What To Do When Preparing for Family Court
If you or a loved one is looking for information on what to do when preparing for family court, read this article. Then, call our lawyers now.
1) Prenuptial Agreement Riders
A common question from clients who are planning on being wed regards whether child support and maintenance obligations can be included in a prenuptial agreement. These clients are hardly anticipating getting divorced; they are merely aware of the possibility that it could one day occur. Maintenance and child support are complicated solely because the court looks at the parties’ financial circumstances and their income at the time they get divorced.
While a prenuptial agreement may be able to include terms regarding child support and maintenance, and that will be evidence of the parties’ intentions in the event that they do get divorced, it is only at the time of divorce when the court will review the parties’ income and financial circumstances to determine the child support and the maintenance. As the court deliberates, it will review the agreement in that respect.
2) Postnuptial Agreements
There are different types of agreements into which people enter either in anticipation of a divorce or during the divorce itself. Property settlement agreements and prenuptial agreements are arrangements wherein parties are able to reach their own resolutions as to their financial circumstances, assets, liabilities, child support maintenance, and even the payment of distributive awards. A postnuptial agreement is similar to these types of arrangements, except that the parties enter into it after they are married and in anticipation of the possibility of a future divorce.
3) Bringing a Support Person to Family Court
Irrespective of whether or not you have your own attorney, you can bring anyone to court that you would like for moral support. What is important for you to understand is whoever you bring with you to court, isn’t expected to be a participant in the court appearance. For example, if you do not have an attorney and you choose to bring a friend with you, that friend cannot sit with you at the desk before the judge, or speak for you or on your behalf; that would be the unauthorized practice of law. However, you can bring whoever you would like to sit behind you in the court appearance, to watch, to observe, to take notes, and to support you while you’re there.
One exception to this, however, is on trial dates. Generally, courts will bar perspective witnesses from sitting in the back of court proceedings and listening or observing to proceedings before they testify. After they testify, however, you can have your moral support back sitting with you in the court room.
4) Consequences for Missing Family Court
I recently had a case in which the petitioner did not show up for a scheduled Family Court appearance. This was our second or third court appearance, and the judge dismissed the case. A question that I often receive in situations such as this is, “Do any temporary orders that were set remain in effect?” Unfortunately, any temporary orders that were rendered on the petition that is now dismissed die with the dismissal of the case. It is important to know that any final orders that were rendered from a prior petition do remain in effect, so make sure to abide by those terms.
5) Dealing with Criminal Charges and Divorce
If one spouse must handle a criminal matter while a divorce is proceeding, the best course of action is to request a stay in family court. Any statements made in family court can be used against the speaker in criminal court, and there is thus a real risk of a statement made in family court being taken out of context and becoming detrimental during the criminal court proceeding. The best course of action is to resolve the criminal matter before the family court matter can begin.
If you or a loved one is looking for information on what to do when preparing for family court, contact our law office immediately. Our Saratoga Family Law Attorneys will fight for you and your family.
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