Family Law

Uncontested Divorce or Separation:

What does uncontested divorce or separation mean and why is it a good idea?

Uncontested simply means that you both sign the divorce or separation documents based on an agreement that you work out ahead of time.  As to why it’s a good idea – First, it’s simpler, faster and won’t break the bank.  Most cases can be done for a flat fee so you know exactly what to plan for.  Second, it allows you to end your marriage with dignity and as little emotional stress as possible.

In the case of an uncontested separation, filing something with the court isn’t always required. You can handle property and other issues with a private contract.  Although a divorce is public record, if you enter into a separation contract first, the terms of that contract covering property division, spousal support, custody, etc. do not have to be made part of the court record. This allows you to preserve your privacy by not having the terms of the divorce included in the public record.

You don’t have to agree on everything to do an uncontested divorce or separation.  It’s enough that neither of you want to get involved in long, drawn out court battles where the only winners are usually the attorneys!  The areas where you don’t agree can be negotiated with the help of our in-house mediation service.

Why do I need the Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer if we agree on everything?

Even though you agree on everything, there is a lot of very detailed paperwork.  Documents need to be filed with the court in a specific way, and everything has to match.  Also, the forms and local rules can change at any time.  At the Law Office of Erin Bradley McAleer, our staff is familiar with the latest forms and rules so working with us will save you a lot of potential grief.

Agreed Modifications of Parenting Plans and Child Support:

Can you help with things like adjusting child support amounts, visitation, and custody if we both agree?

Definitely.  All these issues are contained in the parenting plan and/or order for child support.  As long as the proposed support doesn’t violate state law, modifications that the parents agree on can be handled quickly and easily with minimal court involvement.

Step-Parent Adoptions:

I have a step-child I would like to adopt.  How difficult is that?

Surprisingly easy.  If it has been a long term relationship with little to no involvement by the biological parent, it’s usually pretty simple to get the biological parent to consent to the adoption.  Sometimes the biological parent hasn’t been heard from in a long time and may be difficult to locate.  That creates a delay, but doesn’t stop the process. In that case, we ask that the parental rights of the biological parent be terminated due to parental neglect.  Unless the biological parent objects, that request is normally granted.  Then the rest of the adoption process can continue.

Mediation:

We’re pretty sure we agree on most everything but we still have a couple of things to negotiate.  What do we do?

That is a perfect situation for mediation.  We normally use a co-mediation format since that takes care of any perception that a single mediator might be “taking sides”.  We have a variety of ways to help you negotiate an arrangement that might not be what you ideally want, but it will be something you can both live with.

Self-Help Assistance:

I’m good with paperwork and I can do most of this myself.  Can you look over my work?

Sure!  Another pair of eyes is often a good thing to have available when doing very detailed work that needs to be correct.  If you are confident that you can tackle the forms yourself, and you and your partner are agreed on the terms, we will review your work and make suggestions if they seem appropriate.

 

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