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Divorce: Ready or Not!

Are you ready to file for divorce?

Did you just get served with divorce complaint?

Did you hear from a friend, through social media or otherwise, that your spouse filed for divorce, but he or she did not mention it?

You are not alone.

“Divorce is a time of change. It really rocks a foundation of most people’s lives. When we have our heart broken or our dreams taken away from us, it is a time for growth and change.”

Debbie Ford

Whether you planned it, expected it, or did not see it coming, the divorce process is about to begin. While you can read on the internet or talk to friends or coworkers about it, until you are intimately involved as a party in the divorce, it is hard to imagine the overwhelming sense of having your life suddenly and drastically change.

Whether the divorce is handled fairly and economically, or with the notion of winning versus losing- is not just up to you. Your spouse and opposing counsel play a role in the course of the litigation and resolution. It can be arduous and costly, or not.

There are three procedural options from which you can choose to attain the divorce. They are mediation, collaborative law and litigation.

Atty. Georgiana (“Gina”) LaFortune will talk to you about the pros and cons of each option and how each fits into your personal set of circumstances to you can decide which is best for you.

If your spouse has already filed for divorce, or you expect him or her to file soon, it is not too late to use the options of mediation or collaborative law if you both agree. You can change the procedural option at any time by agreement.

Atty. Georgiana (“Gina”) LaFortune is trained in mediation and collaborative law. In both processes, the parties agree to do their best to reach an agreement on their own, without using the court system expect to approve the final agreement. 

Divorce Mediation

Divorce is one of the most financially traumatic things you can go through. Money spent on getting mad or getting even is money wasted.

- Richard Wagner

With mediation, the parties meet with Atty. Georgiana (“Gina”) LaFortune who serves as the mediator. She will not represent either party in mediation. Instead, she serves as the impartial mediator, facilitating the communication between the parties to help them reach an agreement they both think is fair to themselves and each other. If they reach an agreement, Atty. Georgiana (“Gina”) LaFortune can draft the agreement. Each party has an opportunity to review the agreement with an attorney of their choice before signing it and before going to court. This is not mandatory, but the agreement is a legal document, so reviewing it with an attorney is strongly encouraged. The final agreement has to be approved by the court.

Before beginning a mediation session, Atty. Georgiana (“Gina”) LaFortune will talk to the clients in detail about the process. Mediation is generally a less costly option than litigation and collaborative law. However, it depends on the parties making full, voluntary financial disclosure and being able to communicate freely. If both parties do not have the same acumen for the financial situation of the family or one feels intimidated to speak up, Atty. Georgiana (“Gina”) LaFortune will discuss this before the mediation to give you feedback as to whether or not mediation is the right option for you.

Collaborative Law

Atty. Georgiana (“Gina”) LaFortune has been formally trained and certified in Collaborative Law to resolve divorces. Collaborative law is a process in which both parties have lawyers present for negotiations to represent their interest. However, the lawyers and spouses agree in writing from the outset of the negotiations that they will work together toward an agreement without going to court along the way and the lawyers will not represent the spouses if the agreement cannot be reached. Collaborative Law as the route to divorce is generally more costly than mediation because the attorneys are present, but it can be less costly than litigation and is a helpful alternative for people who want to reach an agreement on their own where one or both are concerned that they do not have the ability to understand the issues or to speak up in the negotiations. The final agreement has to be approved by the court.

Divorce Litigation

“I used to think that divorce meant failure, but now I see it more as a step along the path of self-realization and growth.

- Alana Stewart

If a complaint has been filed, or you want to file the complaint for divorce, your divorce will be litigated in court from the outset. Once the complaint is filed, it is then served by a process server on the other party and a motion for temporary orders usually follows. The court will decide if any support- alimony or child support- will be paid and by whom, who will stay in the marital home, legal and physical custody of the children, and parenting time.  Each party must produce to the other or their lawyer financial documents specified by the probate rules. Additional discovery of financial and other information can be demanded using interrogatories, requests for production of documents and depositions. There can also be motions for appointment of a guardian ad litem and to modify temporary orders. These are but some of the procedures that can stem from a complaint for divorce. Each divorce is different and Atty. Georgiana (“Gina”) LaFortune will give you the information to understand each procedural component to which you must respond or which you may want to initiate so that you can be prepared to negotiate or try your divorce.

Atty. Georgiana (“Gina”) LaFortune will talk to you about for each step of the process and options for temporary orders, including but not limited to payment of household bills, child support, child custody, parenting time, and overall settlement options for the divorce. If the facts of your case include consideration of alimony, the alimony statute provisions and case law relevant to your circumstances will be discussed with you as well.

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