Practice Areas

Family Law

When you are looking for a lawyer for a family law case, our firm understands that people come to us at many different phases in the decision making process. You may just be seeking advice, or you may be ready to “take action”. Regardless of where you are in the process, our firm can help you with guidance, advice, or a plan of action. Schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers today so we can help you with your family law questions.

Divorce

Making the decision to seek a divorce is one of the most difficult decisions a person can make. There are emotional, financial, legal, and practical considerations to ending a marriage. Our firm has decades of experience in advising people in the position of weighing these considerations to reach a decision about whether to end a marriage. We have advised people sometimes years before a decision to divorce, and we have advised people who have ultimately decided not to divorce. Having as much information as possible during this difficult decision-making time is invaluable.

Once a person chooses to seek a divorce, our firm can advise and provide representation in all aspects of the divorce, including custody and parenting time, property division, child support, and spousal support. We are committed to providing a client-centered practice, meaning that you make the decisions about the outcome you want, and we help you achieve that outcome.

Our firm believes that you are the person who is in the best position to decide what’s right for your family. We are strong supporters of resolving cases by using alternative dispute resolutions short of trial. Parties report greater long-term satisfaction with their divorce outcome when they are active participants in the resolution. We believe that settling divorces without a trial is, in most cases, the best outcome for our clients. Settling our client’s cases is also a more cost-effective manner of resolution for the client.

Under some circumstances, settlement is not an option. If the case will proceed to trial, our firm has decades of experience in trying complex divorce cases in areas such as business valuation, pre-marital asset protection, child custody, and just and proper spousal support awards.

Custody and Parenting Time for Parents

What’s the difference between joint and sole legal custody? What kind of parenting time is appropriate for the other parent? How do I ensure I have decision-making power? Can we go to mediation? What about a custody evaluation? What happens if I or the other parent wants to move?

These are common questions clients have when facing an issue involving child custody and parenting time. Our firm can help answer these and all other questions you have about your rights and obligations as a custodial or non-custodial parent. Custody and parenting time decisions have lifelong impacts on you and your child, and having the advice of a skilled lawyer can help assist you in developing a plan that suits the unique needs of your family.

If you and the other parent cannot work out an agreement, our firm has many years’ experience litigating child custody and parenting time issues in court and can help achieve an outcome that is in your children’s best interest by developing a trial strategy based upon the statutory factors that the court considers in child custody cases.

Restraining Orders

A Family Abuse Prevention Act (FAPA) order, commonly known as a restraining order, is initially issued after a court makes a preliminary determination that a Petitioner suffered physical abuse, or that abuse is imminent. These determinations are made while solely considering the Petitioner’s version of events. The Respondent, (anyone who is served with a temporary order of restraint), has a right to a full hearing on the issues. However, to exercise that right, the Respondent must respond to the court upon being served with the documents. There is a limited time to respond and request such a hearing. The documents, in all likelihood, will contain a temporary order restraining the Respondent from having contact with the Petitioner.

If a hearing is requested, the Petitioner must present sufficient qualifying evidence to a judge. Failing to present qualifying evidence will force a judge to dismiss the matter. Qualifying evidence is evidence that supports the statutory basis for issuing an order of restraint. You need to know what evidence is important and necessary when appearing for the hearing. If the Petitioner fails to appear at the hearing a judge will likely dismiss the temporary order. If the Respondent does not show at the hearing, the temporary order of restraint will remain in place for one year.

It is important that you know your rights, whether you are seeking a restraining order or finding yourself in a position challenging an order.

Contact us and we will help you through the process from start to finish.

Adoption

Our firm represents stepparents who wish to adopt their stepchildren in both contested and uncontested cases, relative (independent) adoptions, and agency adoptions for children who have been placed with the Department of Human Services (DHS) or other adoption agencies.

Stepparent adoptions where the non-custodial parent has consented can be an inexpensive and short process. There is no home study requirement and these adoptions can often be finalized in just over three months.

Where the non-custodial parent does not consent, we will carefully evaluate the situation and advise you regarding how to proceed.

We have represented adoptive parents in agency adoptions in counties throughout the state for many years and are experienced with working with DHS and other adoption agencies.

Custody and Parenting Time for Non-Parents

Sometimes grandparents or other adults find themselves caring for children when those children’s parents are unable or unfit. Recent changes to the law have made it more difficult for non-parents to be awarded custody. The US Supreme Court has said that parents have a fundamental right to parent their children, even in cases where the children might be “better off” with a grandparent or other adult.

However, there are certain scenarios where the courts have awarded custody to grandparents or other adults with significant ties to the children. Courts have also awarded visitation to non-parents under certain scenarios. These issues are legally challenging and full of complex emotional considerations. Our firm can explain these issues and help clients, including stepparents and grandparents, make decisions about what is best for their families.