Author: rschwartz

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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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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Do you need a lawyer for your divorce?

Excerpt from Divorce in Arizona by Marlene Pontrelli and Robert Schwartz Going through the divorce process can be a frightening and often intimidating experience. Many people have never had to meet with a lawyer before, or been involved in any type of litigation. At the same time you are facing the challenges of understanding the legal process, you are also trying to address the emotional issues that often come with the decision to terminate a marriage. Your first step should be to understand the divorce process and then consider whether you need to hire a lawyer. In Arizona, you are not required to have an attorney to obtain a divorce. However, if your case involved children, spousal maintenance, significant property, or debts, you may find it easier to have an attorney than proceeding on your own. If your divorce does not involve any of these issues, contact the self-help center at the superior court in your county, or call the clerk of the court to request documents and instructions that may be used in filing your own case and proceeding on your own. In some counties, the forms are online. A person who proceeds in a legal matter without a lawyer is referred to as being in pro per or pro se, on one’s own. If you are considering proceeding without an attorney, you may want to at least...

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How to Talk to Your Children About Divorce

  You have just filed for divorce, or maybe you and your spouse are thinking about a divorce. While there will be big changes for you, if you have children, there will also be big changes for the children. How you talk to your children about the divorce will depend upon their ages and development. Changes in your children’s everyday lives, such as a change of residence or one parent leaving the home, are far more important to them. Information about legal proceedings and meetings with lawyers are best kept among adults. Simpler answers are best for young children. Avoid giving them more information than they need. Sometimes it is best to not use the word “divorce” to them. Instead, explain that mom and dad have decided it is better for them to be friends than to continue to live in the same house together. A child’s reaction to divorce can vary depending upon his or her age and other factors. Some may cry and beg for a reconciliation, and others may behave inappropriately. Reducing conflict with your spouse, being a consistent and nurturing parent, and making sure both of you remain involved are all actions that can support your children regardless of how they are reacting to the divorce. Support groups for children whose parents are divorcing are also available at many schools and religious communities. A school...

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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.