The following issues must be dealt with in a divorce proceeding:
- Custody if minor children are at issue
The Court determines what is in the best interest of the children. Best interest encompasses a determination of custody, legal, and physical, child support, relocation to another state, supervised visitation if concerns of the safety of the children, and emergency custody actions if the children are in irreparable harm. So many times the parents put the children in the middle — as pawns — out of anger and spite. Children are often the worst effected by a divorce, and as a responsible parent, it is essential to strive for an outcome that protects them the best. Representation, even if the parties are amicable, is essential to ensure all facets of custody issues are resolved.
- Modifications of Custody and Support
- Just when the parties think all has been resolved and finalized, things can evolve which prompt one to change the custody arrangement as well as child support. A Custody modification may be an emergency because the children are in irreparable harm or a guardianship by relatives because the parents have become unfit. Financial circumstances also evolve. A parent may lost their job or the reverse, make more money, which triggers the need for modification.
- Arguably, modifications of custody can be more contentious for the parties since the outcome is to take away what the party had. There are a myriad of facts that can come into play with modifications. Appointment of guardian ad litems to analyze the best interest of the children, psychological evaluations of the parties, protective orders to be fought, the possibility of a deprived case being filed by DHS and the risk of termination of parental rights, the possibility of a relative seeking a guardianship over the children.
- Property, Debts, Assets, and Alimony
Are other issues that must be contended with during a divorce. With or without children, the equitable division, and sometimes not so equitable division, can become quite contentious. There are assets that are marital, assets that were separate and have become commingled, rights to spouses’ 401K, retirement, pensions, stocks, airline points, and more. Regarding real estate, there are issues as to whether the other spouse has an ownership interest, or if not an ownership interest, right to be compensated for improvements, who shall be awarded the residence or if it should be sold. The same can be said regarding debts. Who pays that debt, whether it is separate or not, and who will be awarded the debt in the end.
- Temporary Orders
Are very important in most cases that are not amicable as the divorce itself can take time. At the hearing the Court will determine on a temporary basis, who lives in the house, who pays what bills, the custody arrangement and child support. If a request was made for alimony the Court will determine if this is a valid request and order a set amount. These will be the rules for the parties to the following until the end. It is hard to change the temporary order and some divorces can take years to finalize.
Fathree & Fathree practices family law in Rogers, Tulsa, Mayes, and Craig Counties. We have over 65 years experience in all facets of family law. When children are at issue, it is not recommended you go unrepresented in order to insure all your rights are addressed. Whether it is a parent fighting over a guardianship, a paternity action, or a divorce there is so much at stake.