Divorce litigation is a legal process in which spouses seeking divorce (and/or parents who disagree about custody, visitation, and child support) choose their own individual attorneys to represent them in their proceedings. All communications, correspondence and exchange of information takes place between the attorneys. Litigation can involve discovery, an exchange of financial information and other mandatory disclosure requirements, interrogatories, request for production of documents, depositions, case management conferences, motions if applicable, pre-trial conferences and if necessary, trial.
Our litigation department represents clients in all aspects of handling their case through the court system including filing requests on behalf of our clients for a Judge to determine, responding to and opposing requests by the other party, and attempting to negotiate settlement in an effort to reduce conflict and costs if possible. Divorce litigation is necessary when parties cannot communicate or reach agreements between themselves. Litigation is also necessary when there seriously safety concerns for the parties or their children. Our attorneys are extremely familiar with courts in the surrounding counties and provide advice to our clients based on years of experience in the courtroom.
High Asset Divorce
If you and your spouse are getting divorced and you own a wide range of assets or highly valued property, it is important to hire an attorney with significant experience handling these types of complex divorce cases. At Bouchard Baker PC, we draw upon more than 15 years of combined experience representing clients in all types of divorces — from relatively straightforward matters involving limited property issues and no children to the most complex divorces involving children, business ownership, retirement accounts, investments, stocks and stock options, and various other assets and liabilities. We serve clients in Rhode Island and South Eastern Massachusetts.
Protecting Your Rights And Interests
Our attorneys and staff are dedicated to protecting our clients’ rights and interests throughout the divorce process in California. Some common issues that arise in complex, high-asset divorces include:
- Business valuation, including self-employed businesses, partnerships and family businesses
- Division of multiple properties
- Division of stocks and stock options
- Uncovering hidden assets
- Underreporting income on tax filing
- Separate property reimbursement claims
We often work with forensic accountants, business valuation experts, tax professionals, child specialists and other experts, depending on each client’s specific needs. We will listen to your goals, collect all pertinent information and may turn to our network of trusted professionals to best represent you.
Divorce Mediation is a confidential, out-of-court process by which the parties in a dispute, assisted by a neutral family law attorney (the mediator), discuss their unique issues and options and reach mutual agreements regarding co-parenting and sharing custodial time with their children, setting child and spousal support and dividing their assets and debts. The power to resolve these issues lies in the hands of the parties. The mediator doesn’t make decisions, dictate terms or give advice. The mediator is a guide and legal resource for the parties.
Mediation has the benefit of giving the parties control over their matter. It also has the potential to be less time-consuming and more cost-effective.
Establishing a child custody agreement can be one of the most difficult aspects of a divorce. While every parent wants what is best for the children, emotions can run high and parents’ judgments can become clouded. At Bouchard Baker, PC, we help our clients make effective child custody decisions that are in the best interests of their children.
Child custody arrangements can have a substantial impact on other family law matters such as child support and spousal support. This is why it is imperative to seek experienced legal counsel. Our attorneys are committed to achieving our clients’ goals in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
Custody Mediation/Custody Counseling
Custody Mediation, now called Custody Counseling, is required for contested child custody matters prior to a court hearing in many counties. Some counties allow an attorney to accompany you to custody counseling. If this is the case in your county, we will be by your side throughout the process. If not, we will thoroughly prepare you for these meetings. When the proceedings are finished, a mediator will make a written recommendation to the court regarding the child’s custody arrangement, which can be upheld or argued. Our experience in dealing with the various counties and custody counselors can provide you with important feedback and guidance both prior to and after the meetings.
Child Custody Enforcement and Modification
Our lawyers also have extensive experience representing parents in child custody enforcement proceedings and custody modifications. No matter which side you may be on, we can offer experienced advice and guidance.
When parents decide to go their separate ways, establishing child support is often a necessity. At Bouchard Baker, PC, we help our clients determine who will pay child support, explain how the support amount is determined and ensure that our clients’ interests are protected throughout the process.
Support Enforcement and Modifications
Our lawyers are deeply familiar with child support laws. Whether you need representation during an initial child support determination, to extend support for a special needs child over 18 or to enforce or modify an existing child support order, we are prepared to assist you.
Often referred to as alimony, spousal support is established to assist the lower-earning spouse following a divorce. There are two forms of spousal support: temporary spousal support and permanent spousal support.
Temporary Spousal Support
Temporary spousal support is determined at the beginning of divorce proceedings to help the lower earner maintain status quo while the marital property is evaluated, child support is determined (if necessary) and other aspects of the divorce are settled. Then, a permanent support amount can be calculated.
Permanent Spousal Support
Permanent spousal support is largely based on the income and tax obligations of both spouses, as well as factors such as:
- The marital standard of living
- The age of the spouses
- The duration of the marriage
- The roles of each spouse in the marriage
- Contributions to a spouse’s education and training
- The supporting spouse’s ability to pay
- The employability of the recipient spouse
Establishing permanent spousal support often requires significant negotiation. The lawyers at Bouchard Baker, PC, are skilled negotiators and aggressive litigators. We will do everything we can to achieve your goals in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
Extensive Experience: Spousal Support Modification, Enforcement and Termination
We have extensive experience representing clients in spousal support proceedings involving modifications, enforcement and termination. No matter which side you may be on, we are fully prepared to assist you.
Nearly all divorces involve the division of marital property. Our lawyers are deeply familiar with community property laws and will ensure that your property settlement accurately accounts for all of your assets and debts. The process of assessing separate and community property can be very involved. It is extremely important to hire an attorney with significant experience handling asset division during divorce.
From the most straightforward divorce involving minimal property to high-asset divorces involving business assets, investments, retirement accounts and multiple real properties, we know what to look for and how to best protect your rights and interests.
While property division issues can cause divorces to become contested, we are often able to use our well-developed negotiation skills to achieve property settlements in an amicable manner, saving our clients a great deal of time, money and stress. When litigation is unavoidable, we will do everything we can to achieve your goals as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible.
Paternity matters can be emotionally trying and disruptive to the lives of everyone involved. When paternity must be determined for legal purposes, often issues related to child custody, parental rights and child support are at the heart of the matter. At Bouchard Baker, PC, our attorneys are available to those seeking experienced representation during sensitive paternity proceedings.
Efficient And Cost-Effective Representation
We focus on resolving paternity cases as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. Often, this is achieved through skillful negotiations between the parties’ attorneys, rather than through expensive and stressful litigation.
All parents have certain legal rights and obligations. Our attorneys will take the time to understand your unique situation and provide advice tailored to your needs. We can provide you with experienced advice and representation in the following types of paternity matters:
- DNA testing
- Establishing child custody
- Establishing and enforcing child support
Our goal is to alleviate the stress and burdens that arise from challenging family law matters. From the very beginning, we are focused on protecting your rights, looking out for your best interests and moving you through the process in an efficient manner.
Premarital and Post Marital Agreements
While no one plans to eventually divorce or separate, when a partner enters a marriage or domestic partnership with significant income, assets or property, he or she needs to be prepared in the event that the relationship should end. A prenuptial agreement or domestic partnership agreement is an effective way to keep personal property separate from community property and to establish a mutual agreement regarding spousal support.
Premarital and post-marital agreements will help you stay in control of your money and property, and avoid conflict. If you are already married or living with your partner, you can still create an agreement regarding the division of property and support if the relationship should end. However, there are different rules and limitations for these types of “postnuptial” agreements, so it is important to consult an experienced family law attorney for assistance.
Protecting Your Rights and Pursuing A Favorable Outcome
Whether you have been accused of some form of abuse or you have brought a domestic violence charge against your spouse or child’s other parent, we will work with you to understand your side, help you identify your options, and provide you with experienced advice and counsel aimed at obtaining a favorable outcome.
Protective orders, commonly called restraining orders, are implemented in situations involving allegations of physical violence. At Bouchard Baker, PC, we have extensive experience representing clients on all sides of these serious cases. If you have been served a protective order or you need help to pursue one, please contact our law firm for assistance.
A protective order forbids the alleged abuser from having contact with the family member or members who fear for their safety. Often, this requires the alleged offender to stay away from the family dwelling and prevents him or her from making any type of contact with a spouse or children.
If you or your child has been a victim of domestic violence, we will aggressively work to protect your well-being. We will first help you obtain an emergency order to provide immediate protection and then guide you through the more in-depth process of obtaining a longer restraining order — usually for a period of several years.
If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, we ensure that your rights are protected and explain the remedies available to you.
When The Stakes Are High, Trust Our Experience
Domestic violence charges and restraining orders can significantly impact pending family law cases, especially those involving children. It is extremely important to hire a knowledgeable attorney in these high-stakes cases.
At Bouchard Baker, PC, we routinely guide clients through the step-parent adoption process. While this is typically an exciting time for the family, it can also be an emotional one. We enjoy helping our clients through the process and work diligently to ensure that the adoptions proceed in a smooth, efficient and stress-free manner.
A step-parent adoption usually takes place in one of two ways:
- A biological parent gives up his or her parental rights and consents to the adoption, typically to waive child support obligations
- A biological parent has failed to support or contact the child for at least one year; the other parent may file for termination of the missing parent’s parental rights