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Family Law Newsletters

Bifurcated Divorces

A court may order the termination of the marriage of a husband and wife, while reserving the resolution of certain issues for a later time. This procedure is called a "bifurcated divorce." When a bifurcated divorce is ordered, issues such as the division of the spouses' property, child custody, and child support are decided at a separate trial or hearing, after the marriage is terminated.

Child Welfare Agencies' Potential Malpractice Liability for Inadequate or Inappropriate Foster Care Services

If a child welfare agency or caseworker determines that a child needs to be moved into protective custody, the agency's duty to that child is not discharged. The agency or caseworker has a continuing duty to ensure that the child is not mistreated in her foster care home.

Post-Decree Modification of Child Custody

A court is guided by one principle when deciding the issue of child custody. That principle is the best interest of the child. The best interest of the child is determined by examining the child's relationship with the parents and important family members, the child's health and social development, and the child's general well-being.

Post Decree Modification of Spousal Support

While a divorce case is pending, a court has the power to dissolve the parties' marriage, to resolve issues of child custody and child support, to divide the parties' debts and liabilities and to order the payment of spousal support. The court has the power to take these actions because it has jurisdiction over the parties and the subject matter. Once a final divorce decree is entered, the case terminates.

Self-representation In a Divorce Action

There is no requirement that parties to a divorce action hire an attorney to represent them during the divorce proceedings. Either party or both parties may represent themselves during their divorce proceedings. Whether one chooses to represent themselves or hire an attorney, is a personal choice. One should weigh the advantages and disadvantages involved in self-representation.