The attorneys at Datsopoulos, MacDonald & Lind, P.C. understand the concerns ands anxiety involved in any family law situation. Family law encompasses, divorce, child custody, asset and debt division, prenuptials, parenting, child support, spousal support, visitation, adoption and paternity.
We have years of experience in successful family law practice. Our team of domestic relations attorneys will thoroughly evaluate your concerns and provide sound practical legal advice, guiding you every step of the way for the best possible outcome.
For any type of family law issue please feel free to contact us to discuss your options in proceeding.
The legal process of adopting a child in Montana can be lengthy and at times confusing. Our firm has substantial experience in adoption proceedings and is ready to help guide you through the process. We have represented parties adopting, and have also counseled and assisted biological parents in child placement. Our adoption clients have included step-parent adoptions, kinship placement adoptions, and same sex adoptions.
Dennis Lind, one of our founding partners and current shareholders, is a member of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, an invite only group consisting of only the most experienced adoption attorneys in the country.
Mr. Lind and our firm have handled adoptions across Montana for over the last thirty years, and have also assisted clients here and elsewhere in complex international adoptions.
The lawyers at Datsopoulos, MacDonald & Lind will work with you to ensure the needs of your children are properly addressed in both initial child support agreements and the modification of child support orders. Child support calculations in Montana are subject to the Montana Child Support Guidelines. Our attorneys have substantial experience in advocating for our clients and their children within these guidelines. This area may include the negotiation and resolution of health insurance, shared costs, medical expenses, daycare, tax benefits and the cost of transportation.
Child support can also be calculated and paid through the Montana Child Support Enforcement Division. The staff and attorneys at Datsopoulos, MacDonald & Lind, P.C. also have significant experience working through the Child Support Enforcement Division proceedings.
The two largest factors in determining an appropriate child support obligation are income and the numbers of days the children reside with each parent. However, the complexities of other factors, such as insurance costs, childcare costs, and other dependent deductions deserve the attention of an experienced attorney and his or her staff.
If you have an aging parent or loved one who is having difficulty or is unable to manage his or her affairs, a temporary or permanent conservatorship may be necessary. Conservators are legally responsible for the affairs or estates of parties who are limited due to physical or mental limitations, or old age. In Montana, conservatorships are governed by state statute and are established by court order. Our legal team can help advise you through the process of appointing a conservator, which can be a complicated and emotionally confusing for family members. We will work hard to make sure your loved one and their assets are protected.
At Datsopolous, MacDonald & Lind we know that divorce, called “dissolution” in Montana, can be a challenging and stressful experience. Our team of family law attorneys has the skill and experience necessary to guide you through the process of a marital dissolution, same sex dissolution or legal separation.
Dissolution presents a wide range of potential issues that include:
- Property Division and Distribution
- Complex marital estates
- Child Custody
- Child Support
- Modification of orders
Disputes can arise early on in the process and may include issues such as financial support for you or your children, parenting visitation or the use of marital property and assets during the proceedings. We will identify what your needs are and strive to meet them during and after the legal proceedings. Our firm also has connections and relationships with other professionals in the area, including counselors and accountants that will provide you with an added benefit. Disputes during a divorce or separation can be resolved through agreement between each party or the court system. We will help you weigh your options and determine what route is best for you.
Each dissolution action is unique and we take care to consider the needs of each client on an individual basis. We will advise, advocate, negotiate and litigate based on your goals and individual needs, in accordance with the law. It is important to work with an experienced attorney who can develop a personalized legal strategy to maximize your asset division, protect your rights, and keep the best interest of your children in the forefront during child support and child custody matters.
Whether you have a complex marital estate that will require a unique property division and distribution, or serious concerns regarding a parenting plan and child support, the process can be intimidating and complex. Our attorneys will make sure you are made fully aware of what to expect during the preliminary stage of gathering information, or the near end stage of negotiating a settlement agreement or going to trial. At Datsopoulos, MacDonald & Lind, our clients have found comfort in our experience and expertise for over 40 years.
Same-sex couples face challenges in Montana not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Although the Constitution of Montana defines marriage as between a man and a woman, our attorneys can help guide same-sex couples moving or traveling to and from other states with civil unions, domestic partnerships and same-sex marriages in the event of a divorce.
There are many reasons why a minor seek emancipation. In Montana, a minor who is emancipated assumes adult responsibility before they reach the age of 18. It is important that a minor seeking emancipation have a skilled attorney who can advise them on an individual basis of their options and responsibilities.
Legal guardianships are a way of transferring custody of minors, the elderly, or the disabled to a caregiver. Guardianships can be either temporary or permanent, and can be complex. It is advised that a person who understands guardianship laws is retained to assist in the appointment of a guardian.
Guardian ad litems are not the same as legal guardians and are often appointed for under-age children. A Guardian ad litem is an officer of the court and does not represent the parties in a suit. Many times, guardian ad litems are appointed when there are allegations of abuse or neglect. Our attorneys are aware that these appointments may be emotionally charged and are sensitive to the needs of parties who find themselves in guardian ad litem proceedings.
Modification of Custody & Support Orders
Parenting plans may need to be modified over time due to a change in the circumstances of the parties, which may include the relocation of a parent, a new job schedule of a parent, or the growth and maturation of the children. We have attorneys that can help you obtain an amended parenting plan that best suits your and your children’s current and future needs.
Oftentimes, complications arise in a parenting dispute after one parent has relocated with the children to another state. In these cases, our attorneys use their experience with the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) to make certain your interests are protected. This may include attempting to move a parenting dispute from one state to another, depending on the circumstances of the particular case.
The attorneys at Datsopoulos, MacDonald & Lind have decades of experience representing parties who wish to modify child support orders, parenting plans and child custody orders. Whether there has been a substantial change in circumstances or your order has become outdated, we can help review, analyze and explain your options under Montana law.
There are a wide variety of orders that can come from the court in family law matters. These include:
- Qualified Domestic Relations Orders – Qualified Domestic Relations Orders are issued by the court to divide retirement benefits in a dissolution. Preparation of a Qualified Domestic Relations Order requires an attorney who did not represent either party to the dissolution. Our attorneys are skilled in this area of retirement division and can assist both parties in an equitable distribution.
- Temporary and Permanent Orders of Protection– An order of protection is a legal document issued by the court preventing an individual from engaging in certain behavior. Orders of protection can be either granted in an emergency or may be for an interim period. If you are contemplating filing for an order of protection, or have an order of protection against you, our attorneys will listen to you, provide confidential services, inform you of your rights, explain how the court process works, and litigate for your individual needs.
- Temporary and Permanent Restraining Orders – If you are considering filing a restraining order an attorney from Datsopoulos, MacDonald & Lind can help you consider you navigate the process in Montana with empathy and expertise. If you have experienced threats or actual physical abuse, you may be able to get a restraining order under Montana law. If you are faced with a restraining order, legal representation is recommended to help mitigate the long-term effects this type of order can have. Our attorneys can help you understand the best options and alternatives if you find yourself on the receiving end of a restraining order.
- Civil No Contact Orders
The lawyers at Datsopoulos, MacDonald & Lind have successfully represented clients in paternity actions for over 40 years. If you need to establish paternity for child support or a parenting plan, a paternity action requires genetic testing if the parents do not agree the father is the legal father.
The rights of parents and third parties, including grandparents can create difficult circumstances in child custody cases. Anyone who has developed a “parent child relationship” with the child may have rights under Montana laws. Our attorneys have helped third parties, grandparents and biological parents in custody situations and can help negotiate for your best interest and the best interest of the child.
In some cases, termination of parental rights may be appropriate. Termination of parental rights means that a parent’s rights as a parent are taken away. Courts can take away parental rights to protect children voluntarily or involuntarily, depending on the circumstances.
Prenuptual, Postnuptual & Cohabitation Agreements
Various agreements can be made before or during a marriage in order to protect each party’s financial interests.
A prenuptial, or premarital, agreement is entered into prior to the marriage. It is important that you plan ahead so as to prevent any last minute efforts to rush into a prenuptial agreement shortly before the marriage. If a prenuptial agreement is a future possibility, it is important that you get in contact with our attorneys so that you can plan appropriately.
Prenuptial agreements can help parties protect their assets prior to marriage. Although this can be a difficult topic, these agreements can potentially save parties a substantial amount of time and money in the future. Our attorneys can draft a prenuptial, or premarital, agreement that will protect your assets in the event of a divorce or separation. Additionally, our attorneys will make certain you are advised how to manage your assets and property after the execution of the prenuptial agreement to ensure the agreement remains enforceable.
An agreement entered into during a marriage is referred to as a postnuptial agreement. Such an agreement most often results from a change in circumstances after marriage that is cause for one party to take steps to protect the assets and interests that they may have in property obtained or to which they have contributed during the marriage. When loans, inheritance, and large purchases affecting either party are at issue, our attorneys can help you draft a legally binding postnuptial agreement.
Finally, unmarried couples may also have a need to protect assets and property while they are cohabitating with, but not common law married to, a partner. These agreements are referred to as cohabitation agreements. They provide a method for individuals who cannot be legally recognized as married, or do not wish to become married, to reach an agreement regarding their rights and responsibilities of assets and liabilities. The agreements also serve to prevent future dispute or litigation over the couple’s assets, property and liabilities.
It is crucial that you utilize the services of our attorneys in making certain you end up with an enforceable agreement. It is important that you take the appropriate steps in negotiating, drafting, executing and performing under the agreement. Our attorneys will be with you every step of the way.
At times, a spouse or partner may need an attorney to help enforce or set aside an agreement that has already been executed. If this is the case, call our attorneys to set up a free consultation and explore the potential outcomes of litigating an already existing agreement.
People accumulate assets and debts during the course of a marriage. These assets and debts must be distributed between the parties during a divorce or separation. Asset division can be a long and complicated process. Each divorce or separation presents a unique set of property and assets as no two cases are the same.
Special rules govern the distribution of different types of marital property. It is important that you are fully advised of your rights as they pertain to premarital or gifted property, family inheritance, military retirement benefits and pensions, or railroad retirement and pensions. Premarital and inherited assets have traditionally not been considered in dividing the marital assets and debts; however, given recent changes in the law, one spouse may have a claim to the other spouse’s premarital property. Whenever a divorce or separation involves retirement and pensions, whether they are military, railroad, or otherwise, it is important that you exercise your rights to protect any interest you may have.
A family farm or ranch and property acquired after separation may also deserve special attention. The attorneys at Datsopoulos, MacDonald & Lind are experts in the process of equitable property division not matter how complicated your financial situation. We strive to maximize outcomes for our client, equitably under the Montana law.
Your financial stability after a divorce or separation may be one of your primary concerns entering a divorce or separation. Depending on the role each spouse has maintained during the marriage, one spouse may be obligated to pay to the other a monthly maintenance obligation. Maintenance can be either temporary or permanent depending on a person’s needs and circumstances. In determining an appropriate amount, the court will consider factors such as the standard of living established during the marriage, the duration of the marriage, the age of each party and the ability of each spouse to earn reasonable income on their own.
It may be difficult to understand how to best show your spouse or the court that you are entitled to maintenance. Our attorneys are here to help you through the process and help you stay on your feet financially during and after your divorce or separation. We will provide you with an analysis of your specific case and determine what amount of maintenance is proper. We will also be able to provide you guidance in determining if a larger distribution of the marital assets and property would be a better option for you in lieu of seeking monthly payments.
Finances, like children, can be the most important and litigated aspect of a divorce or separation. Put your concerns at ease and use our attorneys to achieve what is best for you.