Friday, January 7, 2011

“Practice Points” for Dealing with Divorce

I am an attorney practicing primarily in family law matters, including divorce, child custody, child support, and other domestic issues. At the risk of sounding cliché, I enjoy this practice area because I love “working with people.” I have made some observations about particular behaviors people seem to fall victim to time and time again. This blog will give some practical advice to individuals who may be thinking about getting a divorce or who are currently going through one.

I offer the following “Practice Points” to get the discussion started:

1. Does your spouse call you constantly to attempt to harass or threaten you?

*Practice Point #1: You do not have to tolerate this harassment, abuse or threatening behavior.

As soon as your divorce is filed, a temporary injunction is put in place while the divorce is pending to prevent any harassment, threats, or abuse of any kind at any time, and the injunction also prevents disparaging remarks made while in the presence of your children or made in front of your employer.

If you have not yet filed for divorce, you still have the right to remain free from fear and harassment. If the threats are severe and cause you to fear for your safety or the safety of your children, you might consider filing for an order of protection, restraining order, or no contact order.

2. Does your spouse threaten to stop paying child support if you don’t comply with his or her latest demand or request?

*Practice Point #2: If the court has ordered child support, the spouse may not stop payments until there is another court order stating that payments may be modified or stopped.

If your spouse stops child support payments, he or she may be held in contempt of court for failure to comply with a court order. Your spouse is simply trying to manipulate you when he or she threatens to stop paying child support. He or she does not have the right to stop payments until there is a new court order in place to modify the support amount.

The consequences of being found in contempt vary, but a contempt charge may result in the violator being put in jail for up to six months for this violation of a court order to pay child support. In addition, the violator will be required to pay back the amount owed, and this “back child support” is commonly referred to as an arrearage.

I welcome the submission of any question concerning child support, divorce, or child custody matters. If any reader would like it to be addressed either in the blog or to the reader personally, please contact me and I would be happy to provide some information. My contact information is:

Rachel Rieger, Attorney
Tim Hatton & Associates
Phone: (615) 453-9934

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