Filing A Motion For Discovery


In almost any family law proceding, it can be imperative to file a motion for discovery.  A motion for discovery compells the other party to release the information you are asking for, but this information MUST pertain to the case.  For example, if you are seeking a modification of child support, you can ask for the other parties’ income.  However, you CANNOT ask for their spouse’s income.

The motion for discovery allows you and the Court to review information that may be pertinent to what you are asking for.  Some common items to request in a motion for discovery, with regards to family law:

  • 3 Most Recent Paystubs
  • Previous Year’s W-2s and full tax forms
  • Lease
  • Monthly Expenses
  • Proof of Debts
  • Bank Statements

These items can be extremely important in a divorce and/or a modification of child support.

Before filing a motion for discovery, you must be aware of your state’s rules of discovery.  If you need help with a motion for discovery, contact Cheap Legal Help

Filing A Motion In A Different State


A problem that many of our military men and women face when needing a divorce, child custody, child support modificatioin or dealing with visitations is that the court that holds jurisdiction is not close to where they are stationed, and they can’t get leave to deal with their case.

This issue is relatively easy to solve.  A service member can file their motion in the appropriate court under the Service Member’s Relief Act.  This legislation was inacted to allow military member’s to resolve legal proceedings even when they can’t physically appear in court.

The concern when it comes to family law is being able to make an argument to court.  It is unreasonable to expect any judge to grant you custody, a reduction of child support or more visitations if they can’t hear your argument.  This is why making your argument clear, concise and convincing in your motioin is imperative. 

Furthermore, it is crucial for you to file all motions, such as motion for discovery and motion for contempt of court, when you file your motion.  You can not file these later! 

If you aren’t sure what motions to dile for your case, Cheap Legal Help can assist you!

Stay tuned for our next blog: Filing a Motion for Discovery

Child Support and the Military


Military men and women across the world pay their fair share of child support….thruthfully, it is often more than their fair share.  Many states have what I call a “base rate of child support”.  This means that they have a percentage of income that a non-custodial parent is required to pay for the maintenance and support of the minor child, and this percentage is generally incrementally increased per child.

Other states have laws that prohibit a child from living “below a certain standard” as a result of their parents’ decision to separate.  These states are a little more complicated.  However, one benefit to these states is that they consider both parents’ income and/or earning potential. 

When you are in the military, child support is often complicated by entitlements that you receive, such as BAH and BAS.  It should be made clear that these entitlements ARE NOT income and should not be counted as such.  While states are not allowed to include BAH and BAS in a child support calculation, many try to, and the military member must fight this when it happens.

There are several ways to “prove” these entitlements should not be considered income:

  • Income Tax Forms:  Military members do not claim BAH or BAS on their taxes as income, nor are they required to.  Therefore, it can be argued that if the federal government does not count these monies as income, neither should the courts.
  • Letter From JAG:  JAG can and will draft a letter, if necessary, that explains what BAH and BAS are and that they are not considered income for the military member.

If you feel like you are currently paying too much in child support, you are free to file a motion for modification of child support.  This motion requires the courts to examine your income and expenses, in accordance with state laws about child support.

Cheap Legal Help can answer all questions regarding what your state’s laws are and whether a motion for modification of child support would be beneficial to you.

Getting Divorced While Deployed


 

So the other day I was using my husband’s phone and looked through his texts.  I admit I was probably being a little nosey, but thats not the point here!  I saw this text with a naked chic, and I’m like WTF??  And then I read the text and here is what it said….

     “Pass this along…This wife cheated on her husband while he was deployed.    Let’s make her famous boys!”    

I was appalled at first, and then I thought about it.  This guy is deployed to Iraq, sweating his butt off everyday, being shot at and mortared, and this female can’t even wait til he gets home.

How often does this happen to our military members?  Its quite frequent, to be honest.  And whether you are a man or a woman in the military, its not unlikely that you wake up one morning in Iraq or Afghanistan, check your bank account and everything is gone. 

So now you are headed for divorce court, but do you have to wait til you return stateside??

The answer is absolutely NO!  You can file for your divorce, and have it granted before you even return home.  If there are children, you can handle that issue too…all while you are down range.  If you need help, Cheap Legal Help can prepare all documents, and fax or email them for your signature.  We can then file them with the appropriate state for you.

I know what you are thinking…I can’t get leave to handle a divorce, child custody, visitations or child support.  We can handle that too!  Because of the Service Member’s Relief Act, you can “appear” via phone or video conference, if this is needed.  Often times, it isn’t.

Regardless of your needs Cheap Legal Help always does our consultations free, and we are always available to answer your questions.

Creating a Visitation Schedule for Your Child


We typically reserve this blog for our military members.  However, visitation with one’s child is an important issue that affects parents across the country, military or civilian.  Even if you do not have a custody agreement through the court system, it is a custodial parent’s responsibility to ensure visitations.

Many people assume that a visitation schedule is an intrinsic part of a divorce decree or a child support order, but this is simply not the case.  Unless a visitation schedule is intentionally put into a divorce decree, there isn’t one.  Further, when a parent files for child support from the non-custodial parent, there is absolutely no consideration for visitations with the other parent.

So how do you obtain a “fair and reasonable” visitation schedule with your child?  The best way to ensure this is through filing a motion with the court that has jurisdiction over your case.  If there is no court jurisdiction, you will have to file in the state where the child resides.

A few things to consider when filing this motion:

  • Your location in relation to the child’s.  For example, are you in the same city or county, or are you across the country?
  • Is the child in school?
  • What your visitation schedule, if any, has been like to-date.

Location is possibly one of the most important factors to address in your motion.  Obviously, if you live relatively close (for example, an hour driving time) to your child, you should ask for more frequent visitations.  This does not mean that if you are farther away that you can not expect quality visitations with your child.  It does mean, however, that you should ask for longer visitations.  For instance, ask for the full summer and all of spring break. 

If you have to travel a greater distance to visit with your child, you should also consider asking the other parent to pay for half of the travel expenses.  Whether this means driving, flying or by train.  Most courts will state that both parents have a responsibility to facilitate visitations, this means financially too.

A visitation agreement is imperative if the custodial parent is not allowing you to see your child.  Most courts see refusal of parenting time as grounds for a turn-over of custody.  If you have a visitation agreement, keep track of missed visitations and the reason given.  This record will serve as proof that the other parent is not living up to their responsibilities.

Without a visitation agreement setup through the courts, you can only claim that the other parent is not allowing you access to the child.  Remember to that if you have a visitation agreement, it is imperative that you keep your visitation schedule.  This can sometimes be difficult if you are in the military.  However, it is not unreasonable to expect the custodial parent to work with you on visitation schedule conflicts. 

Child visitation is a daunting process to face, but the benefit to your child is priceless.  If you need assistance filing a motion for establishing, enforcing or modifying visitations, Cheap Legal Help specializes in helping with these matters.  Whether you are military or civilian we will help to ensure that you are seeing your child.

 

 

 

How Long Do You Have to Wait???


One of the worst parts of divorce is the waiting game.  People wait for one to move out.  People wait to contact an attorney, usually because they can’t afford one.  And then some wait because the other party doesn’t want to divorce.  What are your options?  How long do you have to wait to get your divorce?

The short answer is it depends on your state of residence.  Waiting periods, can vary widely to none (for 34 states) and up to 18 months.  There is also a difference in waiting to file for a divorce, and waiting for your divorce decree.

For example, Alabama has no specific statutory requirements for waiting to file for your divorce, or receiving your divorce decree.  However, New Jersey requires to you wait 18 (LONG) months to receive your divorce decree.  So what are the differences?

In a state like California (where there are no requirements), the waiting game is as long as it takes you to hammer out the details of your divorce and file your motion.  On the other hand, in Arkansas, you can file for your divorce immediately, but the courts will wait 18 months to hand you your decree.

In the states that have no specific waiting periods, there is usually a residency requirement.  In fact, in Texas, you don’t have to wait a specific amount of time, but you do have to be a resident for at least 6 months to file there.  Further, if your divorce is being contested by the other party, you must wait an additional 60 days once you file.  But let’s be honest, 8 months is NOTHING compared to 18, when all you really want to do is get it over with and pretend that person never existed to you.

Other states, like North Carolina, have a separation statute.  In North Carolina, you and your spouse MUST live in separate households for one year prior to filing for your divorce.  So why is there such a huge difference between the states?

That answer is elusive.  It may stem from whether the state government leans more to the left or right, or from the state divorce rate.  One thing is clear, make sure when you file your motion for divorce that you ask for everything you want.  This is your one and only shot.  The only modifications you can file once your divorce is final is in regards to children, and typically these types of modifications require a “significant” change in circumstances.

To ensure you are filing properly, you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on attorney fees, you can hire a document preparation firm that is well-versed in family law.

Contact Cheap Legal Help now (915-256-9318), to get a free consultation regarding your state’s requirements.

Child Custody and Military Members


Child Custody in the MilitaryMany of our military members do not have custody of their children, because they think its unobtainable, due to deployments or moving around.  This is simply not the case.  Military members can obtain custody of their children, regardless of these factors.

There are several factors that service members must think about if they are seeking custody of a child/children:

  • Family Care Plan
  • When you are expecting to deploy again
  • How often you go to the field

A “family care plan” in the military is quite simply who will be taking care of your children when you are unable to be in the home fulltime, such as on a deployment or in the field.  The family care plan includes short and long term provisions for the care of your children while you are not available.

Contrary to popular belief, the soldier DOES NOT have to designate a family member as their care provider.  It can be a military spouse, a neighbor or anyone else that you feel will provide your children with adequate care and love in your absence.

Many military members do not fight for custody of their children, due to misconceptions surrounding the Family Care Plan.  Cheap Legal Help can answer any questions regarding this issue.

If you are expecting to deploy in the next six months, it doesn’t seem advantageous to file for custody immediately.  A change in custody is always life altering for a child, even when there are circumstances that warrant it, such as abuse or failing school grades.  Therefore, the less “life changes” a child has to deal with in the immediate future, the better.  However, it is a good idea to starting your document preparation close to the time of your expected return to the states.

If however, you are not expecting to deploy in the near future…like Nike says “Just Do It”.  If you can assure a quality family care plan and a “stable” home, there is absolutely no reason to not seek custody, whether that be physical, joint or any form of custody that you deem appropriate, of your children.

We need to clarify the term “stable” home.  Many service members do not file for custody of their child, because they feel that they courts will not see their home as stable simply because they are in the military.  This may have been the case several years ago, but no longer.

Family courts CAN NOT penalize service members for having to move, due to their job.  Many people relocate due to promotions, seeking another job, or other personal reasons.  Military members are typically stationed in one area for at least two years.  Therefore a this is a stable environment, with many benefits for children, such as activities, educational help, and more.  Unstable environments are typically when children are being moved around every six months or yearly. 

If you are a service member whose unit is constantly in the field (for example, two weeks out of every month), unless you live close to the other parent, it may be beneficial to the child, to wait until you are with a unit that is not in the field so often, to file your custody documents.

If you are a military member and have questions about filing for custody of your child/children, call Cheap Legal Help (915-256-9318) immediately.  We can answer questions, and begin your documents within a few days.

What is Cheap Legal Help


Cheap Legal Help was created for anyone that needs legal help, but can not afford an attorney.  No matter where you are or where your case is, you can get help!

Need help with a divorce, child custody, establishing visitations, reducing your child support?  Cheap Legal Help does all of that and more.

When people dissolve a marriage or relationship, it is difficult, and Family Law attorneys are notorious for making it more difficult, time consuming and expensive.  It is in a family law attorney’s best interest to drag your case out, because they get paid by the hour.  Once your retainer is depleted, they require another.  There are other options.

Chealp Legal Help charges a FLAT RATE per service, and there are discounts when you need more that one service.

This is our first blog.  Future blogs will deal with different issues pertaining to family law, new cases we are completing and more.  Subscribe to our blog to get the latest happenings!

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