someone asks me am I going to have to go to court, believe it or not, I say it depends. There have been plenty of divorces that have been resolved without making a single court appearance. Those are the divorces that are more amicable; those non-contested divorces, or things that could be resolved in mediation. The court appearances are a whole lot less than those appearances that involve multiple petitions for contempt, evidentiary hearings, status hearings, return hearings, all of the various hearings that could be ordered by the court all the way up to trials. Some divorces go all the way to trial.
You don’t get a jury in a divorce trial; you get a bench trial. It’s just with the judge because of the sensitive nature of the information that is being shared. Are you certainly going to have to go to court? Maybe not, it depends on your divorce, how your divorce proceeds to the court. Is there a possibility that you will have to go to court? Absolutely, there’s a possibility, but the beauty of going to court, it’s when you represented. You’re not representing yourself. You go in with a skilled lawyer that does the majority of the talking for you, except in cases where you will have to testify. The lawyer cannot testify on your behalf; you would have to speak – be sworn in and testify, should that become necessary.
Again, in less contentious divorces, or those that are less contested, the probability of that happening is a lot less. With the highly contestable and contentious divorces, there’s a high probability that you will have to go to court; you will have to testify. It’s a case-by-case basis. There’s no definite yes; there’s no definite no. It depends on your case, but having great representation is necessary either way. Great representation can alleviate some court appearances, but it also can provide that screen of safety during those court appearances, to make sure that you’re ready when you have to make an appearance before the court.
Are you considering divorce but have questions about whether you will be required to appear in court, schedule a free consultation with our dedicated Phoenix divorce lawyers for guidance.
Leaving the Marital Home
One of the questions that we’re often asked in the context of marriage is should I stay in the house with the other party while the divorce is proceeding. I believe that out of all of the questions that can be asked of a lawyer in the context of counsel, this is one of the most difficult questions I really believe that can be asked of a lawyer because there are so many moving pieces that have to be considered in answering should I stay in the marital residence or not. The first thing that you have to look at is safety. If there is a situation in the home where there is abuse, be it physical abuse, sexual abuse, mental abuse, those are personal considerations that are personal the individual.
I would never tell anyone to stay in a marital residence if they’re being abused in any type of way. Your personal security and safety is of great importance to us as a law firm. It should be to any lawyer that would be representing you in a family law matter. If your safety is at risk, I would advise you to consider being elsewhere while the divorce proceeds.
That doesn’t mean that you lose any interest in the house that is owned or anything. The interest that you’ve acquired in the house would remain, whether you’re living in the house or not. Most of the time, vacating the marital residence becomes an issue prior to divorce being filed if someone has vacated the marital residence for some period of time. That’s the thing first thing, is your safety.
The second thing is that if the marriage involves children. In some states they call it custody; in Arizona, we call it decision-making responsibility, as it relates to the children. Where the children are; they’re safe if the two parties can live in the house together while going through the divorce, for the sake of the children. Oftentimes, this looks good in front of the court because there are certain factors that the court is going to look at when it comes down to parenting time and decision-making responsibility. The children, are they safe? Is there a lot of bickering going back and forth because the well-being of the children takes priority?
The third area I would certainly advise anyone to look at is the financial resources of the parties, based on the standard of living. If you’re used to living in a mini mansion in Scottsdale and you’re leaving the marital home and the other party is the sole breadwinner and you have no resources to move, well you’re not used to living in a Motel 6 or an extended stay. These are all things that you have to consider. The financial resources, of course, do not outweigh your safety and security.
Some of it can be addressed with temporary orders from the court, should you have to leave the marital residence and one party is the dominant breadwinner. The court can issue temporary orders, temporary spousal maintenance, temporary child support, to make sure that you have enough resources to provide for yourself, should you have to leave the marital residence. This is something that you would certainly want to talk with your lawyer about.
It’s important that your lawyer is not only interested in the legal matters and underpinnings of the court, but they have an understanding and a grasp of life, and that this is your life, it’s your family, it’s your children. This is where you’ve raised your children. Someone that is empathetic and sympathetic to the entire situation that could counsel you accordingly. An experienced compassionate attorney that cares about their clients would do just that.
If you are considering divorce and have questions about leaving the marital home, I would urge you to speak with one of our lawyers, or some lawyer that could walk you through that process with a great degree of grace and wisdom, but also representing you as it relates to the law. Call today for a free consultation.
Contempt of Court
Subsequent to divorces, lawyers are often revisited by former clients because the former spouses in the divorce proceedings have violated the court’s order. They’re not paying child support. They’re not paying the required spousal maintenance. We often have clients ask, what are our remedies? What do we do?
You file a petition for contempt or if it’s at the end of the divorce, a petition to enforce the court’s order. That brings the matter before the court, to say that either this person has violated an injunction that the court has issued, or if that’s subsequent to a divorce, that there was an order issued by this court that this party did not abide by, and you want the court’s intervention to force that party to obey the court’s order. That process would proceed through court on the tracks, as appropriate.
Ultimately, if it’s not able to be resolved or the person doesn’t bring themselves into compliance, would be heard before a judge. There could be sanctions set in place. The person could be held in contempt of court. There could be interest added to whatever fees or process. They could be required to pay attorney’s fees. The issue is, is that if the court has issued an order, a preliminary injunction, it should abide by. These are courts of law; they can hold you in contempt of court or hold you in violation of the court order. It doesn’t look good for that party in front of the court.
If you feel like you have some type of concern, where a court order is not being followed, or an injunction has been violated, you should probably contact your attorney immediately, so that they can look into it, find out if, in fact, that order has been violated, or if that injunction has been violated, so that they could either pursue the other person and tell them to come into compliance or get the court involved in making sure that the court orders are followed or the injunction is kept by the order.
Do you have more questions about divorce and family law? After reading these 3 divorce facts, contact our Phoenix Divorce Lawyers today for a legal consultation.
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