COMMON QUESTIONS:


Most clients have the same fears and questions. Clients also hold beliefs about the legal process in a divorce or about the behavior of the people involved that are not accurate. Here are the most common questions that clients ask, and their answers.

Who Should File:

Currently, there is no legal significance with respect to whether the Husband or the Wife files the Petition.

When to Obtain a Order of Protection:

When do you obtain an Order of Protection (restraining order) from the Court before or after filing for a divorce? You do not need to also file a divorce action to obtain an Order of Protection, although they can be filed at the same time.

Is Divorce a Lengthy Process?

It is difficult to determine how long a divorcee proceeding will take. We are better able to give you an estimated time range later when we understand more clearly what is at issue. The time involved is primarily based on four factors:

  • The number and complexity of the contested issues (Including but not limited to: Real Estate, Property, Children, Debts and Liabilities);
  • The likelihood of cooperation and whether there is an inclination to settle;
  • The attitude, tenacity and the willingness of your spouse to cooperate; and
  • The desire for litigation of the lawyer of your spouse.

Is Divorce an Expensive Process?

It is difficult to make a realistic estimate of the total fee even when we know what issues are contested, the intensity of the parties’ feelings, and the complexity of the issues. If the parties want to settle, make compromises, and to end the matter quickly, they can do so. If the parties do not trust each other, want complete discovery of all assets and liabilities, and argue many issues to the bitter end, the process becomes very long, drawn out, and expensive. Going to trial is almost always more expensive than settling the lawsuit. The majority of cases should not be expensive. However, some disputes simply cannot be resolved without a significant effort. It is similar to an automotive repair. A basic oil change should be reasonably priced. However, if during the oil change a significant engine defect is noticed, the repair may become more expensive.

What Would My Personal Investment of Time Be?

You will have to spend your own time to prepare your lawsuit. Your spouse does not prepare your lawsuit; your spouse’s attorney does not prepare your lawsuit. Your attorney prepares your lawsuit, but we can do that only with your help. You must make a commitment to put time into your case. If you are not prepared to spend the time and do the work, then your case will not be as satisfactory or inexpensively prepared as it will if you make the expenditure of time. A lawyer can only be as successful as the client allows. The more you contribute with regards to financial disclosures, wage statements, real estate information, etc. the more we can do for you. When in doubt, send me more information about the case!

Can My Physical Health be Affected?

Many health professionals will tell you that going through a divorce is one of the most painful experiences you can have. It is recommended that all parties going through a divorce be in counseling to help with the emotional issues. It is unusual for both parties to want to end the relationship simultaneously. Therefore, one party is very often emotionally hurt along the way. If that is you, then divorce can be an extremely painful process. Often one party raises issues as a way of dragging the matter out to punish the other spouse. The more issues raises, the more painful the process can become. Our practice recognizes the emotional and psychological difficulties that accompany a divorce proceeding. We will do our best to alleviate your fears and apprehensions although outside support is strongly recommended. Counseling will aid you through this difficult time and make your attorney’s job easier. Your attorney is trained to assist you with your legal needs, and it is not properly equipped to counsel you emotionally. In my years of practice, no one has ever died ‘from’ a divorce. However I have seen a great number die “during” their divorce. Please connect with therapists and friends to help you during this difficult time. I can advise you of your legal rights and responsibilities. I cannot always ascertain what will help with your emotional well being.

What can I expect of My Personal Financial Investment?

Divorce proceedings have the potential to be expensive. Thus, we advise you to scrutinize your issues and interests at an early stage to determine what issues can be settled. We do not recommend making unreasonable or unnecessary concessions, but we recommend you look carefully at the issues that separate you and your spouse. You do exercise some control over the issues in your case. Therefore, if there are concessions you can make that might bring your case to a speedy conclusion and thus reduce your fees, please consider making them. Litigation often begets further litigation. Be wise but don’t be a ‘sucker’.

How Strong is the Resolve of the Attorneys at Napierala Law Offices?

Some people feel an attorney must
(1) be uncooperative with opposing counsel in such matters as disclosing information, disclosing documents, and arranging for convenient dates for meetings, dispositions, etc.; and
(2) never consider or advise compromise or negotiation with opposing counsel.
This notion is sadly misguided. Being uncooperative with opposing counsel greatly increases attorney’s fees with legal steps done the hard way such as preparation of special documents, appearances in court, etc. Any information and documents in our possession are ultimately subject to disclosure under the law. Therefore, an uncooperative attitude serves no useful purpose. On the other hand, over the years we have ‘seen it all’. We won’t be fooled or taken advantage of. We have book smarts and street smarts. Your interests are too important to leave to an inexperienced Attorney or firm.

Questions That May Arise During the Pendency of the Procedure:

  • Dating (May I be allowed to date?)
  • Credit cards (Should they be terminated?)
  • Bank accounts (Should I use them?)
  • Withdrawal/sale of assets (Should I?)
  • How should I deal with our children?

Contact your counsel if these questions arise. These are appropriate questions. I cannot answer these in a general way. One on one consultation is recommended.

What If I Have Some Doubt About the Lawyer’s Handling My Case?

Always feel free to raise any issues of concern with your lawyer. Explain the concern from your perspective.

What is the Waiting Period?

No divorce can be granted until at least sixty-four one hundred and twenty days have passed since your spouse was served the Petition. This is a minimum period of time. Most uncontested matters are completed four months after service. Contested matters can take as long as twelve to eighteen months or longer, depending on the Court’s calendar. The time that it will take to obtain a divorce varies with each individual case. The simplest case is based on a divorce by default (where the other party does not respond). A default divorce takes approximately five months. If the case is by stipulation (where both parties agree on all terms), the proceedings may take as little as four months. However, if the divorce is contested (where the parties disagree on all or some of the issues), the matter can take several months or more.

How many Court Appearances?

The parties will not always have to appear in Court in order to obtain a Divorce. It is usually a good idea for both parties to appear in court if possible. If the divorce is contested, and the parties are not able to reach an agreement, the divorce will end up in Court.