The Divorce Process Each divorce is different. Some divorces begin when one spouse files for divorce. In other divorces, however, the spouses work together to file something lawyers call “a co-petition.” After the petition or co-petition is filed, the Court will set your case for an Initial Status Conference. The Initial Status Conference is a scheduling conference, and depending on the county in which you file, it may not even take place before a judge. This is nothing to be worried about. This conference is where the Court will set a timeline for your case, such as deadlines in which to exchange mandatory financial disclosures with each other, and a deadline in which to mediate, as many counties require the parties attend mediation prior to scheduling a final hearing. If your case does not settle in mediation or between the parties in negotiations, the matter will be set for a Permanent Orders Hearing, where the judge will decide any issues that remain disputed. During the divorce process, it may be necessary to address many key issues. Sometimes these are disputed and sometimes both spouses agree. Important issues may include:
- Child custody and parenting time
- Child support
- Alimony (also called spousal support or spousal maintenance)
- Division of property and debt
- Attorney’s fees
Many parties are able to agree on most or all issues, but simply need the assistance of an attorney to draft pleadings and agreements. Other parties hit an impasse and need representation to protect their interests. Regardless of the level of representation you need during your divorce, I will work with you to help you achieve your goals. I tailor the services that I provide to your legal needs. When forceful action is required, I never hesitate to protect your interests. When alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation or negotiation are the best approach, I use in-depth knowledge of dispute-resolution strategies to negotiate a favorable outcome.
Property Division In Montana Divorces
Division of property and debt are critical issues in nearly every divorce case. I can talk with you about your property and how Montana courts might divide it in a divorce. Generally, courts categorize property as either “marital property” or “separate property.” Marital property is property acquired during the marriage, with a few exceptions. It is usually divided equitably between spouses. While equitable distribution is often 50-50, it does not necessarily have to be equal — just fair. Sometimes, a little legal help is all you need. If you are interested in representing yourself with guidance from a knowledgeable Montana family law attorney, I offer unbundled services to clients who do not need full representation. Depending on your needs and goals, I am available to provide advice, answer questions or draft certain critical documents. These services are available to you at affordable, low rates and there is no obligation to retain me for the entire divorce process.
Contact The Raffiani Law Firm
I know that a divorce can be emotionally trying. If you are facing a divorce, you deserve to talk with someone you can trust, a lawyer who treats you with respect and kindness. To speak to a Billings divorce lawyer, contact my law firm at (406) 647-0862 or online by filling out this contact form.