Divorce & Separation
A divorce can be an extremely difficult and stressful experience. Coming to the realization that one can no longer continue in a marriage is often devastating. Divorce can trigger a grief response similar to the death of a loved-one. It often involves several stages of grief.
At Eaton Family Law & Mediation, LLC, we recognize the emotional challenges involved in divorce, and provide our clients with the information they need so emotions do not outweigh practical thoughts and decisions. We make sure clients know their legal rights, risks and responsibilities so that they can make the best choices possible for their futures.Back to Top
Mediation is a confidential process in which the parties negotiate with and through a neutral facilitator with legal training. The mediation process does not impose settlement terms on the parties and is completely voluntary. Fair agreements are more easily reached with mediators who are very good at suggesting solutions that may not have occurred to litigants and their attorneys. Mediation can take place with or without the assistance of attorneys, and can take the form of either a joint settlement conference (in the same room) or “shuttle diplomacy,” where the mediator shuttles between opposing parties, who are in separate rooms.
A mediator has no power to decide things for the parties and cannot tell them what to do. In fact, the mediator cannot talk to anyone about what has been discussed in mediation. In evaluating a case, a mediator may make recommendations, and can be useful in explaining that a party’s position is unlikely to be successful in court. Most mediation clients successfully resolve some or all of the issues in their cases. If the clients decide to make their agreement binding, the mediator will write out the agreement for the parties to sign and it will be enforceable.
Eaton Family Law & Mediation, LLC, offers mediation services with licensed attorneys from simple single-session mediations to full “turn-key service” mediation, which can involve several sessions and compilation of all pleadings, judgments and other documents necessary to start a case and complete the final judgment. We find that parties who participate in resolution of their case, instead of requiring the court to decide issues that directly impact their lives, are more satisfied with the results and less likely to return to court in the future.Back to Top
Children want and deserve to have two actively involved parents, when that is possible. Awards of custody of minor children are required to be in the children’s best interests, and refers to the legal custody arrangement. This means that only the legal custodian is permitted to make decisions regarding issues such as the children’s educational placement, religious instruction, changes in appearance (haircuts, tattoos, piercings, etc.), and non-emergency health-related care.
Physical custody is typically shared in some manner in all but the rarest of cases. This means that both parents enjoy time with the child in a shared schedule according to a Parenting Plan. The parents may have equal time, or there may be one primary parent with the other parent having more sporadic time.
In Oregon, the courts are authorized to approve and order joint legal custody only when both parents agree. In the absence of agreement, or if either parent objects to joint custody, the court must award sole legal custody to one parent or the other.
It is important to know that having sole legal custody does not entitle a parent to dictate the other parent’s time with the child, as parenting time is determined by the Parenting Plan.
At Eaton Family Law & Mediation, LLC, we understand the highly emotional considerations that are a part of each Parenting Plan and custodial arrangement. Our professional legal team guides our clients to consider what is truly in the children’s best interests, regardless of any animosity that may exist between the parents.Back to Top
Child & Spousal Support
When circumstances in our lives change substantially, previously established spousal support and/or child support may need to be modified. Eaton Family Law & Mediation, LLC, attorneys review the unique aspects of every case and evaluate whether modification is appropriate. Our advice always balances the economic benefit with the emotional and financial costs of moving forward with a modification proceeding.Back to Top
Division of Property
Essentially every divorce, separation and dissolution of domestic partnership involves the division of assets and liabilities. Allocating the family home, a business, retirement accounts and other assets can be emotionally exhausting. These divisions involve complex determinations of value, tax implications, and other considerations.
At Eaton Family Law & Mediation, LLC, we have developed a highly respected network of experts to aid our clients. We handle all aspects of property division, including securing appraisals of real property, businesses, and personal property, projecting anticipated tax liabilities, analyzing gifts and inheritances, allocation of vested and unvested stock options and restricted stock units, and more. Our attorneys are experienced in complex property division issues, competently and professionally guiding our clients through careful analyses of their cases.Back to Top
The end of any partnership can be excruciating and troubling. When partners are not married, it can be confusing, as legal rights are often not clearly defined. If the parties do not have a written domestic partnership agreement or registered domestic partnership, the first task is to define the parties’ agreement to be domestic partners so that we can help our clients better determine what to expect when ending their relationship.
At every step along the way, the team at Eaton Family Law & Mediation, LLC, guides clients in resolving the issues rather than going to court, when possible. If the domestic partnership is not evidenced by legal registration or a written domestic partnership agreement, the parties or court must establish the parties’ intent to establish a domestic partnership. The law varies significantly as to how assets and liabilities are divided, the availability of spousal support, and the possible recovery of legal fees, depending on how the existence of a domestic partnership is established. At Eaton Family Law & Mediation, LLC, our attorneys are skilled at navigating the intricacies of domestic partnership dissolutions.Back to Top
Benjamin Franklin said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” While it is not pleasant to think of a potential marriage ending in divorce, the best time to think about that is before the marriage, when the parties are the most interested in dealing with each other in a fair and equitable manner. A prenuptial agreement can be used to protect premarital or family wealth.
Eaton Family Law & Mediation, LLC, attorneys strongly advise to not wait until the week before the wedding to start discussing a prenuptial agreement. Ideally, clients will start the discussion with each other and obtain legal advice several months before the intended wedding date.
Sometimes, when parties experience marital strife after the marriage, developing a post-nuptial agreement allows the parties to reconcile by eliminating the fear of what would happen in the event of a divorce. Post-nuptial agreements are similar to pre-nuptial agreements, but differ as to the timing and legal authority. We encourage you to consult with an attorney at Eaton Family Law & Mediation, LLC, if you are interested in pursuing a post-nuptial agreement.Back to Top
3rd Party/Grandparents Rights
Children need competent, caring, consistent adults in their lives. It hurts children when significant relationships with those they are bonded with are damaged. Grandparents and other significant third parties are often overlooked as important caretakers. Whether the issue is custody, visitation or foster-care, grandparents and other adults with significant relationships can have rights under Oregon law.
At Eaton Family Law & Mediation, LLC, our attorneys have seen many cases in which significant adults in children’s lives are denied visitation or custody, contrary to the children’s best interests. This is sometimes seen when the Department of Human Services (formerly CSD or CPS) gets involved and removes a child from a parent’s home due to alleged child abuse or neglect. It sometimes occurs when a child experiences the untimely death or disability of a parent. We assist grandparents and other third parties in evaluating and asserting their legal rights so that they can continue to be a significant presence in the lives of the children who love them. We also defend parents against third party claims when they are safeguarding their children’s best interests.Back to Top
Enforcement & Contempt
When a party does not comply with a court’s order or judgment, the result can be chaos because the parties are unable to plan according to their court document. Non-compliance issues may involve the payment of money for an equalizing award or child/spousal support, parenting time issues, follow through with dividing personal property, or the sale of a marital home. Sometimes, one party’s failure to comply may be due to ambiguity in the wording of the judgment or court order. In these cases, an enforcement action can help to resolve the ambiguity and prevent future non-compliance.
When non-compliance is intentional, and not due to any ambiguity, then a contempt proceeding may provide the best remedy for the party to who seeks to enforce the court’s order or judgment.
Our attorneys at Eaton Family Law & Mediation, LLC, expertly guide our clients in enforcement and contempt actions, whether they are seeking compliance or clarification of ambiguous obligations.Back to Top