Family Law

Divorce, child custody and parenting time, establishing paternity or child support, family abuse prevention act (FAPA) restraining orders

Family law cases can be remarkably stressful. These types of cases generally involve heightened emotions on both sides. We focus on easing your stress through the process by maintaining a no-nonsense approach to getting things done in the least amount of time possible.   Contact Don to set up a consultation.

We will gather the necessary information from you, prepare all of your court documents, negotiate with opposing counsel for your desired resolution, and fight for you at trial if necessary.

You will be required to provide documents, participate in a mediation session (usually), complete a parenting class if there are children involved, and maybe testify in court.  A family law case only works when the client and attorney can count on each other to respond quickly to questions or other requests – this means our office is responsive to our clients and our clients are responsive to us.

Custody and parenting time

Child custody is determined under a “best interests of the child” standard.  Parents can agree to joint custody, but the court cannot order it without the parties’ agreement.  In cases where joint custody is not agreed on, the court determines which parent should have sole custody and what sort of parenting time the non-custodial parent will have with the child.

Child Support

Child support is essentially a mathematical equation with very little wiggle room based generally upon overnights with the child, family income and some limited child-related expenses.

Child support ordered by the court is typically automatically deducted from the wages of the parent required to pay support by the state and forwarded to the other parent.

Paternity

Establishing paternity is a must if you plan to seek child support.  Paternity may already be established (if you are married to the child’s father or if the father’s name is on the birth certificate, for example). Other times a DNA test is required to establish parentage of a child. This most often happens where the parents are unmarried.  The court will order DNA testing (usually a buccal swab – a large Q-tip, essentially – from inside your cheek, the child’s cheek, and the alleged father’s cheek).  If the results come back positive for paternity the court will enter such an order.  From there you can initiate child support proceedings.

FAPA Restraining Orders

A petitioner for a restraining order must show the court that within the previous 180 days, abuse has occurred between family or household members; that petitioner is in imminent danger of further abuse; and respondent is a credible threat to petitioner or petitioner’s children.

The initial hearing is ex-parte (without the other party).  So, the petitioner’s attorney explains to the judge why a restraining order is necessary through the petitioner’s testimony.  If the judge believes the testimony meets the requirements listed above, the restraining order is granted.  The judge can order temporary custody, support, and other remedies if there are children involved.

The restraining order is NOT VALID until the other person is personally served by the Sheriff’s office. This can take a few days, depending on whether the petitioner has good contact information for the other party.

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