Order Your Moves
When a couple decides to end the marriage, planning and establishing goals and objectives early on can
minimize "unintended consequences."
The adverse toll on the family can be responsibly managed and even reduced when handled by an experienced and thoughtful attorney.
Mitchell Law can assist clients in navigating the twists and turns of the divorce process.
protect your assets
Prior to taking any action, a person anticipating divorce should inventory their assets; pay close attention to deposits and withdrawals from financial accounts. Take every precautionary step that is necessary to protect assets and interests.
WARNING: While preserving and protecting assest should be top of mind, by no means should a person ever engage in hiding or secreting assets. Invariably forensic accountants discover hidden assets and once discovered, the case is irreversibly tainted and will likely face adverse treatment by the courts.
Division of Marital Assets
While the divorce season is wrought with stress and anxiety about an uncertain future, you must be fully aware of the financial consequences when deciding to go your separate ways.
In the District of Columbia, the law follows "equitable distribution" principles that directs the distribution of: pension funds, equity in homes, bank accounts, automobiles, investment portfolios, regardless of whose names are on the property.
Under equitable distribution, the distribution of assets is not necessarily “equal.” Rather the court will make decisions based on the best interest of the parties, their children and their circumstances. In addition, courts will take into account factors such as:
* What led to the divorce
* Duration of the marriage
* The age, health, employment, occupation of the parties
* Provisions for children
* Contribution of the homemaker/caretaker
* Contribution to the other spouse’s education and earning potential
Court orders issuing spousal support (better known as alimony) is never a guarantee. In making a determination on alimony, the judge will consider the following factors:
(a) The award of alimony may be indefinite or term-limited and structured as appropriate to the facts. The Court shall determine the amount and the time period for the award of alimony.
(b) An award of alimony may be retroactive to the date of the filing of the pleading that requests alimony.
(c) In making an award of alimony, the Court shall consider all the relevant factors necessary for a fair and equitable award, including, but not limited to, the:
(1) ability of the party seeking alimony to be wholly or partly self-supporting;
(2) time necessary for the party seeking alimony to gain sufficient education or training to enable that party to secure suitable employment;
(3) standard of living that the parties established during their marriage or domestic partnership, but giving consideration to the fact that there will be 2 households to maintain;
(4) duration of the marriage or domestic partnership;
(5) circumstances which contributed to the estrangement of the parties;
(6) age of each party;
(7) physical and mental condition of each party;
(8) ability of the party from whom alimony is sought to meet his or her needs while meeting the needs of the other party; and
(9) financial needs and financial resources of each party, including:
(B) income from assets, both those that are the property of the marriage or domestic partnership and those that are not;
(C) potential income which may be imputed to non-income producing assets of a party;
(D) any previous award of child support in this case;
(E) the financial obligations of each party;
(F) the right of a party to receive retirement benefits; and
(G) the taxability or non-taxability of income.”
The divorce process need not be a traumatic affair. Those seeking to end their marriages often proceed without the high-drama and contentiousness that characterize many divorce proceedings.
An uncontested divorce, is one where the parties do not challenge the classic issues raised during divorce proceedings. Taking this approach reduces stress on the children; is cost effective and will ensure a amicable process overall.
Mitchell Law, D.C. can assist in every aspect of expediting a speedy absolute divorce.
In some households, divorce may not be an option where the act of divorcing ones spouse runs counter to deeply held moral and/or religious beliefs. In those cases, legal separation may be a legal alternative to divorce. In addition, a formal settlement agreement is a serious step with similar implications as a divorce. Couples will have to consider:
child and spousal support,
child custody and more…
Mitchell Law can assist couples in meeting their goal to part ways without resorting to legal divorce.
Along with the myriad of issues to contend with during a divorce, the parties also must sort out who will obtain “custody” of family pets. Like all other issues during divorce, custody of pets has the potential to explode into a contentious battle. Courts often treat pets as property. However, in other jurisdictions, courts are approaching the custody of pets in a manner similar as they treat child custody proceedings. In any case, the courts will consider the following factors:
Ownership: who adopted or purchased the pet.
Caretaker: who takes the pet to the vet; walks the pet and spending the most time.
Best interest: What is in the best interest of the pet.
Best interest of children: if children are involved, the courts will consider whether it is in their best to keep the pet in their lives.
Interest: who is expressing interest in keeping the pet and how close in proximity do the parties live to each other.