Divorce and Family Law
If you are facing a divorce or a dispute over custody or an allegation of domestic abuse leading to a Protective Order you need legal representation. Matthew D. Hatch has been practicing in these areas since 1991 and can answer your questions and protect your rights. As each of these cases is different the best way to determine if you need an attorney is to contact this office for a free initial consultation. We can discuss your case and determine if we can help or we can assist with finding someone who can help if we cannot.
We handle divorce, child custody, child support and domestic violence protective orders in the Quad Cities, Davenport, Bettendorf, Rock Island and Moline as well as in Clinton and Muscatine.
Divorce can be simple. If you have no children a divorce only involves dissolving the marriage relationship and dividing up the debt and assets you have accumulated during your marriage. It is possible you or your spouse may be required to pay the other spousal support for a period of time.
Any divorce attorney will need to know what you own, what your debts are and information about your income. You should gather up any income tax returns and W-2’s or 1099’s and paystubs that you have as these provide information about you and your spouse’s incomes during the term of your marriage. You should gather any information regarding the value of any retirement accounts that you have. If you can gather information showing the value of these accounts just prior to your marriage that can be particularly helpful as this information can help you determine the increase during the marriage of these accounts. You should gather your credit card statements and other debt statements as these provide information about what you owe. If you own real estate or vehicles determine who has title to those items and who is responsible for any debt secured by those items.
If you have children divorce gets more complicated as child custody and visitation will need to be determined as well as child support and medical support.
Child custody is determined based on many factors with the most important question being “What is in the best interest of the children?” If either parent asks for joint physical care, meaning that the parents both have the children for similar periods of time, the Court will have to decide if there is a reason not to grant joint physical care before not awarding it.
In making its decision, the Court will consider the following:
a. Whether each parent would be a suitable custodian for the child.
b. Whether the psychological and emotional needs and development of the child will suffer due to lack of active contact with and attention from both parents.
c. Whether the parents can communicate with each other regarding the child’s needs.
d. Whether both parents have actively cared for the child before and since the separation.
e. Whether each parent can support the other parent’s relationship with the child.
f. Whether the custody arrangement is in accord with the child’s wishes or whether the child has strong opposition, taking into consideration the child’s age and maturity.
g. Whether one or both the parents agree or are opposed to joint custody.
h. The geographic proximity of the parents.
i. Whether the safety of the child, other children, or the other parent will be jeopardized by the awarding of joint custody or by unsupervised or unrestricted visitation.
j. Whether a history of domestic abuse exists.
k. Whether a parent has allowed a person custody or control of, or unsupervised access to a child after knowing the person is required to register or is on the sex offender registry as a sex offender under chapter 692A.
Child support will be determined based on incomes and cost of insuring the children over and above the cost of insuring yourself. You will need to provide paystubs and income tax returns with W-2’s and 1099’s and also documentation of the cost of insuring just you and the cost of insuring you and the children. If you belong to a Union you will need to provide documentation of the Union dues you have to pay. This information is also needed to determine medical support. If you have joint physical care or have greater than usual visitation this will also have a decreasing effect on the amount of child support awarded.
If you are facing a child custody case and you are not married to the other parent the Courts consider similar information to determine custody and child support.
If you have been accused of domestic abuse and an alleged victim is asking for a protective order you need legal representation. A finding of domestic abuse and the entry of a protective order will be on your record and can keep you from getting jobs, hurt relationships and cause you to be unable to possess a firearm.