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When married couples finally decide to call it quits, it normally involves a great amount of stress and strife. Normally when a couple has been together for a long time, and the marriage turns sour, it is tremendously difficult to for the two to agree on all of the matters involved in the divorce. There are the rare instances that a couple will not even need a divorce lawyer to help negotiate a resolution. However, this is rarely the case.
If the both of you are mature enough to communicate on all of the matters involved, you will often times still need a legal professional to draft the Nevada uncontested divorce paperwork. If you are lucky enough to enjoy the situations that constitute an uncontested divorce you will very likely still need a lawyer to draft the paperwork.
In most instances it can be difficult to know when you need to hire an Ely divorce lawyer. Most folks will hesitate to seek counsel because they are afraid that if they do, their spouse will also lawyer up. In order to determine exactly when during a contested divorce process, it’s the best time to hire a divorce lawyer, it would be best to understand the steps in a contested divorce in Nevada.
The Complaint for Divorce
The first document that will be filed with the court is called a complaint for divorce. This document gives formal notice to the court and your spouse that you are suing for divorce. Filing a complaint first will label you the plaintiff in the case. In the complaint, your divorce lawyer will list all of the things that you want out of the divorce. Things like custody, child support and such will be included in the document.
In Nevada, the opposing party, now known as the defendant, will have 20 days to respond to the complaint for divorce. Many times, this response will be labeled an opposition and counterclaim. This means that the defendant opposes something in the complaint, be it custody, child support or the division of the assets and debts and is filing their own “counterclaim” in the divorce process.
The Case Management Conference
The first hearing in a Nevada contested divorce proceeding is normally the case management conference. Some jurisdictions refer to this hearing by a different name, however the purpose is the same. Prior to the hearing both the plaintiff and the defendant must file a statement that asks the court to issue temporary orders pending the final order in the divorce. At the hearing, both parties will get to argue their statements and at the end the judge will issue all the temporary orders he or she deems necessary.
The temporary orders that comes from a case management conference generally have to do with temporary custody, child support, temporary alimony and who gets the remain residing in the marital residence, and who is paying what bills. Other temporary orders can be issued at this hearing, depending on what was drafted in the case management conference statements.
In most Nevada contested divorce cases. The judge will order that both parties attend mediation. Meditation is a meeting between both of the parties, minus the lawyers, that is run by a mediator. The mediator acts as an impartial party that attempts to aid the two spouses in reaching a settlement. The mediator does not have any power to order the parties, or decide the aspects of the settlement, but tries to help the two spouses work out the details of a possible settlement themselves.
The purpose of mediation is to try to avoid costly litigation. The only people who benefit from litigation in court is the lawyers and their bank accounts. Mediation is the parties real first opportunity to agree on a fair and equitable settlement, out of court and without having to pay their divorce attorneys for it. It is always in the party’s best interest to come to a settlement during mediation.
The settlement conference is a major hearing in a contested divorce proceeding. Just like the case management conference, your divorce lawyer must draft a statement prior to the hearing that contains their clients demands for a settlement. Settlement conferences can sometimes last up to a half day or more, depending on the issues.
During the hearing the judge will lean on both parties to try to come to a settlement in court. All the evidence that has been compiled and exchanged between the two divorce attorneys will be presented to the judge. Sometimes, if the two parties do not come to a settlement, a second settlement conference would be scheduled allowing the two lawyers more time to try to negotiate a fair deal that both parties will agree to. If no settlement can be reached during the settlement conference, a divorce trial will be scheduled.
Divorce trials are long drawn-out hearings that can last days. During a trial each party submits and argues their evidence in support of their complaints and counterclaims. Witnesses will be called, examined, and cross-examined. Depending on the issues, even the children who are parties to the divorce can be called to testify, and depending on their age, and asked who they would want to live with.
Putting a child on the stand to testify is always a last case scenario as it will likely do emotional damage to them to testify as to which parent, they would rather live with. The majority of family law judges in Nevada will only allow such a thing if the child is of sufficient age and maturity to testify.
Divorce trials are very rare. This is because they are so expensive and time consuming. Even the lawyers do not like having to do divorce trials. While they stand to make a lot of money off them, they still have a full caseload that needs to be worked and if they spend days in a divorce trial, they must then work overtime to meet their deadlines on their other cases.
At What Point is it Smart to Hire a Divorce Lawyer?
Divorces are very tricky situations that are rife with hurt feelings that make trying to agree on all the aspects of the divorce difficult. Even the most mature of us tend to try to be difficult when love has turned to hate, as it tends to do in marriages that end in divorce. If you can still communicate with your spouse to a point where an agreement can be made, then all you need is someone to prepare the paperwork and file it correctly.
There are documents that you can download from the internet that the majority of jurisdictions will accept for an uncontested divorce filing. Unfortunately, these packets can be confusing and hard to complete correctly, and any mistakes can be very costly.
The short answer to the long question here is this, it is generally a smart idea to hire an experienced divorce attorney even before a complaint has been filed. The reason for this is your lawyer will be a reasonable negotiator that may be able to come to an agreement with your soon to be ex-spouse before a complaint even has to be filed, allowing you to file the uncontested paperwork. Then, the lawyer will be able to draft the uncontested divorce paperwork properly, and so that it accurately represents the agreement made.
During the process of the divorce, a good divorce attorney will compile all the evidence that supports their clients’ goals in the proceeding. They will then use that evidence as leverage to attain the settlement that their clients want.
While it may seem like lawyering up could be seen as an aggressive move, and that it might make coming to an agreement more difficult, nothing could be father from the truth. An experienced divorce lawyer will be able to diffuse any hostility that may be present, so that they could begin to negotiate on behalf of their clients.
Find Your Divorce Attorney at Justice Law Center
Our team of expert lawyers at Justice Law Center have been representing the people of Ely, and all over Nevada for over 25 years. We understand that getting a divorce can be a very difficult time for you and your family. We are sympathetic to the needs of our clients during these difficult times, and strive to not only offer expert representation, but also a shoulder to lean on during difficult times.
The initial consultation for divorce cases is always free at Justice Law Center. That way you can sit down with a divorce lawyer before any money changes hands. Our team will take the time to understand your case and give you the best legal advice money can buy, for free.
Call us today and set up for consultation and let our team take it from here.
Josh is writer and paralegal, with over 10 years of experience in family law, personal injury, criminal defense and more.