Divorce | Child & Spousal Maintenance | Collaborative Law | Adoptions | Evictions | Parenting Plan
Litigation is not for the faint hearted. It requires a thorough knowledge of the law and the skill to interpret and apply the law and the rules of court.
Whether you need help with your divorce, maintenance or other family law matter, we have the skills and experience to assist you.
For most people, a divorce and litigation is the last thing they ever wanted. When this becomes inevitable, we are there to help you fight those battles, while at the same time understanding that family law matters can be very emotional and draining.
We are very aware that a divorce can be traumatic and very emotional. We therefore give your matter personal attention. Our divorce attorney handles uncontested divorces but is just as capable of dealing with extremely complicated divorces. All matters are equally important to us.
Elmarie Neilson has been an attorney for decades and has learned that one of the most important aspects in a divorce case is ensuring one has a solid strategy. With the right strategy and decades of experience, we can give you effective assistance and ensure that you get what you are entitled to.
Since Elmarie Neilson is also a qualified mediator, she always keeps the option of mediation open for her clients with the aim of settling cases as smoothly as possible. This also ensures that legal fees don’t escalate unnecessarily.
We aim to work as a team with our clients, by ensuring they are well informed on their rights and on strategy, so that the client can give us clear, informed instructions. This helps our clients to feel that they are in control of their matters.
Most matters settle eventually and it is important that our clients are satisfied with the end result.
Having a divorce order is not always the end of the matter. Often a property has to be transferred, some aspects of the divorce order have to be enforced and a new Will has to be drawn up. We therefore build up long term relationships with our clients, so that they can return freely for further advice or assistance.
Child & Spousal Maintenance
Many attorneys will not take on maintenance cases as they regard these cases as ‘lesser law”. We don’t agree. The amount of maintenance that children receive impacts directly on their quality of life.
Often parents are already impoverished by not receiving maintenance payments from the other parent, or inadequate maintenance, and they are therefore not able to appoint an attorney.
Neilsons Attorneys have a special service for cash strapped clients whereby we consult extensively with our clients and teach them how the process works, how best to approach the matter and what maintenance amounts to claim.
Once they have this knowledge, they are empowered to handle the matter on their own.
The opposite is also sometimes the case: a parent may be paying too much maintenance, but is unaware of his or her right to apply for a reduction in maintenance.
We assist our clients not only with well-considered advice, but also by enforcing and protecting their rights in court. We know how the system works and we know the law. This enables us to give our clients excellent service.
How Does It Work?
When it becomes clear that a divorce is inevitable but you want to avoid the unpleasantness of bullying lawyers and uncaring court procedures, you and your spouse each appoint collaborative lawyers. Both you and the lawyers then sign an undertaking not to litigate and go to court, but to reach a settlement that suits your and your children’s circumstances best. As long as you stick to the collaborative process, you remain in control of your divorce’s destiny. You can also proceed at a pace that suits you best.
If necessary, a child psychologist is appointed by both parties to investigate how the children are affected and how best to protect their interest in the divorce. You and your spouse will have the emotional upheaval of the divorce to deal with. The psychologist can help look out for the children and guide you on how to prepare your children for the inevitable changes and emotional support.
If necessary, a financial planner is appointed by both parties to investigate the value of the estate and advise on the best financial solution to your unique situation.
How Much Does It Cost?
95% of all divorce cases settle. The question is whether you wasted legal fees in preparing for a long trial before the case settles, or whether every cent was spent in working out a better settlement.
The eventual cost of a collaborative divorce is vastly cheaper than a divorce trial. The total cost will depend on how much time you need to work out the aspects of the divorce and how many issues you place on the table for discussion. You are in control.
How Long Will It Take?
Years less than the usual divorce process involving a trial. Depending on the amount of issues that need to be worked through, it can take 2 months to 6 months.
We work at the pace that you are comfortable with so that you have less pressure on you when you have to make those life changing decisions.
The co-operation of both parties and the availability of the information also determine the duration.
Can I Discuss Anything?
Yes. A marriage creates many family and friendship ties as well as shared assets. In the usual divorce the lawyers and court can only deal with a fraction of the issues that affect your divorce whereas the collaborative divorce process allows you to deal with anything that you wish to place on the table, for example contact with the grandparents, visiting the dog, etc.
Children are vulnerable and cannot take care of themselves. An adult or the state has to take responsibility for their care and welfare. When a child has no parents capable of taking care of him or her, a court order is required to place him or her with someone who can become the new “parent”. This is called an adoption order.
Adoptions are usually done within families, for example where grandparents step in where the parents are deceased or unable to care for their children.
Our adoption attorney has extensive experience with adoption applications. We advise our clients on the best approach to follow and guide them through the process. An important aspect of the process is a social worker report. Our attorney advises on the appointment of an adoption social worker and liaises with him or her to ensure a quicker, smoother process.
Adoption applications are not always contested, but should they be, we draft the pleadings and argue the matter in court ourselves. Since our clients have built up a relationship of trust with us, this gives them peace of mind and saves on legal fees.
We are not only capable of assisting you with family law matters, Wills and estates, but also general litigation such as eviction applications.
We dispel the myth of “squatters rights” that makes our clients feel helpless when the tenant refuses to pay the rent or move out.
It is not fair that a non-paying tenant can deprive you of the use and enjoyment of your property and rent due to you.
If possible we avoid a nasty court case in order to save our clients unnecessary legal fees and therefore we will advise our clients of all the available options. However, when it is necessary, we move swiftly to bring the application before court.
Even happily married parents have different parenting styles and lifestyles so when there is a divorce or separation, parenting plans are vital in assisting parents with the exercising of their parental rights and responsibilities.
Parenting plans are drawn up in divorce cases where the children are under the age of 18 years or for parents who were never married, but experience difficulties with different parenting styles and opinions in the raising of their children.
In the past unmarried fathers battled to have contact with their children. The new Children’s Act gives them rights but enforcing it is still a problem. We have the experience and knowledge of the law to ensure that unmarried fathers’ rights are enforced.
Section 33 of the Children’s Act determines that when co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights experience difficulties in exercising their responsibilities and rights, they must first attempt to agree on a parenting plan that determines how each will exercise their respective responsibilities and rights, before they approach a court.
Neilsons Attorneys have helped many parents who struggle in this area, to get parenting plans in place that reduce the conflict and frustration. Often the conflict has been so bad that the parties are unable to communicate directly with one another.
We draw parenting plans that can cater for current and future problems while keeping the focus on the children’s best interests. Should the matter go to court, we fight strenuously for our client’s rights.