Middletown Family Lawyer 

A Middletown family lawyer is a great resource if you need advice about a family law issue. A seasoned family attorney may have experience in all areas of family law and could offer you the advice you need and the representation you deserve to resolve your family law issues.

Legal Agreements for Marriages

Marital agreements include prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements, separation agreements, and stipulation agreements. Each type of agreement has its own set of rules and guidelines that should be followed to be enforceable.

Prenuptial Agreements

A “prenup” or premarital agreement is a legally enforceable contract between a couple prior to marriage. It dictates rights and responsibilities for each spouse with respect to property during the marriage and in the event of divorce. Many times, the contract protects assets and debts acquired prior to marriage from distribution to the other spouse in a divorce. A Middletown family lawyer could help draft a prenuptial agreement that protects both parties assets.

Postnuptial Agreements

After a couple is married, they may sign a postnuptial agreement. The contract may be used if a couple did not have a prenuptial agreement or if a prior agreement requires updating due to changed circumstances. This agreement also sets rules for asset and debt division if the couple decides to divorce.

Separation Agreements

Middletown courts allow for the legal separation of a couple in which the parties live apart but remain legally married. The separation agreement dictates terms of the living arrangements, payment of living expenses, child custody, and support for children and the dependent spouse. Sometimes this agreement is a precursor to a final divorce agreement.

Settlement Agreements

A settlement agreement is the contract that specifies the final asset and debt division for a couple undergoing divorce. It can also dictate child custody arrangements, visitation schedules, child support terms, and payment of college expenses for children. The party seeking the modification is required to show a substantial change in circumstances to support the modification.

Matters Related to Marriage Dissolution

Legally married couples may seek divorce under a no-fault basis or fault grounds.  Most often, a no-fault divorce is sought using the grounds of “irretrievable breakdown” which means there is no hope of the couple reconciling.  If an at-fault divorce is filed, some potential reasons might be adultery, extreme cruelty that affects the health of a spouse, imprisonment, alcohol/drug abuse, or abandonment.

Alimony

Temporary alimony may be requested and ordered while divorce proceedings are ongoing. Temporary support is referred to as “pendente lite” which means while the action is pending. This type of support is meant to assist the dependent spouse with day-to-day expenses before the divorce is finalized.

After the divorce decree is issued, one spouse may be ordered to pay the other spouse periodic or permanent support. Typically, the spouse who earns more pays the lower-earning spouse. Periodic support is issued for a finite time, usually to allow a spouse to receive training or education to re-enter the job market.  Permanent support may be granted to a spouse who is older or ill and not expected to become employed.

Child Custody

Child custody is an important factor in divorce. Middletown courts award custody based on the “best interests of the child.” Physical custody may be shared between the parents, or one spouse may be granted sole custody with the other parent given a visitation schedule.

Legal custody is the right to make important decisions for the child such as education, medical, and extracurricular activities. Many times, parents are granted joint legal custody in order to allow them to participate in making important decisions for their child. A Middletown family lawyer could attempt to reach a fair custody agreement that works for the parties involved.

Child Support

Parents have a legal obligation to provide financial support for their children. It is customary for the support to end either when the child reaches the age of 18, or until age 23 if enrolled as a full-time student. Middletown courts employ the state’s Child Support Guidelines that calculates payments using a mathematical formula.

How a Middletown Family Attorney Could Help

Whether you are facing a complex family law issue or simply need basic advice, a Middletown family lawyer could assist you. An experienced attorney may be well-versed in local and state laws, as well as how the court system works. Call today and know that you are in capable hands.