Relationships are complicated. Navigate Law Group is here to help if you are experiencing issues in your personal relationships. Our family law attorneys focus their practice on these sensitive and dynamic issues to ensure you have the best representation and advice. Our attorneys understand that your life carries on every day while you are dealing with these complicated legal issues, and we are there right there with you. We help you continually strategize and watch out for your best interests. The term “family law” is a broad category, so we are here to help you understand if your issue is something we can help you with.
Have questions about Family Law matters?
- Divorce with/without Children
- Contested Divorce
- Agreed Divorce
- Maintenance/Alimony/Spousal Support
- Child Custody/Support
- Post-Secondary Support (a.k.a. college support)
- Legal Separation
- Immediate Restraining Order
- Temporary Orders
- Modification of Maintenance/Alimony/Spousal Support
- Modification of Child Support
- Post-Secondary Support (a.k.a. college support)
- Modification of Parenting Plan
- Cohabitation Agreement
- Committed Intimate Relationship
- Child Custody
- Establishment of Parentage and Parenting Plans
- De Facto Parentage
- Non-Parent Custody
- Minor Guardianship
- Non-Parent Visitation
- Child Support
- Temporary Orders
- Prenuptial Agreement
- Agreed Adoption
- Contested Adoption
- Immediate Restraining Order
- Domestic Violence Protection Order
Divorce without Children
Divorce is the ending of your marriage. Our attorneys can get you through the process. A divorce includes the division of your assets, debts, and potential spousal support (aka alimony or maintenance). Your divorce may be agreed or contested – we can help with either. Our attorneys are masters of strategizing, counseling, giving legal advice, negotiating, explaining difficult concepts, drafting legal documents, and litigating. We are here to assist you with whatever is thrown your way during your divorce – simple or complex.
Divorce with Children
Everything explained above holds true in a divorce with children, however children will make a divorce more complex. If you are divorcing with children, you will have to come up with a plan to co-parent and share time with the children. Our attorneys can help you craft a plan that is unique to your family’s needs while also being strategic long-term. You may want to limit the contact of the other parent – we can assist with that as well.
As part of a divorce with children, you will also have to enter a Child Support Order in which both parties are financially responsible for the financial care of the children. We can help you navigate these court documents and calculations.
A contested divorce is when one or both parties do not agree with the divorce and/or has an issue with the divorce process or what is being requested. Contested divorces often end up in court, which is called litigation. We are skilled in the courtroom and will be there to protect you in and out of court.
An agreed divorce occurs when both parties are amicable and agree on all terms of the divorce (i.e. you agree on how everything will be divided/shared). Our lawyers are collaborative, cooperative, and help amicable couples smoothly move through the divorce process with their agreement intact.
Maintenance is the term for money that is paid to one spouse from the other spouse for financial support. This can either be temporary or permanent support, depending on the facts and circumstances. Maintenance is not guaranteed in family law cases, as it is very case-specific and depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to length of marriage, financial position of both parties, age/health, lifestyle during the marriage, etc. Our attorneys can help you analyze whether maintenance applies to your situation, and if so, to what degree.
Child custody is the legal term regarding the legal right to spend time with and parent a child. Legal custody of a child will have an impact on a variety of things such as day-to-day decision making, health and medical decisions, as well as educational decisions. This applies to parents in a marriage and parents that never married. This could also apply to grandparents, close relatives, or family friends. In a case regarding child custody, the Court will determine who is the primary parent and who has visitation. Navigate attorneys can help you work through this dynamic and complex issue.
Child support is the financial responsibility of both parents to support their child. Child support is mandated by law, and it is where one parent pays financial support to the other parent for the care of the child unless an exception applies or a reduction is granted by the court. The court will consider the child’s needs and the parties’ incomes. Child support can also be assessed when non-parents have custody of children. Child support issues come up in a variety of different family law cases mentioned on this page, and our attorneys are skilled with these issues.
Post-Secondary Support (a.k.a college support)
Post-secondary support is additional financial support paid by parents for their child to go to college. If requested by the applicable deadline, the court may order both parents and the child to contribute to college financial support. Post-secondary support extends beyond the lifetime of the Child Support Order for minor children. You want to make sure you are bringing a post-secondary support legal action at the correct time and that you have all the legally relevant details presented to the court – Navigate attorneys can ensure that happens.
A legal separation will accomplish everything like a divorce, except you are still legally married in the end. The most common reasons people choose to file for a legal separation instead of a divorce are health, religion and taxes. Sometimes people simply don’t understand the difference between a legal separation and a divorce and a legal separation sounds less permanent. If you are considering filing a legal separation instead of a divorce, we highly recommend you consult with an attorney to ensure you are making the right choice for your life and goals.
Immediate Restraining Order
An Immediate Restraining Order is similar to a Domestic Violence Protection Order (as discussed below), but they are broader and sought when you already have a divorce action pending. It is a same-day court order that can restrain the other party from you and protect finances and use of property. Immediate Restraining Orders are often sought between filing your divorce and your first hearing date to establish temporary orders in your divorce matter.
Contempt is when there is a failure to comply with a valid court order, even a temporary one, and the other party had the ability to do so. This is a legal cause of action that a party can bring if the other party is refusing to follow the court order regarding any aspect of the parties’ divorce, including but not limited to a Temporary Parenting Plan, Temporary Child Support Order, or Temporary Family Law Order. Potential severe penalties can apply to the party found in contempt, including court fines, attorney’s fees, loss of parenting time, and jail. Our attorneys are experienced advocates when dealing with order violations.
Contempt is when there is a failure to comply with a valid court order by a party who has knowledge of that court order. This is a legal cause of action that a party can bring if they think the other party is willfully failing to follow a court order. Potential severe penalties can apply to the person if found in violation, including court fines, attorney’s fees, loss of parenting time, and jail. Our attorneys are experienced advocates when dealing with contempt issues.
Modification of Maintenance/Alimony/Spousal Support
People can modify currently existing final orders regarding maintenance under certain circumstances. Most commonly, if there is a substantial change in circumstances in the paying spouse’s life (i.e. loss of job). Modification of a maintenance order can be requested by filling out the correct legal pleadings and making your request to the court under the proper circumstances. Navigate attorneys assist people frequently with maintenance modifications.
Modification of Child Support
People can modify currently existing child support orders under certain circumstances. Most commonly, if there is a substantial change in circumstances affecting a parent’s ability to pay the court-ordered child support. Modification of child support can be requested by filling out the correct legal pleadings and making your request to the Court under the proper circumstances. Navigate attorneys assist people frequently with child support modifications.
Post-Secondary Support (a.k.a college support)
Often child support orders are entered with the court before children are near college age. After a child support order is entered, parents can often request that the court order the parents and child be legally responsible for the child’s college financial support. This type of request is ideally made to the court during the last year of high school of the child who is college-bound. Navigate attorneys routinely assist parents in getting college support in place and would be happy to assist.
Modification of Parenting Plan
Parties can modify currently existing final Parenting Plans if they have a legal basis to do so. You can request the Parenting Plan be modified only slightly or in a big way. For instance, if you are already the primary parent, but you want the court to change some things in the Parenting Plan – that would be a minor modification. On the other hand, if you are not the primary parent, and you want to ask the court to make you the primary parent, that would be a major modification. There are different legal standards that apply to each scenario. It is important to make sure you understand what the legal standard is and whether you have a good basis to make the request – Navigate attorneys can help.
Cohabitation Agreements are written contracts that romantic couples enter into if they are planning on living together but are not married. It is a good idea to enter into a Cohabitation Agreement if you are living and acting like a martial unit (but you are not actually married) – i.e. sharing resources, living together, romantically intimate, etc. There are default laws that start applying as soon as these facts start to become reality, and a lot of non-married couples don’t know that and would prefer some of those default laws not apply. You can come up with your own agreement regarding the assignment and ownership of your assets and debts by entering into a Cohabitation Agreement with your partner. Our family law attorneys are happy to chat with you about this.
Committed Intimate Relationships or CIR
A committed intimate relationship or CIR is essentially a committed personal, romantic, and cohabiting relationship but the parties never get married. It looks like a marriage, walks like a marriage, and talks like a marriage, but the couple isn’t legally married. This is a very common scenario. If you are splitting from a long-term partner, you have rights. Chat with our attorneys to find out how everything should be divided.
When two people have a child together, they are both financially obligated to support that child. If parents break up, both remain financially responsible to that child. Typically, the parent who has the child the majority of the time will receive child support from the other parent monthly. Either parent can request child support be court-ordered. Child support can also be ordered when a third party (not the parent – like a family member or friend) has custody of a child. Navigate family law attorneys are skilled with child support issues and can guide you through the process.
If two people have a child, both parents have constitutional rights to be a parent. If they break up after having a child, then either of them can request that the court order a parenting plan (shared parenting schedule). Child custody is the word that refers to parents’ rights to see their children and make decisions about them. Third parties (non-parents) can also obtain child custody in certain circumstances. Child custody or child visitation can be a complicated topic, and it is best to consult and strategize with an attorney about your situation and what you can expect regarding a shared parenting schedule.
Establishment of Parentage and Parenting Plans
It is common for unmarried parents to have children. If you are an unmarried parent and you want to establish a legal relationship and enforce your rights with your child, you will need to establish parentage and a parenting plan through the courts. Through this kind of legal action, you can establish who the biological parents are, who the child lives with primarily, how much time each parent will have with the child, and who gets to make important decisions for your child (such as health care, education, relocation). We can also assist if you need to disestablish parentage of a child (i.e. the parent listed on the birth certificate is not the parent of the child). Either establishing or disestablishing parentage can be somewhat complicated, and sometimes involves the state attorney. Navigate Law Group family law attorneys can help.
De Facto Parentage
This is a legal action where a person can request that the court find them to be a de facto parent of a child to whom they are not biologically or legally related. The legal standard that the person must prove in order to be found a de facto parent is pretty steep. This type of case is very case-specific and depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to length of time residing with the child, holding the child out as your own, caring for the child, establishing a bond with the child, undertaking permanent responsibilities for the child, etc. It is very important that you consult with a knowledgeable attorney before pursuing this action. We are here to help.
Non-parent custody is when a third party, who is not the parent (typically a grandparent, family member, or family friend), files a court action asking for legal custody of the child. The non-parent will need to prove that the parents are unfit to care for the child or that living with the parent is negatively affecting the growth and development of the child. If the parent believes they should keep the child, they can object and fight the request for non-parent custody. These situations can be particularly contentious, and our family law attorneys are ready to help you through it.
This is a legal action where a close relative can request court-ordered visitation with a child if the child’s parents are obstructing visitation. The legal standard that the non-parent must prove in order to be awarded court-ordered visits is pretty steep. There are also potentially severe financial ramifications if you pursue this action and are not successful. It is very important that you consult with a knowledgeable attorney before pursuing this action. We are here to help.
A prenuptial agreement is a written contract that a couple can enter into before a marriage to control many of their legal rights upon marriage and in the event of a separation. It is designed to be a two-way contract that protects both parties’ assets and responsibility of debt. Prenuptial agreements are not just for the wealthy, as they are very practical for couples who want to agree to a particular arrangement regarding their assets (i.e. avoiding the default state laws that will apply to them as a married couple). There are a lot of considerations to think about when entering into a prenuptial agreement, and our skilled attorneys are here to ensure you are thinking about all the angles and your rights. It is important that you speak with an attorney when entering into a prenuptial agreement. Make sure you are talking to the attorney well in advance of the wedding date.
Surrogacy is an agreement where a surrogate (gestational carrier) agrees to have a child on behalf of the intended parents. Through surrogacy, you can establish your parental rights to your child regardless of whether you are single, married, genetically related, or using a donor. Navigate family law attorneys can assist you to create an enforceable surrogacy contract between the intended parents and gestational carrier.
Adoption is a wonderful option for people looking to start a family or make their current family official from a legal perspective. Family is what you make it. There are a number of different kinds of adoptions, such as step-parent adoptions, international or domestic adoptions, public or private adoptions, foster care adoptions, or second parent adoptions. This process also sometimes involves the termination of biological parents’ rights. Navigate family law attorneys have helped countless parents legally adopt their children and make their family whole. They would be happy to help you through the process as well.
Domestic Violence Protection Order
You should seek a Domestic Violence Protection Order if you have any of the following happening to you by a significant other/family member/spouse/domestic partner/someone you had a child with: (1) hitting, assault (can be sexual), physical harm to you in any way, (2) if you are in fear of immediate physical harm, or (3) if they are stalking you. If you are a victim of domestic violence, you can ask the court for a same-day Domestic Violence Protection Order that restrains the other party from coming around you or contacting you, and it carries police protection. This order can protect you from the other party by keeping them from your home/work/school, ordering them to turn in any weapons, and ordering them not to threaten or stalk you. Our family law attorneys can jump into action and help you with this.
Immediate Restraining Order
This is only available as part of a divorce process. Please refer to our section on Divorce. Click HERE!
Our Family Law Attorneys
Chelsie M. Elliott
Anna K. Russo
Amber M. Rushbanks (Rush)
Cathy S. Tappel
Tanya M. Green
– Crystal Whitlock
Not only was she with me every step of the way, she took me from my low point and empowered me. I not only got to keep my house, my car, & maintenance for the rest of my life. If you want to best lawyer…. Then Amber Rush from Navigate Law group is who should call. Not only do you get her help & support, you get amazing Chelsie Elliott too. They are with you every step of the way. I can’t thank you 2 enough. So looking, for a lawyer who cares & knows the law…. Amber is for you. Thank you, for everything. The best thing I ever did was hiring you!
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