Sunday, September 21, 2014

A Military Divorce Can Become Complicated Quickly

Military Divorce
If you are going through a military divorce, keep in mind that it will likely be more complicated than a civilian one, simply because of the various issues at play.  Active duty military members and their family face specific challenges that are unique; for example, when one spouse is on deployment another can still file for divorce. It becomes incredibly difficult to deal with a divorce from thousands of miles away where communication may be limited.

Are you currently deployed?

This puts you at a distinct disadvantage.  When someone files for divorce, the clock starts ticking on certain timeline issues and without a lawyer representing you, there may be no one local to ask for the process to be stopped or stayed pending their return.  JAG will sometimes get involved, but they are not going to represent you in divorce court.  You still need an experienced divorce lawyer to protect your interests.

Hiring an attorney is especially important if you are facing a military divorce and have children.  In this scenario, you need an advocate to present your side and how you are involved in caring for your children when you are home.  Oftentimes, active duty military members are portrayed by the other side as unengaged when this is simply not the case.  Being in the military is your job, and like any job, it does not diminish how you feel about your children.  Your responsibilities for work are simply different than if you had a 9-to-5 job.  We understand this and are experts at making a case for why you should still have joint custody of your children.

Dividing Finances

There are additional financial considerations that active duty military members and their spouse must consider.  When calculating things like child support, there are different forms of compensation that inexperienced lawyers don’t know how to sort through.  Things like housing allowances and combat pay need to be taken into consideration, and we know how to do so, when working with either party in a divorce.   Additionally, we can help to negotiate how things like retirement will be split up.

Where will you live?

This is a question that comes up frequently in a military divorce.  Typically, families move around a lot, but simply because you are stationed at a base, doesn’t mean that the divorcing spouse will want to stay there.  If you don’t have kids – it doesn’t matter.  Both parties are free to live where they choose.  If, however, you have children they will not be allowed to leave the state permanently without the courts consent.  An order of relocation will need to be filed as part of the divorce process and the judge will decide whether or not to grant it.  If the service member is obligated to stay stationed at a base for a period of time following the divorce, this can become even more complicated.

We are experienced with representing both service members and their spouses in a military divorce.  To get advice from an expert attorney, schedule your consultation today.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Child Support Attorney Can Help You Negotiate Back Payments

Child Support Attorney
As a child support attorney, we can help you to negotiate any back child support payments that you owe.  It is common for people to get into financial binds and be unable to meet their obligations.  The challenge is that once the court sets the amount you have to pay, it can’t be simply waived or postponed like another debt.  If you get too far behind, the other party can take you to court, and you can even end up in jail.

If you work with a lawyer, this can typically be prevented since we can negotiate on your behalf with the other party and represent you in court before a judge.  The key is to make a case for why you are unable to meet your obligations and what you will be able to do going forward.  If you make enough money, simply not paying isn’t a good argument.  You must demonstrate that you need more of the money you make to pay for your basic living expenses or to support other children that you have.  The goal of the court is to ensure that your children are provided for, not to make you homeless. Keeping this in mind, hiring an attorney and showing up to court is the first step.

People will typically get into legal trouble by not responding to requests for child support, not making any payments, and not showing up for court hearings.  If you fail to appear in court, a judge can issue a warrant for your arrest, and many people have spent time in jail as a result.  If, however, you make an effort to meet your obligations but simply cannot pay the full amount, it becomes much easier to plead your case before a judge.  As a child support attorney, we fight for our clients and seek adjustments to what is owed on a regular basis.

Another reason people tend to need help is if they didn’t know that they had any support obligations in the first place.  For example, if you didn’t know that you had a child, how could you have been paying child support?  Logic would say that you don’t owe anything, but the legal system doesn’t work this way.  Even if you are not aware of a child, the mother could come back at a later date and seek current and back child support.  This can create a difficult situation since most people don’t have enough savings to take care of the obligation.  The court will often garnish wages, as a result, which can hurt your ability to pay for housing, food, etc. In order to prevent this scenario, we recommend hiring a child support attorney that can work with the court to create a plan for caring for the child going forward without crippling you financially today.  The key is to take action right away so that the situation won’t escalate.  To learn how we can help, call to schedule a consultation.