Brockton and Plymouth Area Contested Divorce Attorney
Southeastern Massachusetts Uncontested Divorce Lawyer
There are two types of divorce in Massachusetts: contested and uncontested. The type you file in your divorce will depend on whether you and your spouse can come to an agreement regarding the major issues in your divorce.
Under Massachusetts law, specifically M.G.L. 208, Section 1A and 1B, parties may obtain a divorce through the filing of either an Uncontested, Joint Petition (1A Petition) or Contested (1B Petition). In order to proceed under a Joint Petition or Uncontested 1A petition the parties must essentially be in complete agreement as to the resolution of all issues attendant to their specific divorce. Issues in divorce actions typically involve child custody, chid support, visitation, alimony, division of debt, division of both real and personal property, who will carry the health insurance, payment of uninsured medicals and who can claim the children or children for tax deduction purposes.
If the parties are unable to resolve these issues and require the courts assistance then the parties will normally proceed under a 1B Contested Petition. As you might expect uncontested divorces tend to be much less expensive and time consuming than contested actions. Regardless, Attorney Andrew H. P. Norton has the skill and the experience needed to handle both types of divorce proceedings. Family law Attorney Andrew H. P. Norton will advise you as to your available options and the best course of action to proceed with.
From his offices in Brockton and Plymouth Massachusetts, Attorney Norton represents clients in contested and uncontested divorce matters. Contact our law office for a free initial consultation.
Uncontested No Fault Settlement Attorney - Brockton, Massachusetts
When a divorcing couple is able to agree on how issues such as property division or child custody should be resolved, they are in a position to significantly reduce both the financial cost and the emotional distress associated with adversarial divorce actions. For couples who approach us intending to proceed with an uncontested divorce, we offer legal counsel regarding their proposed resolutions, draft all required pleadings including the joint petition for divorce, the affidavit of irretrievable breakdown, the financial statements of the parties and the final settlement agreement.
Attorney Norton will then file the pleadings with the court and request a final hearing date to formally dissolve the marriage. At the final court hearing we will present the settlement agreement to the court for approval and answer any questions the court may have regarding the settlement agreement and the parties' divorce.
Once the court approves the settlement agreement the court will conduct brief questioning of the parties to determine that they in fact do want to divorce and that the settlement agreement was entered into knowingly, freely and voluntarily.
State ethics rules mandate that an attorney can only represent one party in an uncontested divorce action. Therefore, all parties are fully advised in advance that although Attorney Norton is preparing and presenting their joint, uncontested divorce to the court for approval he can only technically represent one party in the action.
This will only become an issue if things break down between the parties prior to the allowance of their divorce. If the process does break down, we will work with the parties, on behalf of our client, in an attempt to resolve their differences. Typically in an uncontested divorce action this office will represent the party who first contacts this office regarding the dissolution of the marriage.
Brockton, Massachusetts, Contested Divorce Lawyer
In contested divorce actions, one party files against the other because they cannot reach agreement on the issues, and each party usually retains his or her own attorney. After a complaint has been served and answered, we assist our clients in obtaining temporary or emergency orders from the court. Temporary orders are used by the court to establish ground rules during the pendency of the divorce action. Examples of temporary orders include:
- Orders for one spouse to vacate the marital home
- Spousal support
- Child support
- Child custody and interstate child custody matters
- Visitation schedules and grandparents' rights
- Payment of marital debt
- Prohibition of either party dissipating a marital asset such as a pension plan or bank account
We also offer representation for couples involved in same-sex marriages. Massachusetts' law for gay marriage is unique and it is important to discuss your same-sex divorce matters with an experienced lawyer. We represent our clients throughout all stages of divorce actions. This includes the drafting and filing of the initial divorce action, drafting motions for temporary orders, drafting discovery requests, drafting appropriate responsive pleadings, drafting pretrial memorandums and attending all court hearings including motion hearings, pretrial conferences and trial dates.
Pretrial Conference Attorney - Brockton and Plymouth Contested Divorce Lawyer
In the majority of cases, once the court has established temporary orders and no sooner than six months after the initial filing of the divorce action, the court at the request of either one or both of the parties will schedule the case for a pretrial conference. Pretrial conferences are used by the courts to thoroughly review the case and narrow the issues for trial. At the pretrial conference all parties through counsel are required to file with the court a pretrial memorandum. The pretrial memorandum is a comprehensive legal pleading drafted by counsel to assist the court in better understanding each party's respective position relative to all outstanding issues that remain to be resolved between the parties.
In most instances by thoroughly reviewing the case file, including the pretrial memorandum, the court is able to narrow the issues between the parties. In most instances the parties and the court will utilize the pretrial conference as a sort of settlement conference to work with the parties to resolve their differences. If after the meeting, the parties are still unable to resolve their differences the case will be scheduled for trial.
If you are contemplating divorce or if your spouse has filed for divorce, you need the knowledge, experience, and legal skill that Attorney Norton offers. Attorney Norton invites you to contact our Massachusetts divorce settlement law firm today.