Litigation – Divorce, legal separation, and annulment (including complex property and reimbursement issues); custody and visitation (including custody or visitation requested by grandparents and other nonparents), child support and spousal support (including modification, termination, and enforcement of support orders), support-arrearage claims, and representation before the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) and the Family Support Division (FSD); paternity (determining parenthood); palimony (breach of oral promise or promise implied by conduct); and prosecution and defense of requests for family law domestic violence restraining orders and citations of contempt.
Mediation+ – Parties to anticipated or current litigation can opt for relatively low-cost alternative dispute resolution by my confidential mediation services in the practice areas I indicated above, including detailed parenting plans for working parents. Mediation, however, can be a waste of time and effort unless the parties seriously feel they can make a good-faith attempt at mutual compromise to resolve the issues in dispute, knowing the financial and emotional expense of litigation.
Document Preparation++ – I negotiation, prepare, and review with the client following instruments: cohabitation agreements (for couples with no intention of marrying but who want clarity in their property rights and obligations while protecting against palimony claims); prenuptial agreements (for those intending to marry who want security in clarifying property rights and obligations before, during, and after marriage and against palimony claims); transmutation agreements (changing the character of property of spouses from separate to community property, community to separate property, or separate property of one spouse to the separate property of the other); marital settlement agreements (incidental to divorce); durable powers of attorney for financial management (remember, someone needs to pay the bills and sign the tax returns on behalf of an incapacitated person) or healthcare or both, whether the individual empowering his or her agent becomes incapacitated or not); advance healthcare directives (living wills); and revocable living trusts (protecting against the expense and delay of probating an estate while maintaining the flexibility to revoke or amend the trust during one’s lifetime) including special-needs trusts.
+ Note: Because of the mere appearance of a conflict of interest, I cannot ethically provide mediation services if I have an attorney-client relationship with either of the parties. Similarly, I cannot represent either of the parties in litigation if I have previously provided such mediation services.
++ Self-represented litigants (also known as “SRLs” or “pro pers,” i.e., without the assistance of an attorney) – Many who cannot afford continuous representation but still need help preparing paperwork from initial filings (joint petitions, petitions, responses, requests for orders, responsive declarations, any accompanying paperwork, and settlement agreements, etc., will find it much more cost-effective and comforting to have an attorney’s direct assistance in preparing it.