“He taught me housekeeping; when I divorce I keep the house.”

— Zsa Zsa Gabor

There are a number of matters that must be resolved before a judgment of divorce is granted. These include the division of assets and debts, determining the amount and duration of spousal and child support, putting a parenting plan in place, and addressing and satisfying any matters of legal fees, appraisals and expert fees. Complexities vary from case to case, and by whether a divorce is contested or uncontested.

Uncontested Divorce

This is the type of divorce that everyone wants, but only works if you and your spouse can work out terms without the need for court intervention. Court intervention can be avoided by utilizing the services of settlement-oriented divorce lawyers, mediation or collaborative law. A divorce mill will prepare your divorce papers for as little as $299. Just remember you get what you pay for.

Contested Divorce

This is the type of divorce that needs court intervention and can be quite costly. There are typically three ways to catch a court’s attention – request a preliminary conference, file a notice of motion or bring an order to show cause. In filing a notice of motion or bringing an order to show cause, you are asking the court to make a decision. In requesting a preliminary conference, you ask the court to establish your road map for your divorce action.

Once the court has been involved, the Firm will attempt to settle your case and simultaneously litigate your case. Court intervention has several benefits with the greatest benefits being that “higher —the Judge— to settle the smaller litigation disputes concerning your action and push your case forward. Without that higher power, your case can all too easily get stuck in a roadblock or drag on indefinitely. If your case does not settle, it will need to go to trial.

Settlement Agreements

Whether your divorce action is contested or uncontested, the best way to resolve it is by settlement agreement. If a contested divorce action goes to trial, you are putting your life and finances in the hands of the attorneys and the judge. The judge’s decision is an unknown and can easily be for or against you on any number of issues in your action depending on your unique facts and the presentation of your case. In a settlement agreement, all issues of the divorce action are resolved without the need for trial. Issues typically include the division of marital assets and debts, determining separate property and debts, amount and duration of maintenance, amount of child support and when child support payments should be recalculated or stopped, parenting time and decision making authority, payment of legal fees, experts and appraisals. While neither party may be particularly happy with the terms of the settlement agreement, the settlement agreement gives you predictability, control and room to negotiate. Settlement agreements also save you the time, expense and aggravation of a trial.