Consulting with a Divorce Attorney

Consulting with a divorce attorney is the first step in the divorce processes.

Consulting with a Divorce Attorney

Consulting with a Divorce Attorney

Whether you’ve already made the decision to file for divorce, or you are simply gathering information, doing your homework and taking time to choose the right divorce attorney will be critical to the outcome of your case. In today’s tight economic climate, we are seeing a trend of attorneys’ broadening their scope of practice to include divorce. To obtain the best legal advice, limit your search to attorneys who only practice divorce and family law.

 

Dealing with the breakup of your marriage, even if it has been an unhappy one, can be difficult. The difficulty can be compounded by the complexities of the legal aspects of divorce. When you are consulting with a divorce attorney, one critical aspect should be the comfort level you feel in asking him / her questions. Attorneys who specialize in family practice and divorce have a more intimate knowledge of the states laws and family court processes.  They also tend to have better relationships with family court judges and other divorce attorneys, which can be helpful to your case.

 

Another consideration is to understand the divorce laws in your state. Most of the United States is governed by common law. Common Law is derived from English law and warrants that, property held solely by one spouse or the other is theirs exclusively. However, it also holds that your spouse has a legal right to claim an equitable portion of your property in the case of a divorce.

 

In community property states, the law, which is derived from Spanish law, warrants that all property jointly and separately held, becomes marital property and is therefore subject to equal division in the case of divorce. The exception to this rule is that property such as gifts or inheritances may remain as sole and separate property, unless they are commingled with jointly held property. An example of this is a financial inheritance received by one spouse that is put into a jointly held bank account, becoming commingled and thus, a marital asset.

 

Consulting with a Divorce Attorney Helpful Questions

Consulting with a Divorce Attorney Questions

Consulting with a Divorce Attorney Questions

When consulting with a divorce attorney, face-to-face interviews are the best way to determine whom you feel comfortable with. It is also a good opportunity to meet your perspective attorney’s staff, as you will be interacting with them regularly. Some helpful questions to ask are:

 

  1. How many divorce cases have you handled in the past five years? How long have you practiced divorce / family law?
  2. Do you think mediation is possible?
  3. If so, do you handle mediation?
  4. Can you explain the court process and how long it generally takes?
  5. What are the legal issues surrounding divorce?
  6. Is this state a common law or community property state? Can you explain the difference?
  7. How do you negotiate custody / child support / alimony / spousal maintenance issues?
  8. How long do you think my divorce will take?
  9. Can you explain your fee structure? Do you charge a retainer then an hourly rate? If so, what is it?
  10. How do you intend to handle my case?

 

Your lawyer will be your legal “tool” in your divorce proceeding and it is not their job to give you emotional support or hold your hand. They are there to win the best possible outcome for you. If you don’t feel comfortable with someone, keep looking until you find the right fit, when consulting with a divorce attorney.

 

Divorce is difficult and one of the most physical and emotionally taxing processes you can go through. The reality that your marriage is ending can put you into a tailspin and ironically, it is during this difficult emotional time period that you need to be completely clear thinking in your business affairs.
You will need to make unemotional and strategic business decisions that will affect your future financial life as a single person.