Author: mpontrelli

Are my medical records private in a divorce action?

Some of the most private information about you is often contained in your medical records. However, medical records often become a contention in divorce. You may be asked to sign a release so the medical provider can produce your medical records to your spouse. The question then becomes whether the records are relevant to any issue in dispute. If you are requesting spousal support and are claiming you cannot work because of your medical condition, then your medical records may be relevant to show whether your medical condition prohibits you from working. In such a case the Court will probably require you to sign a release so the medical provider can produce your records. Similarly, if parenting time is in dispute and you or your spouse are claiming that a medical condition affects the ability to parent, then medical records may be relevant. If either parent has seen a counselor or is in therapy, mental health records may also be relevant. Talk with your lawyer about your rights. There are a number of options that may be available to keep or prevent the disclosure of your information. If the records are not relevant to any issue and are just being requested to harass you, then your lawyer may be able to obtain a protective order so that the records do not have to be disclosed, or disclosure is limited....

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Do I need to respond to discovery requests in my divorce?

You have just filed for a divorce, and within a few days, the opposing party has sent a list of documents that you need to produce going back several years, and something called interrogatories asking a lot of questions that your spouse should already know. You call your lawyer and ask “Do I really have to respond to these?” And the answer is yes. Discovery is one of the least talked about steps in divorce, but it is often among the most important. Discovery is the pre-trial phase in a lawsuit during which each party can obtain evidence from the opposing party. The purpose of discovery is to ensure that both you and your spouse have access to the same information. In this way, you can either negotiate a fair agreement or have all of the facts and documents to present to the judge at trial. The discovery process enables you and your spouse to meet on a more level playing field when it comes to settling your case or taking it to trial. You and your spouse both need the same information if you hope to reach agreement on any of the issues in your divorce. Similarly, a judge must know all of the facts to make a fair decision. The discovery process may seem tedious at times because of the need to obtain and to provide lots...

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How to Prepare for the Emotional Experience of a Divorce Trial

While many people are anxious to finalize their divorce, if it cannot be settled amicably out of court, the thought of going to trial can be petrifying. Concerns about the court process and how to prepare for the trial emotionally are not unusual. Many people have never been in a courtroom, and their entire understanding of trial is based on what they have seen on television, or heard from friends. While a divorce trial can be a highly emotional time, if your divorce case is going to trial, here are a few ideas that may help you through the process: Meet with your lawyer in advance of your court date to prepare you for court and the order of the trial testimony. Ask your lawyer whether there are any documents you should review in preparation for court, such as your deposition. Visit the courtroom in advance to get comfortable with the surroundings. Ask your lawyer about having a support person with you on your court date. Ask yourself what is the worst thing that could happen and consider what options you would have if it did. Avoid alcohol, eat healthfully, exercise, and have plenty of rest during the period of time leading up to the court date. Each of these will help you to prepare for the emotions of the day. Plan what you intend to wear in advance....

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Will Taking Medications for Depression Hurt Your Divorce Case?

It is not uncommon during a divorce for there to be feelings of anxiety, depression, grief, and a sense of loss. While the legal case is moving forward, the emotional side may also be taking its toll.   As family law lawyers we are often asked how taking certain medications may affect your case, especially if there are high conflict custody issues involved. The following are three questions that often arise in such cases: I am so depressed about my divorce that I’m having difficulty getting out of bed in the morning to care for my children. What should I do? See your health care provider. Feelings of depression are common during a divorce. You also want to make sure that you identify any physical health concerns. Although feelings of sadness are common during a divorce, more serious depression means it’s time to seek professional support. Your health and your ability to care for your children are both essential. Follow through on recommendations by your health care professionals for therapy, medication, or other measures to improve your wellness. Share your health concerns with your lawyer as well so that your case can be managed in a way that does not cause you unnecessary stress. Will taking prescribed medication to help treat my insomnia and depression hurt my case? Not necessarily. Talk to your health care professional and follow their recommendations....

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How to Face the Challenge of Divorce When it is Not Your Choice?

While many times a divorce or legal separation is a mutual decision, there are times when it is not. When that is the case, it is hard to even consider making a call to see a lawyer, let alone start making decisions on how to determine custody, support and divide assets. Yet, under no-fault divorce, you may have no choice but to address these often stressful and emotional issues. Here are three questions that often arise in such cases. My spouse left home weeks ago. I don’t want a divorce because I feel our marriage can be saved. Should I still see an attorney?  Yes, it is still a good idea to see an attorney even if you think your marriage can be saved. Whether you want a divorce or not, there may be important actions for you to take now to protect your assets, credit, home, children, and future right to support. If your spouse files for divorce, a temporary hearing could be heard in just a matter of days. It is best to be prepared with the support of an attorney, even if you want to try and resolve the differences with your spouse. Your lawyer can also advise you about how to file a Petition for Conciliation Services (available in Arizona and similar services in many other states).  The purpose of filing for conciliation services is...

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The DW Family Law Blog Blog is published by Dickinson Wright PLLC to inform the public of important developments within the firm and practice areas. The content is informational only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. We encourage you to consult a Dickinson Wright attorney if you have specific questions or concerns relating to any of the topics covered in this blog.