Getting divorced is usually challenging and often complex. Even if both spouses are amicable about the split, there are still property issues and custody rights over children and pets to resolve. Consulting an attorney who specializes in domestic law, especially divorce, is often the first step toward making the breakup final. Such a meeting can be intimidating. There are, however, many ways to prepare for that meeting. Here’s what is likely to happen at your first meeting with a divorce lawyer.
They Will Discuss Reasons for the Divorce
The divorce lawyer will ask you why you are seeking a divorce. Although many states do not require a breach of legal or moral standards for someone to start a divorce, that is often the case. Sometimes a spouse has an affair or mishandles the marital finances. A divorce can involve abuse. It is important for you to clearly state your reasons for the divorce, so the attorney can explain the relevant laws in such cases. Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to alimony or child support as well as certain shared real estate or personal property depending on the situation. Your lawyer will run through all these options and inform you what the best position for your case is.
They Will Advise of Your State’s Divorce Process
After discussing the divorce laws that apply to your case, the attorney will go over the divorce legal process. Often, it begins with a legal separation that divides the couple’s assets and settles the spouses’ living arrangements. The lawyers will work out temporary orders explaining the household division, put them into place, and present them in a court proceeding. The other spouse should also attend. The lawyer will explain each step of the divorce process so that you know what to expect.
They Will Explain Your Rights and Responsibilities
During a legal separation and divorce, each spouse must do certain things and avoid other things. For example, if both work, they should probably not deposit their paychecks into the same account, and they must open new accounts. The spouses may need to find agreement on where the children, if any, will attend school. The couple will need to decide on many issues during this period of time that can last several months. Temporary child support, custody orders, and division of household expenses may be determined with permanent decisions to be issued by the judge unless agreed on by the couple.
They Will Discuss Firm’s Fee Structure
Attorneys can bill their fee in several ways: by the hour, for a specific legal action, or as a portion of the client’s financial settlement. You will find out the estimated cost of the divorce as well as the expected payment plan for the fee. Often the firm will charge you an introductory fee or nothing for the first consolation. That way, you can make an informed decision about how to proceed.
The lawyer may also deal with other aspects of dissolving the marriage during the first consultation. However, these issues are among the most prevalent that are likely to be covered initially. This guide should help you know what to expect if you want to consult a lawyer about a divorce.