Category Archives: Divorce

What to do when you get Legal Papers?

It has to be one of the worst feelings in the world.  You are working, perhaps at your job, or you jut got home and there is a strange person there with an envelope.  You hope against hope that it is not a package from 1) the IRS and/or 2) an attorney.  The person may be a plain clothes process server you have never seen before or even a sheriff’s deputy or constable.  What do you do? Run? Scream? Invoke the Castle Doctrine? No.

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Breath. Take the papers. Be polite to that person, as they may later be a witness.  If not nice, at least be indifferent.

What to do When you get Legal Papers?

  • 1) Take the papers.
  • 2) Review the papers.
  • 3) Make a copy.
  • 4) Take them to an attorney.

“Okay. I took the papers. What next?” Call your lawyer.  DO NOT IGNORE THE PAPERS!  Do not put them in the car to be forgotten. Do not pile them up with your junk mail.

In most instances the moment you received those papers a potentially critical deadline began to run.  That deadline can be from 2 days to 7 to 30 or 45 days, but nonetheless a clock is now ticking.

On numerous occasions I have had a potential client call and say that they have Court on Wednesday. I think, “well today is Monday they can’t do that.” My next questions is when did you get the papers? “June. About a month and a half ago”  Yikes. Don’t do this.

Think of all the anxiety they have put themselves through with the weight of those legal papers on their mind. If you get papers take them to an attorney.  Have them reviewed, know what they mean and how you need to respond to them.

Matthew Thompson is a family law attorney and has been served papers before, so he knows what he’s talking about.  Trust the Bow Tie.

Follow the blog: BowTieLawyer    Visit the website: Thompson Law Firm

You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@wmtlawfirm.com.

Know What is Going on in Your Case!

There have been countless times that I have spoken to a potential client (PC, not to be confused with a personal computer), that has been represented by another attorney, and the PC does not know what is happening in their own case.  This is unbelievable to me.  They do not know what was filed, they do not know if it has been set for trial, they do not know who the judge is.

A Family Law case is just about the most difficult thing that you do as an adult, short of a death of a close family member.  And in some instances Divorce can be worse because it’s the “death” of a marriage and you still have to co-exist with the other party.  At least if they were dead you wouldn’t have to deal with them.  Glib humor aside, Family Law is hard.

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As a client you should know what has been filed; a Joint Complaint or a Fault based Complaint, you should know if you have Court coming up, and you should know who the Judge is.  Now, if you were told all of this and chose not to place this info into your permanent memory banks because you have confidence in your attorney and your goal is to get through today, that is ok.  But, if you don’t know the details because it has not been explained to you, it is time for a sit down and a heart to heart, seeing eye to eye with your attorney. (BTW, all attorneys have been guilty of this a time or two…)  Don’t be afraid to ask  who, what, when, where and why?  Their job is to answer those questions.

Now in defense of attorneys, sometimes we do explain things and they are misunderstood or are somewhat complex and a short explanation has to do for the meantime.  Persons going through Family Law situations can be highly emotional and sometimes it’s information overload.  In that circumstance you may choose NOT to explain everything or  ask that a family member or trusted friend attend with the client for an in-person meeting.   Sometimes the attorney is speaking pig-latin, a bad habit.

As a client, ask what is going on. Know what is going on.  It is the rest of your life.  (It may just be another case for the attorney.)

What to do when your Differences Cannot be Reconciled?

Irreconcilable Differences (“ID divorce”) is Mississippi’s answer to the NO FAULT* divorce.  Mississippi is not a true NO FAULT state. In MS both parties must agree to the divorce and to all the terms of the divorce, including ALL issues of child custody, child support, equitable distribution (how MS divides your stuff) and alimony, if any.  Every issue has to be agreed upon to gain an ID divorce***.  If ALL can be agreed upon, an ID divorce is just about the quickest and least expensive way to get a divorce in MS.

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The basic process is;

1) File a Joint Complaint for Divorce (begins the 60 day waiting period**),

2) Exchange Financial Statements (called an 8.05),

3) Draft and sign an Agreement stating all of the details of who gets what, and who pays what (called a Property Settlement Agreement or PSA),

4) Draft and sign a Final Judgment (the actual divorce), and finally

5) Present all to the Judge for approval.

The Judge will review the Filings, Financial Statements and Agreement, and if the judge finds it “adequate and sufficient” will sign off.   Upon the signed Final Judgment being filed and recorded by the clerk- You are DIVORCED.

Well that is fine, but what if we thought we could agree and now we cannot? What can I do then?

Either party can prevent an ID divorce by;

1) Not agreeing;

2) Not signing anything;

3) Filing on Fault;

4) Filing a Notice of Withdrawal of Consent.

An ID divorce is the most often granted type of divorce in Mississippi and even most fault based divorces are converted into an ID divorce.  The benefit to an ID divorce is that it does not require adversarial positions to be taken in Court and it gives you, the parties, the ability to agree and have the say in the outcome of your situation.  Anything that could be had in a fault based divorce can likewise be achieved in an ID divorce, with the sole exception of having the divorce granted on fault.

* In a NO FAULT state either party can secure the divorce regardless if the other party agrees . In the event they cannot agree the Court can divide the property.

** The 60 day waiting period is the minimum time that the parties to an ID divorce must wait. It is designed as a cooling off period.

*** There is also the possibility of a hybrid situation where you and your spouse can agree on the divorce and agree to let the Judge decide the issues that you cannot agree upon.  This technique, however, has its risks and should not be gone into lightly and certainly not without consultation of an attorney.

Visit the website: Thompson Law Firm

You may also contact Matthew with your family law case, question or concern at (601) 850-8000 or Matthew@bowtielawyer.ms

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