Mullins Mullins Sexton & Reaves, P.C. have the tenacity and skill to represent you in the most professional manner before the court. We have vast experience in the area of litigation with regards to divorce parentage, child custody, modification and enforcement, and asset division issues.
In addition, divorcing couples occasionally have legal issues which they cannot resolve solely by resort to the divorce court, including tort, assault, fraud, foreclosure and collection actions, breaches of trust or contract, or other civil litigation matters which stem from the parties’ divorce. These procedurally-complex cases require an attorney who understands both domestic matters as well as civil litigation issues. We are well situated to address these matters by making appropriate provisions during the divorce process, as well as by prosecuting or defending these actions when they arise.
Discovery is the exchange, usually after formal written requests, of documents and other information of all types. Discovery is simply a formalized process to gather information so that one party cannot exploit a disparity in which party has access to relevant information. It can also involve some investigatory work where one party suspects that the other is not being honest. Discovery often includes depositions, which are oral examinations under oath of each party and sometimes of third-party witnesses. Discovery can be lengthy and costly, but is a very necessary part of the divorce process.
Where there are real properties, businesses, professional practices or other tangible or intangible assets that are considered relevant to the marriage, professional evaluators are often retained, at the parties' expense, to do the necessary appraisals or valuations. In the case of contested custody matters, forensic psychological experts may be retained, also at the parties' expense, to evaluate the family situation with an eye to a court decision on custody, visitation and other parental matters. In contested custody cases, a guardian ad litem may also be appointed to represent the interests of the children in the lawsuit.
Due to our vast experience in high-net worth matrimonial cases, we have a roster of well-credentialed expert business valuation professionals, financial analysts, forensic accountants and property appraisers available to our clients for valuing and tracing assets. They are accredited by relevant bodies, such as the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the National Association of Certified Business Valuators and Analysts, and Oklahoma Real Estate Appraisal Board.
At the beginning of litigation there are usually issues relating to the temporary support of one spouse and/or children during the lawsuit. Expenses such as payment of debts, insurance, medical care, child care, school expenses, and the like also have to be addressed. In addition, parenting time with children during the pendency of the action must be arranged.
All of the above matters, as well as other matters such as abusive behavior, contested occupancy of the marital residences, travel arrangements for visitation, and the like, can sometimes be resolved by negotiation. However, where these matters cannot be address by agreement, they must be presented to the judge who will make a decision regarding these temporary issues.
At the time a divorce case is filed, an Automatic Temporary Injunction begins in force, which prohibits both parties from taking certain actions. The Automatic Temporary Injunction includes orders that prohibit the parties from actions including but not limited to the following:
Once discovery and any evaluations are completed, if the case is not settled, it is set down for trial. Trial will take place before the judge assigned to the case. Depending on the complexity of the issues, trial can take days or even weeks to complete. After trial, many judges require post-trial briefs by the parties' attorneys in which they argue why the facts proven at trial should lead to a decision in favor of their respective clients. An appeal to the Court of Civil Appeals and, in rare cases, a further appeal to the state's highest court, the Oklahoma Supreme Court, is also available. For information about the appeals process, please see our section on appellate practice.
In litigation, the skill, experience and effectiveness of the attorneys are of paramount importance. The attorneys representing you should possess the ability to clearly educate clients and judges about the relevant issues. They should have a thorough knowledge of the law and of procedure and evidence. They should have facility with numbers and the ability to unravel complex financial issues. And they should be able authoritatively and convincingly to present your case to the court.
The attorneys at MMSR Law possess all of these skills and are all experienced and effective advocates. Our many years of practice in this field, and the individual talents of our attorneys, have brought the firm and each of the attorneys a healthy measure of success and the respect of both the judiciary and professional peers.
An appeal is a request for a higher court to address errors of fact or law made by a trial court. The issues which may be raised in appeals can be limited, and the appellate court may not generally review information outside the record of the previous proceedings.
The appellate process is very different from the trial level processes described above. Appeals are almost entirely addressed by written briefs based upon the record of the proceedings before the trial court, which typically includes all documents filed as well as evidence presented, and transcripts of any testimony given.
The appellate court typically begins with the assumption that the trial court ruled correctly, unless the error can be demonstrated to the appellate court in the record. The appellate court will generally defer to the ruling of the trial court on questions regarding the weight of the evidence or credibility of the witnesses.
Appeals must be addressed in a very short time frame, usually within thirty days of the entry of the order which a party wishes to appeal. It can also take a significant amount of time to gather and review the record to evaluate the likelihood of success on appeal. Thus, it is extremely important not to delay in filing an appeal if you believe that you wish to pursue appellate review.
Our firm has had significant success in addressing appellate matters in both domestic and civil cases. If you believe that an appeal is necessary or would like assistance in deciding whether to appeal, please contact Mullins Mullins Sexton & Reaves, P.C. at 405-235-2335 or by email.
Domestic and Civil Litigation in Oklahoma
In some situations, divorcing couples are unable to resolve matters through mediation or through settlement negotiations. Such matters must be presented to the judge in trial. Although trial is the costliest and often the least efficient way of proceeding, it is sometimes the only viable option.
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