Family Law FAQs
My spouse and I are getting divorced. Do I need an attorney?
A divorce can be one of the most complicated legal proceedings even with a lawyer. Without a lawyer you risk losing everything you worked for, and your spouse’s lawyer can take advantage of your legal inexperience and attempt to force you into an agreement which is less than fair. Legal representation protects you and gives you a stronger position from which to negotiate a fair settlement.
Are divorces usually complicated?
Divorces can be as simple or as complicated as the people involved make them. Depending on the level of communication between you and your spouse a divorce can drag out for months or be as simple as a few hours at the courthouse. Oklahoma also has the oldest “no-fault” divorce laws in America, which streamline a divorce by not requiring one side prove the other side violated the terms of the marriage. Talk to a divorce attorney to find out how simple your divorce may be.
Who decides how to divide the assets of a marriage?
The dividing of assets is often the second most contended issue after a marriage ends. Oklahoma is an “equitable distribution” state, which means that each spouse can leave a marriage with the property they enter with and any gifts or inheritances acquired during the marriage. Any jointly held property can be set aside to help support any children, and any other property is valued by the court and then “fairly” distributed. It is important to have legal representation in order to assert your rights to your property.
How does the court decide who gets custody of my children?
The courts award custody based on the best interests of the children. What constitutes best interest is often debatable, so it is best to have an attorney who understands your position and can best represent your interests to the court.
What is alimony?
Alimony, or spousal support, is financial support paid to either spouse during or after a divorce, awarded in a lump sum or payments of cash or property. The amount of alimony is often reflected in the division of property after the divorce, so it is best to have an attorney investigate the true value of any items exchanged. Otherwise the court will dictate the amount of alimony and you risk paying too much to your spouse.
My spouse is demanding child support. What does this mean?
Child support is the amount of the non-custodial parent’s property and income set aside to for the custodial parent’s use to raise and support any children. Your divorce attorney will help you determine what is a fair amount to pay your spouse and provide for your children.
What is a protective order?
A protective order is a legal restraint that prevents people you do not wish to encounter from coming interacting with you. They are common after a divorce in order to prevent a dangerous or abusive spouse from contacting you or your children by phone, email, letters, or in person. They can be requested by the spouse or imposed by the court.
How complicated is the adoption process in Oklahoma
Adoption is one of the most complicated legal processes in any state, and for good reason. The courts want to make absolutely sure that a family is safe and can adequately meet the thousands of needs of a child. An experienced lawyer can help expedite the complex and complicated proceedings by representing you as the most responsible and caring parent a child can imagine. Without representation a simple adoption can take years instead of a few months.
I am starting to plan for my estate. What is most important to know?
The plans you make your estate are some of the most important you will ever make. You do not want to burden your friends and loved ones with difficult decisions when the time comes, so planning your estate early and in clearly defined terms. An estate lawyer will provide guidance on complex inheritance laws.
What is a trust?
A trust is legal arrangement that provides for the distribution of property, assets, and other objects of value after a person’s death. Trusts are extremely useful because they answer most difficult questions that can arise during the passing of a loved one. Another important aspect of a trust is that you remain in complete control of your assets through your trust, and help you avoid maximum tax exposure so that your heirs receive what you want them to, not what the government allows them.
What should I look for in a family lawyer in Oklahoma?
Family law requires a very special kind of lawyer, one that treats you as an individual rather than just another case to be won or lost. These legal professionals must combine compassionate understanding of sensitive issues with the drive and determination to protect your rights and maximize your legal position. Contact the attorneys at Atkins & Markoff today, and let us be your allies in all your family law concerns.