Getting a divorce can be a difficult, stressful process. Although most of us would like to believe that all separations can take place amicably, the reality is often far more complex. If you are currently going through a litigated divorce then you are likely already aware of just how many issues there are to consider. Navigating your way through this process alone is rarely worth it, which is why many people opt to make use of the services of a divorce attorney.
Of course, not everyone who goes through a divorce uses an attorney. There are non-litigated options for divorce such as mediation that may be worth considering if you and your spouse are parting ways on good terms. Even amicable divorces can be complicated, however, and a divorce attorney can help you work through the legal complexities involved in forming a divorce agreement.
Divorce attorneys are particularly important if you are dealing with custody issues or if you have large assets that you are concerned about. Divorce attorneys also give you more time to take care of your own immediate emotional needs by freeing you from the stress of dealing with legal proceedings on your own.
Once you have decided to make use of a divorce attorney’s services, it is time to begin building a list of questions to ask during your first consultation. It may be necessary to speak with more than one lawyer, so keep these questions available until you are sure you have found an attorney you are satisfied with.
These are questions that you should consider asking of any attorney you are considering hiring. Always find out as much as you can about your attorney’s background, including how long they have been practicing law, how much experience they have in handling divorce cases specifically, and how long they have been practicing in your specific jurisdiction. When working with an attorney, you always want to find someone who has significant experience in cases that are as similar to yours as possible.
You should always clarify how an attorney will bill you for their services before you get too deep into the initial consultation. The vast majority of divorce attorneys will charge you a retainer up front and an hourly fee for their services thereafter. Ask about the typical length of a divorce case similar to yours so that you can be sure the attorney you are considering is within your budget. Most attorneys will charge for any and all time spent working on your case, so keep this in mind when you are estimating the total cost of your divorce.
A divorce attorney should be able to provide you with a detailed explanation of how assets are split between parties in your particular jurisdiction. If you have any large, joint assets then it is extremely important that you understand what will happen to these early in the process. This is also the time to discuss any concerns you may have about your spouse potentially hiding assets from you during the divorce and your options for gathering information and resolving the situation.
Child custody is often the most painful and overwhelming part of any divorce proceeding. You should make a list of any and all concerns that you have about custody and bring them to your attorney’s attention during the initial consultation process. This is especially important if you believe that your custody battle will not be straightforward or if you have been unable or unwilling to discuss custody arrangements with your spouse.
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