Timeline of Your Case

Regardless of the matter for which we are retained, the general processes leading to resolution are the same. Depending upon the subject matter, any step can be shortened or extended, but the generic overview is the same. Post-dissolution of marriage matters generally take less time than a full divorce or parental responsibility determination. Depending upon the county in which such matters are filed and the complexity of the matter, 8-18 months is probably necessary.

Initiation of Action
For a new matter, a petition is filed with the Court outlining the matter for which one is seeking resolution. If you seek to modify or supplement previously resolved matters, a motion is filed with the Court. In almost all cases, we file with the Court to confirm a date from which you may seek relief regardless of how likely the matter may be settled by means other than litigation. 

When an issue is presented, certain evidence must be collected from the parties and other sources. Generally, such information falls into two categories: financial and information related to the parties and/or their children. Both parties have a fiduciary obligation to reveal and provide all such information in their possession or control. Other sources may be subpoenaed for information. It is critical to the resolution of all issues to have the best information possible upon which to negotiate, collaborate, mediate or litigate resolutions, therefore non-compliance with discovery can be addressed by subpoenas and/or specialized court orders.

Status Conference
To minimize delay, all divorces and other matters concerning children are subject to a mandatory initial status conference to advise the court of the status and plans for resolving those issues which must be addressed immediately. The court requires a personal appearance by each of the parties and/or counsel or, if both parties are represented by counsel, a written agreement of the parties prepared by counsel as to how the case will be conducted. 

Temporary Orders 
Either agreements or Court orders may be necessary to address issues while any case is unresolved. Examples of such temporary issues are use of the residence; allocation of parenting time and child support; payment of mortgages, insurance premiums or spousal support; and the like. Sometimes a combination of agreements and court orders address these temporary issues. Such temporary resolutions are made in writing and are without prejudice to a change at the time of final resolution unless the parties specifically made the temporary resolutions non-modifiable.

Resolutions/Permanent Orders 
Issues may be resolved by agreements (stipulations) or Court Orders or a combination of both. These resolutions are always reduced to writing as Permanent Orders or Separation Agreements and adopted by the Court so that they can be enforced. Such agreements or orders may require further agreements, orders or the execution of documents to complete the intent expressed in the orders or agreements.