Frequently Asked Questions

How do I obtain a Divorce if I have minor children?
You must file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with Minor Children and related pleadings. There is a filing fee and the fee for the parent education class must be paid at the same time. Once the case is filed your spouse has to be served. Once service is made then a Response must be filed within 20 days if they live in the state and 30 days if they live outside the state. You are both required to take the parent education class. There is a 60 day waiting period from the date of service before the case can be concluded either through default or consent decree.

How do I establish paternity of my child?
If the biological father's name is NOT on the birth certificate then a Complaint for Paternity is required to be filed and served on the father. The father then has an opportunity to file an Answer within 20 days if he lives in state and 30 days if he lives out of state. If he admits paternity than an Order of Paternity can be obtained and the Office of Vital Records is ordered to place the biological father's name on the child's birth certificate. If he denies that he is the father then genetic testing can be done.

How do I get temporary orders for custody and/or support?
This is initiated by filing either a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or a Complaint for Paternity. A motion for Temporary Orders is filed to obtain a one hour hearing to determine on a temporary basis physical custody and parenting time as well as financial information to enter temporary financial support, i.e., child support and/or spousal support.

What do I do if my child's parent refuses to pay support?
A Petition to Enforce an existing child or spousal support order is filed and a hearing is requested to bring the obligor before the court to explain why they are not paying and to set up a payment schedule and/or enter additional orders for payments on the arrears.

How do I file for Divorce or Custody if I can't afford the filing fees?
An Application for Deferral and/or Waiver of Fees is filed and if granted by the Judge the filing fees can be either waived completely or a small monthly payment is set up for the filing fees to be paid to the Clerk of the Court.

How do I modify a custody or parenting time order?
Each case is evaluated individually because it depends on whether it is a true change of custody (either legal and/or physical) or just parenting time needs to be modified. If your original order requires you to go back to Conciliation Court before going before the Judge then you need to request an order sending you back to Conciliation Court to mediate the custody and parenting plan that is in existence. If there is an emergency situation where the child is in danger or could be at risk with the custodial parent then emergency orders can be obtained.

How do I get custody and/or guardianship of my grandchild?
If you have permission from both biological parents then a Petition for Guardianship is required. If the parents do not grant permission then a Petition for Custody is needed.

What do I do if my child gets arrested?
If they are taken into custody then there will be an initial hearing at the first available time and the Court will decide whether to release the child into the custody of the parents and/or family member. The case will then be set for additional hearings and there will be conditions of release pending the outcome of the case.

What do I do if I get arrested for Domestic Violence?
The law enforcement agency will generally take the person to the jail where they will stay until they have their initial appearance. The court will then decide whether to release them with conditions to stay away from the victim unless the victim appears and agrees to have contact. The court then sets the matter for hearing at the court that has jurisdiction over the case.

What do I do if I get arrested for a DUI?
These cases can take time because it takes a while for the Lab to provide the results of the blood draw taken at the time of the arrest.