Van Ness, Williamson LLP helps people through the most difficult periods of their lives. If you are experiencing any of the following, call our firm to set up a consultation.

Adoption

Are you or your family looking to adopt? Our attorneys can assist you in sorting through paperwork and legal proceedings of the adoption process.

Asset Protection

Nothing can kill romance faster than the word prenup. But with about one in three of all first marriages ending in divorce, and 50 percent of second or third ones hitting the skids, a prenup is smart financial planning. You should consider having a prenup if you fall into any of the following categories:

  • You have assets such as a home, stock or retirement funds
  • Own all or part of a business
  • You may be receiving an inheritance
  • You have children and/or grandchildren from a previous marriage
  • One of you is much wealthier than the other
  • One of you will be supporting the other through college
  • You have loved ones who need to be taken care of, such as elderly parents
  • You have or are pursuing a degree or license in a potentially lucrative profession such as medicine
  • You could see a big increase in income because your business is taking off.

A prenuptial agreement, antenuptial agreement, or premarital agreement, commonly abbreviated to prenup or prenupt, is a contract entered into prior to marriage, by the people intending to marry. The content of a prenuptial agreement can vary widely, but commonly includes provisions for division of property and spousal support in the event of divorce or breakup of marriage. To be valid both parties must FULLY disclose their assets prior to negotiation of the prenup. Also, the prenup should be signed as early before the nuptials as possible to avoid the appearance of coercion.

Child Custody

If children are involved in a marriage, there can be some serious custody battles between divorcing parents. Determining parenting time, custody and support should be handled by a lawyer.

Child Support

If you are not the custodial parent, you will be required to pay child support for any child under the age of 18. Call one of our lawyers today to help you through that process.

Custody Evaluation

When parents cannot agree to joint custody, and are conflicted over who should have sole custody, a custody evaluation is used to assist the Court in making that decision. The primary consideration for the evaluation is the best interests and welfare of the child. I have received formal training and certification in compliance with the AFCC standards to perform custody evaluations. I use a standard method of data gathering, formal assessment, observational-interactional assessment, interviewing collateral sources, and report writing designed to eliminate bias. I maintain this competency through ongoing training and formal education.

Divorce

If you are going through a divorce, you need an attorney to ensure that your interests, both personal and financial, are protected. Even couples who are on “good terms” still require the assistance of an experience legal professional to guide them through the divorce process.

Legal Separation

Couples may legally separate without divorcing, but still need to work through custody and alimony. It is important that you work with our attorneys if you are looking to separate.

Military Divorce

Military service members have unique protections. Under the Service Members Civil Relief Act military members are protected from lawsuits including divorce proceedings so they can “devote their entire energy to the defense needs of the Nation.” A court can delay legal proceedings for the time that the service member is on active duty and for up to 60 day following active duty. Jurisdiction for the divorce can be where the service member is stationed, where the spouse resides or where the service member claims legal residency. Additionally, the Uniformed Services Former Spousal Protection Act provides certain protections for the service member’s pension if the marriage is less than 10 years. Under the USFSPA a former military spouse is eligible for full medical, commissary and exchange privileges when the following apply to the marriage:

  • The marriage lasts at least 20 years.
  • The military member performed at least 20 years of service creditable for retired pay.
  • There was at least a 20 overlap of the marriage and the military services.

If the spouse remarries, eligibility for benefits is terminated. The benefits are revived if the subsequent marriage ends in divorce. If you are in the military and are considering a divorce, an attorney experienced with military divorces is a must.

Modification

Modifications may be made to your divorce decree with the assistance of our legal team.

Paternity

Determining paternity is important. If paternity is not established, you may lose visitation rights and your rights as a biological parent.

Parenting Coordination

A parenting coordinator helps families understand how to reduce conflict and make effective parenting decisions. I work with parents one-on-one to gain and understanding of the source of conflict and provide them with tools and strategies to alleviate the conflict. I also assist families in developing meaningful rules for communication, exchanges, boundaries, and the parenting time schedule itself.

Another service is parent coaching. When facing a custody study, even the best parent has rough edges and areas that need help. I assist in: correcting behavior problems; addressing stress‑related parenting issues; implementing “best parenting” practices; assisting that parent in understanding the child’s physical, emotional, and social development; teaching effective communication; and preparing that parent for a custody study or trial. I have a multi-faceted approach to preparing a parent for all of the issues that are in play for a custody study.

As a certified parenting coordinator I can also assist as an expert in reviewing and testifying about a parenting plan that a parent wants the court to adopt. I provide an opinion, backed by current research, as to what is in the children’s best interests.

Premarital and Prehabitational Agreement

Nothing can kill romance faster than the word prenup. But with about one in three of all first marriages ending in divorce, and 50 percent of second or third ones hitting the skids, a prenup is smart financial planning. You should consider having a prenup if you fall into any of the following categories:

  • You have assets such as a home, stock or retirement funds
  • Own all or part of a business
  • You may be receiving an inheritance
  • You have children and/or grandchildren from a previous marriage
  • One of you is much wealthier than the other
  • One of you will be supporting the other through college
  • You have loved ones who need to be taken care of, such as elderly parents
  • You have or are pursuing a degree or license in a potentially lucrative profession such as medicine
  • You could see a big increase in income because your business is taking off.

A prenuptial agreement, antenuptial agreement, prehabitational or premarital agreement, commonly abbreviated to prenup or prenupt, is a contract entered into prior to marriage, by the people intending to marry. The content of a prenuptial agreement can vary widely, but commonly includes provisions for division of property and spousal support in the event of divorce or breakup of marriage. To be valid both parties must FULLY disclose their assets prior to negotiation of the prenup. Also, the prenup should be signed as early before the nuptials as possible to avoid the appearance of coercion.

Property Division

Division of property in a divorce can be a huge concern for splitting couples. Determining who gets what can be a battle and keeping what is rightfully yours is important.

Spousal Support

Visiting your children is imperative to the well-being of a child. Studies show that children who have both parents in their lives flourish and benefit from the contact of both parents.