Philadelphia Contested Divorce Lawyer
In an ideal world, parties to a Pennsylvania divorce case could resolve their financial and legal matters by agreement. The reality is that many dissolution of marriage proceedings involve disputes where spouses are unable to see eye-to-eye. These matters must go before a judge to decide in a contested divorce hearing, which carries the characteristics of a formal trial. Strict laws and court procedural rules apply.
Litigation is always complicated, but divorce cases also carry emotional implications. Legal representation is essential, so please contact the Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane to schedule a case review. We are experienced in trial advocacy and knowledgeable about the relevant laws. A Philadelphia contested divorce lawyer can provide details on our services, and a summary is helpful.
Issues Before the Court in Contested Divorce
Every case is different, but there are generally three main optics that couples address through dissolution of marriage proceedings in Pennsylvania. As a result, there are three issues that could go before a judge in a contested hearing.
- Asset and Debt Division: State law provides that all property acquired and all obligations incurred by the couple during the marriage are considered marital. Assets each party owned before the wedding are separate, as are inheritances and gifts. All marital property is subject to equitable distribution, which divides the marital estate according to the interests of fairness.
- Spousal Support: A party may request alimony during divorce proceedings and after the case concludes. A judge may award spousal support where reasonable and necessary to balance the financial disparities between the parties.
- Issues Related to Minor Children: A contested hearing may be necessary to determine custody, visitation, and support for minor children. While support works according to state guidelines, custody and visitation must serve the child’s best interests.
How a Contested Hearing Works
Because it is similar to a trial, there are some elements that you may recognize as part of the contested hearing process. The proceedings generally work as follows:
- At the start of the hearing, both parties will be allowed to present opening arguments via their lawyers.
- Each side will have the opportunity to call witnesses, introduce exhibits, and provide other evidence to support their respective positions.
- After presentation of all facts, the parties can present closing arguments to the judge.
- The judge will take all testimony, exhibits, and evidence into account and apply the laws mentioned above. Once the judge makes a decision on property division, alimony, and issues related to minor children, it will be entered as a legally binding order.
Trust a Pennsylvania Contested Divorce Attorney
This description of the proceedings should convince you that representation is critical. The Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane will be at your side throughout the contested hearing process, so much of our work includes advance preparation, such as:
- Developing a strategy for achieving your goals;
- Collecting evidence for use in court;
- Discovery and depositions;
- Preparing you to testify, particularly when it comes to cross-examination by opposing counsel;
- Filing and defending pretrial motions on evidence and factual issues.
On the date of the contested hearing, we will present all proof and arguments to persuade the judge to find in your favor.
Retaining a Philadelphia Contested Divorce Lawyer is Critical
Dissolution of marriage is a complicated process, but the stakes are high when you must go through litigation to protect your rights in a divorce case. Our team at the Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane has extensive experience in court and in-depth knowledge of the laws, so you can trust us to fight for you. Please contact us today to set up an initial consultation with a Philadelphia contested divorce lawyer.