Pendente lite Support – Typically the parties are expected to maintain the status quo (to keep doing what they have always done during the relationship) until the case is resolved.
Pendente lite Motions are filed, and Orders issued, to temporarily resolve issues of support, parenting time, etc., while the case is pending, if the parties cannot agree.
Post Judgment Motions are filed after the case is over if a change is warranted or a party is not complying.
4-way Conferences – are meetings held with attorneys and clients to try to limit and/or resolve issues.
Orders to Show Cause/ Emergent applications – are filed infrequently. A party must show irreparable harm for a Court to grant an emergent application. Most relief requested will not be considered emergent by a Judge and the Court will usually require that a motion be filed instead.
Discovery – usually involves written discovery such as Interrogatories and a Demand for Documents. It can include depositions which requires a party to give sworn testimony.
Case Information Statement – A form required to be completed and filed by each of the parties which sets forth the names and address of the parties and the children, the parties’ income and expenses, and the parties’ assets and liabilities.
Experts – Sometimes experts are helpful in preparing a case but can be costly. If the parties are having a custody dispute, they may need a custody evaluation. If a spouse is self employed, the parties may need a forensic accountant to determine cash flow, determine income, and/or the value of the spouse’s business. At times a forensic accountant is also used to establish lifestyle and the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage. Real estate appraisers are used if a party wants to keep or offset property. Pension companies are used to value pensions/retirement assets and/or to prepare QDRO’s to effectuate distribution. Employability experts are used to determine what a party should be or could be earning.
Mediation – when the parties use the services of a Mediator, with or without attorneys, to try to facilitate a resolution/settlement. Mediators can be very helpful but parties should BE AWARE that the Mediator does not represent them individually. The Mediator is trying to effectuate a settlement and does not represent each of the parties’ interests. Mediation can produce unfair results if one party is not as strong as the other, or is not aware of finances, etc. Mediation is a very useful tool in settlement but should not take the place of having counsel.
Collaborative Law – when the parties meet, with counsel, to try to resolve their case. If the parties cannot resolve their case in the collaborative process, the parties need to retain separate counsel. A disadvantage of the collaborative process is that sometimes you need the threat of litigation to get a party to be reasonable and to get a case resolved. Sometimes the collaborative process ends up being more costly because of multiple conferences and, if not successful, each party needs to hire a 2nd attorney to start the litigation process. Good family law attorneys will meet and try to discuss resolution at the onset of litigation, without necessarily labeling it as “collaborative”.