Marriage is one of the happiest times of your life. There is hope and happiness while beginning the journey to a bright future with the one you have chosen to spend the rest of your life with. Unfortunately, not all marriages work out so well in the long run. In cases like these, divorce is often your only recourse. Divorce can be a difficult and downright ugly undertaking, and there is a lot more to it than signing a few papers and going on your way. If there are children involved, things get even more complicated. If this is what you are experiencing, a Miramar Beach divorce and family law attorney should be contacted immediately.
The trusted divorce and family law lawyers at ASG Legal have helped mediate hundreds of divorce proceedings over the years in Walton County, and we know how to make sure each separation is fair, and we do our best to ensure that all parties are satisfied with the outcome. Divorce does not need to be the ugly scenario that we’ve all seen play out in the movies and on TV. Likewise, it does not need to be one party receiving a more favorable outcome than the other. We can help get you where you want to be. We are experienced when it comes to:
- Pre-Nuptial Agreements
- Child Support
- Child Custody
- Contested/Uncontested Divorce
Meet Our Miramar Beach Divorce and Family Law Lawyers:
Child Custody Lawyer
The unfortunate consequence of divorce is that any children the couple had will now have to be split between two parents. Each parent will want as much time as possible with their kids. An experienced Miramar Beach child custody attorney will sort through what is best for the children first and foremost. Both parents are equally important, and as long as no crime has been committed, both need to have time with their kids.
A Miramar Beach child custody lawyer will help figure out what the best living situation is for each child, with many factors coming into play. These include where they will live, go to school, as well as the financial responsibility of each parent. Our custody attorneys will also assist in the decision as to how often the children will see the parent that they do not live with, and whether that time will be supervised or unsupervised.
As you can imagine, this is usually a subject of fierce debate, as each parent will believe that they offer the best home for their children. However, our Miramar Beach child custody attorneys need to be an objective third party that can be a voice of reason for the proceedings. If each parent has their own representation, the two lawyers will present their cases to a judge, if a resolution cannot be reached.
In Walton County, choosing an experienced child custody attorney could be the difference in how often you will be able to see your kids, and possibly even achieving full-time custody.
Experienced Child Support Attorney in Miramar Beach
Once the decision has been made as to where the children will live full-time, it will then be time to decide on child support. It is both parents’ financial responsibility to raise their children, and child support is a way to make sure that the costs are split fairly. A Miramar Beach lawyer for child support will be able to help both parties settle on a figure that will be enough to cover those costs, while still being fair.
At ASG Legal, our experienced child support lawyers will again be an objective third party in finding the proper monthly settlement, as child support should only be used to help raise the kids, not for the financial gain of the other parent. We can also help decide when these payments will end, if any further monetary arrangements need to be made for extenuating circumstances, and what parent should carry the children on their insurance policies.
In some cases, the subject for paternity is also up for debate. A paternity lawyer will offer suggestions to prove if the father has biological ties to the children. They can also help determine if any financial payments need to be made if they are not the biological father. If this is a contested subject in your divorce, having an experienced attorney at your side is highly recommended.
No one looks forward to divorce, but it does not need to be the painful proceedings that it is made out to be. Contact the experts at ASG Legal today, and begin the process of getting through your divorce as painlessly and fairly as possible.
What is the Process for Getting a Divorce?
Contested Divorce Process in Miramar Beach
Initiation of the case. Either party may file a petition for dissolution of marriage. The responding party then has twenty days from the date of service to respond. Assuming both parties want to get divorced, the response usually comes in the form of a counter-petition. The purpose of the counter-petition is to ask the court to give the responding party the relief they are requesting. Additionally, if the party that originally filed ends up dismissing the action at any point before the parties are divorced, the counter-petition allows the responding party to still obtain a divorce. Without it, the responding party would have to file all over and start from scratch.
Discovery. Once the petition is filed, discovery can start. Discovery is the process of asking for information from the opposing party and third parties. This can be done with written questions (called interrogatories), written requests for documents, and depositions – asking questions of a person while they are under oath. In addition to those things, in a divorce, there are special requirements to turn over certain documents and information automatically. The deadlines to comply run quickly, and failure to provide required documents and information can have very negative consequences.
Temporary Relief Hearing. At the same time, if the issues of the case need to be resolved on a temporary basis, before the final hearing, the parties can schedule a hearing for temporary relief. The court may then consider any issues in the case, like timesharing, child support, alimony, and others, on a temporary basis until the parties are ready for a trial.
Hearings on temporary relief are sometimes referred to as a “mini-trial” because most of the issues in the divorce may be addressed and receive a ruling from the court. Typically, this ruling is a good gauge for what will happen at the final hearing unless significantly new or different information is provided to the court. So, preparation for the hearing on temporary relief can be critical.
Mediation. Again, while all of this is happening, the parties will schedule mediation. Mediation is an opportunity for the parties to reach an agreement and control their own destiny. If they are unable to reach an agreement voluntarily, the Court will make the decisions on the issues at the final hearing. Usually, parties are motivated to reach a settlement at mediation. By the time litigation has reached that point, the parties may be ready to compromise in order to settle the case and move on.
Final Hearing/Trial. Finally, after everything described has taken place, if the parties still cannot reach an agreement, it is time to set the case for trial. Each side will prepare its case and tell its side of the story to the court. The court will then render a final decision on the issues and dissolve the marriage by entering a final judgment of dissolution of marriage.
Post-Judgment. It would be nice if getting a final judgment of dissolution of marriage were the end, but it usually isn’t. Most divorces require the parties to continue to stay in contact for a variety of reasons like co-parenting, support payments, payment of debt, liquidation of assets, and other reasons. In some cases, this contact may last for life. And if one party is not complying with the court’s order, additional legal work maybe required to enforce the final judgment of dissolution of marriage. This is why having an excellent attorney is so critical. A dissolution of marriage may affect you for the rest of your life. You want everything done correctly.
Timing. Contested divorces in Miramar Beach can take time. Very complicated divorces can continue years before a final resolution is reached. However, a typical divorce, if settled before trial, will be completed in less than a year. How long your divorce takes will largely be up to you. Being responsive to your attorney when asked for documents and information is important. Additionally, being willing to compromise and settle a case will also greatly speed up the process. However, sometimes, the other spouse is not willing to be reasonable and the case must go to trial. In this case, be ready for the process to continue longer than you would like or expect.
Uncontested Divorce Process in Miramar Beach
Definition. In stark contrast to a contested divorce, an uncontested divorce is one in which the parties agree on how ALL of the issues will be resolved. For us, as attorneys, this drastically reduces the work involved and the cost. We take the information provided to us about the agreement, advise our client of their legal rights and responsibilities, put the agreement into the correct legal language, and make sure all appropriate documents are properly completed. Then, we give your spouse and their attorney those documents. Once both parties have signed all the documents, they are filed with the court, and typically, a final judgment of dissolution of marriage can be obtained without a hearing.
A Word of Caution. If the other party does not sign the first time the documents are presented, you no longer have an uncontested divorce. Once negotiation begins, your divorce is contested. Now, a small negotiation is still better than taking a case to trial, but it is additional work and cost nonetheless.
Timing. The timeline for an uncontested divorce can be very compressed. Depending on the court’s calendar and availability, and other factors, an uncontested divorce can usually be accomplished in less than 3-5 months. You can greatly assist in speeding up the process by having your financial documents ready and fully discussing all the issues with your spouse in advance.