Westborough Divorce Lawyer
Divorce is a very complicated matter, often leading to feelings of anger, jealousy, resentment, and sometimes even revenge. Conflict that arises within a divorce might only be over one aspect or issue, but these types of emotions can fuel the conflict and may have come from issues that were built up within the marriage itself. Divorce completely changes your life. A complicated divorce can be extremely difficult on everyone. A dedicated family lawyer could be just the ally you need to stand by your side no matter what happens to protect your family during this process.
Besides death, a marriage is only terminated when a court enters a judgment of divorce. The end of a marriage can be bittersweet. You may feel mixed feelings of happiness and excitement on one hand, but great sorrow, conflict, and worry for the future on the other. At the same time, there is a reason your marriage is ending. A Westborough divorce lawyer can help you protect what is important in your future while helping you navigate the waters during this emotionally trying time.
The divorce process can be long, slow, and frustrating. If there are allegations of drug and alcohol abuse or domestic and sexual violence, they may complicate issues even further. However, protecting your family and your future is always the most important aspect of any divorce. The extraordinary lawyers with O’Connor Family Law have over 25 years of cumulative experience and will fight for the outcome you deserve as if we were in your shoes. We will help you understand what to expect and help you focus your outlook in a different way so you can actually start your new life and journey on the right foot.
What Can I Expect During the Divorce Process?
There is an underlying process to a divorce that creates a general roadmap. Because of this, we will be able to tell you what you can generally expect within the divorce process. However, we know that your divorce case is unique and may present challenges that cause your divorce to divert from the general path. There might be reasons one case takes a certain turn when another doesn’t, even if they seem similar on the surface.
Procedurally, after a complaint for divorce is filed, a court summons and complaint will be served to the other spouse. A response, which is called an “Answer,” from the spouse will be required within 20 days. Depending upon the issues within your case, you may then be looking at attending a hearing on a motion for temporary orders.
When there are kids or assets involved, either party may file a motion for temporary orders at any point during the divorce litigation. This is essentially requesting that the Court issue an order for you and your spouse to follow until the divorce is over. A temporary order will usually set forth a visitation schedule, child support, or alimony order, say who is living in the house, who is paying the bills, and can also include a host of other issues that cannot generally wait for the case to be over.
When you go to Court for the hearing, you will usually be required to meet with a family service officer through the Family Court Probation Services. This is not the same as probation in a criminal matter. You can think of it more like a mediation where the probation officer will try to help you and your spouse come to an agreement. If the two of you can reach an agreement, that is great and you will enter a stipulation with the Court, which is just the written agreement that lays out each of your rights and responsibilities during the divorce process. If you’re not able to agree, you will go before the Judge and argue why you should get what you want. After the hearing, the Judge will “take it under advisement,” which means they will consider everything that was argued and then issue an order that will come through the mail. Once you get that temporary order, it is basically law and you must follow the terms.
During the divorce process, discovery can be conducted to help uncover any important information or evidence that either of you feel you may need. The amount of discovery that needs to be done highly varies from case to case.
A pre-trial conference hearing is usually scheduled approximately six months after the filing date, although there may be reasons it takes longer. A pre-trial conference hearing is NOT a trial. It’s the opportunity to present your side of the case to the Judge to get some feedback to help you settle the case. About 80 percent of divorce cases are settled at the pre-trial stage, or shortly following that conference based on the Judge’s feedback.
But sometimes, negotiation and compromise doesn’t seem to work, and you may need to fight for what you know is right. If an amenable compromise cannot be reached at this point, your case will likely be scheduled for trial. Our exceptional legal team of divorce attorneys in Westborough has experience litigating divorce cases and can help you fight for the outcome your family deserves. We have extensive experience negotiating agreements as well as going to trial, so no matter what your need is, we can meet it.
Filing for Divorce in Westborough
Where you file for your divorce depends on where you and your spouse reside. If you have lived at least one year in Westborough, you would file for divorce at the Worcester County Probate and Family Court. If you have not lived in Westborough, or Worcester County, for a year you will have to file in the last county you lived in. While the court tries its hardest to resolve cases expediently, the length of your divorce proceedings is greatly dependent on the amount of conflict between you and your spouse.
A contested divorce generally takes between nine and fourteen months to be resolved fully. However, if there are contested issues about custody or allegations of drug, alcohol, child, or spousal abuse, your divorce process may take longer. When your spouse hides assets or otherwise acts in bad faith, it is essential to take the extra time to ensure that the assets are disclosed so they can be distributed fairly. We aren’t afraid to walk into court by your side to ensure that you are being respected and that you are treated fairly.
Contested Versus Uncontested Divorce in Westborough
In an uncontested divorce, both parties need to resolve all issues and put them into a written separation agreement before anything gets filed in Court. Once all the paperwork is completed, you would jointly file a petition for divorce. In situations where a couple can agree on the terms of their separation without any Court intervention, a Judge can then grant a divorce with as little as one appearance in court.
Unfortunately, a contested divorce is the route more often taken during divorce because each spouse has a different idea of what is fair. In a contested divorce, one party files for the marriage’s dissolution and then the other spouse will be served the complaint. You may obtain temporary orders from the court that will dictate how custody, parenting plans, child support, retention of the marital home, and the responsibility to pay bills and debts while the divorce process is ongoing. Even though it is called a contested divorce though, most contested divorces are still resolved through settlement rather than trial.
At O’Connor Family Law, one of our attorneys can be an advisor and friend to help you find the solutions you need.
Let Us Be Your Advocate During Your Divorce
We know that the divorce process can seem daunting and that this period of your life is very stressful. However, we can stand by your side and provide the experience to bring you peace of mind. We have the passion behind us to give you the confidence you may need during the dissolution of your marriage. As with anywhere else in Massachusetts, while ending your marriage in Westborough, a divorce lawyer can fight to ensure that your best interests are represented and that your family is taken care of. Call our legal team at O’Connor Family Law today. We want to protect your needs and rights during this trying time.