Divorce Filing & Representation
Every divorce is different, as every family is unique. It can be an overwhelming prospect to some. Some divorces are straight forward. Many are complex: long term marriages with children, self-employed individuals, businesses, property or significant debt, which can be harder to navigate. Attorney Carroll will work with you to identify your goals, thoroughly explain your legal rights and obligations, court proceedings and legal pleadings so that your divorce experience will be as smooth and stress free as possible.
Colleen Carroll’s experience in the courtroom makes her an ideal advocate for you, should your divorce require a trial. Some cases have high stakes, needing quick assembly and emergency hearings. Knowing that you have a calm and versatile advocate can make all the difference.
Getting a divorce can be an overwhelming prospect. Here is an overview of some of the steps that may be taken in a typical divorce:
1. Filing the Divorce Complaint
A Complaint is filed with the court seeking divorce. This can be based on specific legal grounds or irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, or “no-fault”. In order to file for divorce, you must meet the required residency criteria. This varies from state to state but Massachusetts Law requires that one spouse must be a resident of Massachusetts. Common reasons for “at-fault” divorce are adultery, neglect, and abuse, to name a few. If you are unsure about whether to file a no-fault or fault divorce, Attorney Carroll can help guide you to making the best decision for your situation.
2. Serve Your Spouse and Wait for a Response
A copy of the Complaint and a Summons is served upon your spouse, typically by a Constable or Deputy Sheriff. This ensures that the other party has notice of the Complaint for Divorce and the opportunity to file an Answer. Proof of Service is filed with the court which confirms that you have met the requirements of serving the paperwork on your spouse. Both serving your spouse and filing proof of service are necessary for the divorce to proceed.
3. Asking for Temporary Orders
Divorce can be a lengthy process, so it may be wise to file a request for Temporary Orders (Or Motion for Temporary Orders) until the divorce is finalized. After filing the your Motion, there will be a court hearing with information given by each side. A judge will decide whether to grant or deny the request. Temporary Orders may address issues such as custody of children, who resides in the marital home, payment of marital debt, and child or spousal support just to name a few.
4. Negotiate a Settlement
The court requires that the parties meet in-person. Now it is time for both spouses and their attorneys to negotiate in good faith toward an agreement. This is perhaps the most difficult stage of the proceedings. If negotiations do not result in an agreement then the case will go to trial. Attorney Carroll’s specialized training as a Conciliator and Mediator allow her to present your best case and assist you in achieving your goals.
5. Divorce Trial
Despite your best efforts, sometimes negotiation fails to bring you to an agreement. The parties must go to court, present their case and have a judge decide how things will be resolved. Attorney Carroll’s background as a litigator, trying complex cases in all courts of the Commonwealth sets her up to be your best advocate should a divorce proceed to a trial.
The final step, whether the divorce is settled through negotiation and agreement, or a trial, is a judge issuing the Judgement of Divorce. This finalizes the case and, if resolved by agreement, approves and adopts the parties agreed allocation of assets, debts, custody, child and spousal support, and other responsibilities as set forth in their Separation Agreement. If the case is resolved by trial, the Judge will issue Rulings and Findings of Fact.
”Words cannot describe my gratitude for the outstanding work that Colleen has done. She was very professional, handling my case with uppermost concern and involvement. She is a sharp, knowledgable, and diligent attorney, and I am quite satisfied with the excellent job that she did. I would strongly recommend her as your attorney.”