Interviewer: What if you have a situation where one spouse has been the homemaker and they haven’t made any income on their own and they want a divorce? Do you feed them scraps or starve them to death? How do you get them money so that they can live?
Danielle Hawkes: Absolutely, especially when there is bad blood involved. If there’s bad blood involved then we need to get into court and get what are called temporary orders right away. Those temporary orders will make sure that the homemaker’s spouse has spousal support interim as well as attorney’s fees and child support, and then the bills are clearly marked for who is going to pay which bill and who is going to live in the house. We need to get that cleared up; that needs to happen as a first step in the divorce process. We can’t even move forward if one spouse has become the underdog and doesn’t have the ability to even move forward in a fair way.
Interviewer: So you can move quickly and get someone protection and health?
Danielle Hawkes: That’s right. As far as the other spouse goes, they need to be very prepared. Those temporary orders are a very truncated process and the attorney has to prepare very quickly for them, but it’s important that they’re prepared because what happens is those temporary orders can become the status quo. If they’re not good for either spouse it really can color the tenure of the divorce.
Basically both sides need to take those temporary orders very seriously. I consider them a mini trial and I prepare for them as if I were going to a mini trial.
Interviewer: What do you do about behavior from one spouse trying to rack up debts or refusing to pay anything or something like that?
Danielle Hawkes: We can go with those in two ways. During the divorce we deal with them in temporary orders or orders to show cause. After the divorce we deal still with orders to show cause, and we can also use restraining orders as well as protective orders for extremely bad behavior. Like I said, I deal with really complicated cases that involve drugs and alcohol and spousal abuse issues. In those cases we often have to use a more extreme measure, like restraining orders or protective orders.
Interviewer: You have the power to make the court force people to behave better, right?
Danielle Hawkes: That’s right.