Quite frankly, until recently, most respondents (the non-filing party) did not need assertive fathers’ rights lawyers. Under the 1984 Parentage Act, parenting time plans and other divorce provisions were mostly fixed by law. Additionally, most judges cared little about fathers’ rights. So, at most, a lawyer was more of a manager or overseer who ensured that things did not go off the rails. Then, in the fall of 2016, everything changed. Now, everything is up in the air.
Some fathers take things a little too far. They partner with overaggressive “bulldog” lawyers who contest every inch of legal ground. This approach almost always backfires. Many judges rightly assume that parents who refuse to compromise during active court supervision will be even more stiff-necked when court supervision ends. Since uncooperative parents usually make poor co-parents, the court orders usually reflect this.
So, if your spouse serves you with divorce papers, from start to finish, you need a Naperville fathers’ rights lawyer who is an aggressive yet even-handed litigator as well as a skilled negotiator. This combination usually ensures equal access to the children as well as reasonable financial support obligation orders. This balance sets the stage for successful co-parenting, which greatly benefits the children. In the end, that’s what it is all about.
Occasionally, sudden marital trauma, like an affair out of the blue, prompts a divorce. Usually, however, divorces are slow-fade divorces.
Frequently, couples drift apart. Most marriages that end in divorce last a little over seven years, so the “seven-year itch” is a real thing. Empty nest divorces are common, as well. Some people are so wrapped up in their children that they have trouble reconnecting with their spouses when the children leave the house.
In fact, very few of our clients are cohabitating when one spouse files for divorce. Instead, trial separations become permanent separations.
All this to say that, if you are in this situation, it is a good idea to have a short list of Aurora fathers’ rights lawyers on hand. Your attorney should be experienced in the field, dedicated to the practice of family law, and accessible to your home or office. So, if the hammer drops unexpectedly, fathers are not caught completely off guard.
Additionally, not all divorce paperwork is the same. In fact, the other spouse might not be filing for divorce at all. Many petitioners (filing parties) file for legal separation instead. Depending on the circumstances, it is usually always best to file a divorce counter-petition. That way, if the other spouse unilaterally decides to pull the plug on the proceeding, the father has the option to continue or not.
The aforementioned shortlist is important because, in most cases, things happen very quickly in marriage dissolution proceedings. Usually, the judge holds a temporary hearing within about two weeks of service. The judge might put off the hearing to give the father a chance to hire a lawyer. Then again, the judge might not do that.
At the temporary hearing, the judge makes interim orders concerning parenting time and FSOs (Family Support Obligations), such as alimony and child support. Do not let the “temporary” label fool you. In many cases, temporary things become permanent. The Eiffel Tower was originally a temporary exhibit to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution in 1889. But, it is still standing today.
Regarding parenting time, the temporary orders must reflect the best interests of the children, not the best interests of the petitioner. Additionally, the 2016 legal changes included formulas that usually determine the amount and duration of child support and spousal support payments. But these formulas do not always apply. For example, they both have strict income limits.
Preparation is usually the key to success at a temporary hearing. Draft agreements that lawyers prepare often become part of the official record.
In contested divorce cases, discovery usually involves financial disclosure and a social services investigation.
Many petitioners are somewhat paranoid in terms of financial disclosure. If they are convinced a father is concealing assets or income, they often demand extensive financial records which usually date back to the beginning of the marriage. Fathers’ rights lawyers limit discovery to what is reasonably necessary. Financial discovery is designed to give each party an idea of the other party’s financial situation. Discovery is not an excuse to dig for oil.
Fathers’ rights are also important in the social services investigation. Judges often ask social workers to investigate the case and make custody and/or visitation recommendations. These findings are not technically binding, but judges rarely overrule them.
An Aurora fathers’ rights lawyer ensures that the social worker is fair. Some social workers are biased against fathers. This bias includes overlooking clear red flags, such as Parental Alienation Syndrome.
A sure sign of PAS is an unusual child parental preference or interview. For example, most 9-year-olds do not use three-syllable words, unless someone told them what to say. If the alienating parent succeeds in driving an emotional wedge between the children and the targeted parent, the emotional damage is usually permanent.
Most civil cases, including most divorce cases, settle out of court. These resolutions usually benefit everyone. They reduce legal fees, give the parties more control over the outcome, and set the stage for successful co-parenting.
Many fathers’ rights lawyers relax as the cases near their ends. But even if a lawyer has laid the proper groundwork, the fight is not over yet.
Effective representation during mediation is often key. During mediation, both sides have a legal duty to negotiate in good faith. More importantly, an attorney must know when to stand firm and when to compromise. For example, the various “fathers’ bill of rights” which are available online sometimes contain extremely controversial provisions. Sometimes, the battle is not worth fighting, especially when a child’s well-being is at stake.
Petitioners and respondents have important legal and financial rights in divorce cases. For a free consultation with an experienced Naperville fathers’ rights lawyer, contact Keller Legal Services today at 630-505-1515.