Of all the issues surrounding a divorce, choosing the right attorney might not be the first one you think of, but it probably should be. A good attorney cannot just help you through what might be a complex legal process, but the right one can save you time and money, and help you avoid what can easily become a long, drawn-out financial and emotional nightmare. Knowing what to look for in a divorce attorney is the key to finding the best one for your situation. In this short article, we’ll take a closer look at the issues involved with choosing the right one.
Understand the Process
The first thing to realize about divorce attorneys is that their role is to represent you and your interests in the dissolution of assets and custody concerns–and nothing else. As much as you might want your attorney to sympathize with you, and listen to your frustration and anger, that simply is not their job. Attorneys charge top dollar for their time, and if you rant to them about the horrors of your soon-to-be ex, you’re liable to run up legal bills way out of proportion with the actual legal services provided. You’ll be much better off emotionally and financially if you save those sorts of conversations for your therapist.
The earlier in the process you can begin to look for a divorce attorney, the better. If you wait until you’re in a high-pressure situation and you just want everything to be taken care of quickly, or even worse, if you wait until you’re served with papers, you’re likely to choose an attorney based on who is available, and not who might best represent you. Also, if your spouse has already secured counsel, no lawyer from that firm can represent you due to potential conflict of interest.
Before hiring any divorce attorney, consider alternatives to traditional divorce–actual litigation should be the last resort. For couples with no children and simple finances, you may be able to hire a mediator to help you negotiate the terms of the divorce settlement and completely avoid hiring an attorney. Another alternative is a collaborative divorce, a negotiated settlement with the end goal of a collaborative co-parenting relationship. If neither side is willing to compromise and litigation is inevitable, remember that divorce attorneys have varied areas of expertise, and will try to guide you toward their specialty. Be sure to know what you want before you talk to an attorney so you can make an informed choice.
Remember Your Goal
The ultimate goal in any divorce process is simple: finalizing the divorce with as little financial damage as possible. Your attorney should help you reach your goal in a timely fashion, but you’ve got to stay on target. Try to limit your emotional reactions when it comes to negotiating over things that might not be as important to you in the big picture. By staying focused on getting the divorce over and done with quickly, your lawyer can help you avoid both the costs and emotional damage of lengthy litigation.
Do Your Research
Before hiring an attorney, you’ll want to know who you’re dealing with. The best way to start is with a simple phone call, asking about the kinds of clients they typically represent. Be sure to ask about rates up front. Most divorce lawyers will require a retainer in addition to their hourly rate, and some will base their fees on what sort of settlement is anticipated. If a lawyer is more expensive than you can afford, don’t waste your time on them, even if they offer a ‘free consultation.’ If they do fall in your price range, take them up on the free consultation, and keep looking. You should meet with at least three lawyers before making any final decision.
Ask about the attorney’s track record in court, even if you have no intentions of going to trial. Their record in trials is a good indicator of their success record in negotiated settlements. You should also inquire about his or her access to financial experts, forensic appraisers, and parenting coordinators. In the event that these sorts of experts are needed, an attorney who can secure them easily can save substantial amounts of time and money.
Beware of Promises
If an attorney promises you anything, you should probably look elsewhere. Remember that while your divorce is the most important thing to you at this point in your life, to an attorney, it’s just business, and some may be likely to tell you what you want to hear in order to get hired. Also beware of an attorney who divulges any details from other cases, like high-profile clients or big settlements. If they’re willing to do that to get your business, they’re likely to use you in the same way. Finally, make sure any attorney you choose is respectful and attentive during your meeting. If he or she is easily distracted by emails or their phone, they’re likely to be unable to focus on your needs.
Your Final Choice
After you’ve evaluated your own needs, and spoken with at least three potential attorneys, you’ll need to make a decision. You should choose someone you’re comfortable with, an attorney who is professional, well spoken, and has earned your trust. Make sure that whoever you choose to represent you is local to your area, and knows the local court system well. If there are children involved in the proceedings, make sure your attorney has their best interest at heart. Any attorney who advocates for unreasonable custody agreements or child support demands should be avoided at all costs. Children can be used as ‘bargaining chips’ in particularly nasty cases, so make sure you and your attorney are in agreement about how to handle the needs of the kids.
Divorce is never easy, even in the simplest of cases. It’s a deeply personal and emotional undertaking, and the end results can affect your life, and the life of your children, forever. Choosing the right divorce attorney is an important decision, but if you’re aware of the potential pitfalls and keep the important issues at the forefront, you’ll likely find one who represents your best interests.
One final thing to consider: when addressing the costs of hiring a divorce attorney, don’t forget about your bridal jewelry. Selling your engagement ring and old jewelry can be a particularly poetic and satisfying way to pay for divorce lawyer. And today, a seller has lots of options: from estate jewelry stores and direct diamond buyers to auctions and online consignment shops.
No one goes into a marriage anticipating its ending. And yet, a huge portion of marriages end in divorce regardless. Happily ever after is clearly harder to come by than most of us assume. Marriage is not something to be taken lightly.
If you’re reaching the end of your days in a happy union, it’s important to really understand the ins and outs of divorce. Splitting up a marriage is not as simple as calling it quits and moving on — it can be really, very complicated. Understanding the difference between a contested divorce and an uncontested one is key to moving forward.
But what is the difference, and how can it impact your divorce and the rest of your life? You may be surprised just how far the ripples of your uncoupling can go. Read on and we’ll walk you through what you need to know.
What Is a Contested Divorce?
All divorces are difficult but some divorces are even more difficult to navigate than others. If two spouses can’t see eye to eye on the terms of a divorce, things can quickly get ugly and difficult.
That’s where things come into play with a contested divorce. A contested divorce is when the two parties in a marriage can’t come to an agreement on certain aspects of their divorce proceedings. They may have disagreements about how child custody will be awarded, or about how certain assets will be split up.
A contested divorce can get ugly because the spouses will have to go to court to sort out their differences. At the end of the day, a judge will be responsible for making the final decision in the case. This can be very hard to swallow for one or both spouses, especially if a child is involved.
Contested divorces take a lot longer than uncontested divorces. Cases need to be built, evidence gathered, and the whole process needs to be filed through the slow steps of bureaucracy. There are more steps, more stress, and more legal fees to go around on both sides.
In a contested divorce, attorneys will have to go through a divorce discovery process that may even include bringing in friends and family members as witnesses. Settlement negotiations can go on for weeks or months before an actual trial date is decided upon.
The whole process can be very long, and very painful. It can also be very complicated, which is why both spouses typically enlist the help of a divorce attorney to help walk them through the many steps and big piles of paperwork.
How a Contested Divorce Plays Out
If you don’t think you’ll be able to see eye-to-eye with your spouse, you may have a contested divorce case in your future. Understanding the various steps in this kind of case can help to ensure that you’re prepared for the worst.
Meeting with an Attorney
If you’re the one bringing the divorce forward, you’ll want to be meeting with an attorney before officially bringing the divorce to your spouse. This gives you a large amount of time to interview different attorneys and find the one that feels best suited for your case.
During your interview with various attorneys, talk about the areas of the divorce that you are worried about. Do you share children or assets you think might be taken away from you? See what experience an attorney has in dealing with these situations.
Serve a Divorce Petition to Your Spouse
Once you’ve ironed everything out with a lawyer you trust, it’s time to start the divorce proceedings. In order to do that, you’ll need to serve divorce papers to your spouse.
You can serve these papers yourself or have a local police sheriff do it for you. In most cases, it is not your legal responsibility to serve these papers, but many spouses who still live with their partners find it easier.
If your spouse cannot be located a notice may be published in a local newspaper. Once served, your spouse will have thirty days to respond to the petition. If your spouse does not respond, you may receive a default judgment from the court in your favor.
The Discovery Period
The most painful and difficult part of a contested divorce might be the discovery period. This is when attorneys move in to help uncover as much evidence about the opposing part as possible. That means financial information, as well as personal wrongdoings, are on the table for discussion.
Friends and family may be brought in to answer questions and may feel like they are pressured to choose a side. Documents will be requested from each side and must be relinquished within a reasonable time.
Settlement Attempts and a Move to Trial
Following discovery, the two sides will attempt to come to a resolution based on the gathered evidence. Each side will attempt to broker a deal that serves as a compromise but still keeps their client’s best interested in mind.
These mediations will be based on the strength of evidence found in the discovery stage. Often, a settlement will not be reached. In this situation, the case will need to move to court, where a judge will make a decision based on the evidence presented.
After the trial is over, the spouses will need to sign agreements and fall in line with a judge’s orders.
Fighting for Your Rights in a Divorce
Working through a contested divorce can be one of the most difficult times in one’s life. Understanding the process ahead of time can help a great deal.
Need more legal advice? Check out our blog for more.
About 33% of marriages in the US end up in divorce, according to recent statistics. In 2017, nearly 800,000 people got divorced. If you’re seeking a divorce in Colorado, know that you’re not alone.
Before you seek a divorce, there are some things you should know. These 7 things will help you to understand the divorce process in Colorado and what to expect.
Keep reading to learn more about Colorado divorce law and your situation.
1. Residency Requirements
If you want to file for divorce in Colorado, you have to meet strict residency requirements. Either you or your spouse must meet the requirements to prove that Colorado has jurisdiction over your case.
- one party has to live in the state for 90 days preceding the filing
- can be filed in the county where either the petitioner (person filing) or respondent (spouse) lives
If these requirements are met, then the state has jurisdiction over your divorce and the petition for a dissolution of marriage can proceed.
2. Grounds for Divorce
Colorado is a “no-fault” divorce state. This means that they do not consider misconduct (such as adultery) by either party when deciding whether to grant a divorce. This also applies to the decision to award alimony and the division of property.
The grounds for divorce in Colorado is referred to as the “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage, which basically means that the couple can’t get along and remain married. There’s no consideration of why the marriage breaks down or if there is a person at fault.
3. Division of Property
Since Colorado is a no-fault state, they use a system of equitable distribution of property. This means that anything that is considered marital property is divided equitably between the spouses. Marital property includes any property acquired after the marriage.
It does not include the following:
- property that was acquired before the marriage and traded for payment or other property after the marriage
- anything acquired after a legal separation
- anything excluded by a valid legal agreement (e.g., a postnuptial agreement)
It’s important to note that equitable doesn’t necessarily mean equal though. To determine an equitable distribution, the court will consider things such as:
- the contributions of each spouse to the acquisition of the marital property (including contributions of a spouse as a homemaker)
- the value of the property unique to each spouse
- the economic circumstances of each party after the property is divided
It is recommended that the parties try to come to an agreement on the division of property so the courts do not have to.
4. Child Custody
If divorcing parents can agree on child custody, they may do so and the courts do not have to issue a ruling. Many parents will share joint legal custody, which means they share decision-making authority and work out physical custody arrangements that best suit their needs.
If they can’t agree, the courts will have to get involved. Most often, the courts will require divorcing parents to go to mediation, where a mediator will help them work out a parenting plan. If they still can’t agree, a judge will determine the physical and legal custody of the child or children.
The primary consideration is always the best interest of the child.
5. Child Support
Child support is typically calculated using the parent’s income as well as the time they spend with the children. Both parents have a financial responsibility to support the children.
The courts use guidelines to determine child support, and this continues until the child reaches the age of 18. It can be modified only if there is a major change, such as loss of income or gaining physical custody of the child.
Alimony, or spousal support, is not automatic in all divorces. This is something determined on a case-by-case basis, and it depends on a number of different things. The courts will consider the following:
- the financial resources of the spouse asking for support
- the time it would take for the spouse seeking support to find appropriate employment
- the standard of living that was established while the couple was still married
- how long the marriage lasted
- the age of the spouse seeking support
- the ability of the other spouse (the one being asked to provide the support) to meet his or her own financial needs
The courts will also determine how long the spousal support will last.
7. Hiring an Attorney
Although hiring an attorney isn’t necessary to file for divorce, it is a good idea to consult with one who has expertise in this area. There are many things to consider when getting divorced, and an attorney will often think of things that you or your spouse haven’t.
A knowledgeable attorney fights for your best interests. It is also a good idea to consider hiring an attorney if you have children and you and your spouse are unable to come to an agreement on custody or support.
An attorney will have the best interests of your child in mind, and help you achieve an outcome that is preferable. They will also be able to help you understand what kind of spousal support you may be entitled to, and represent you during the court process.
Colorado Divorce Law and You: All That You Need to Know
Colorado divorce law doesn’t need to be complicated, but you should be sure you do your homework before filing for divorce. Make sure you meet the residency requirements or else the courts won’t even have jurisdiction over your case.
For more information on other legal topics, explore some of the other areas of our site.
Property matters a lot to the law. Looking back in history, you will find many laws about inheritance and marriage started specifically to handle property. To keep your hard-earned assets from defaulting into the void, it pays to know how property is defined and distributed.
This may seem secondary when so many fear to ask what happens in a divorce simply because they don’t want to jinx themselves. It’s one of the categories where ignorance is considered a virtue over being forewarned and forearmed.
Whether you are researching for your own needs or looking to help someone out, this article will answer the pertinent questions. Rest assured, understanding how and why these decisions get made is worthwhile.
What Happens in a Divorce
A lot of turmoil erupts when two people decide to separate their lives. The longer they’ve been together, the more there is to unravel. Even an amicable separation can take months to process through the legal matter of property.
It’s no wonder that divorce ranks as the second most stressful event a person encounters. There are three distinct periods of time that one passes through during a divorce.
A divorce starts with a petition filed with a court. Next is the meditation period, where the couple attempts to separate through the property and other issues that need to get sorted with the dissolution of the marriage. Finally, there is the matter of temporary injunctions and living arrangements decided during the proceedings.
One spouse files the divorce petition that officials serve to the other. This divorce petition starts the claim of property. In it, the spouse lists the two parties, any children, and makes claims about shared property and community property.
First-round offers of spousal support are also listed including who will pay such. The petition needs to be served to be legal, this requires an official acknowledgment of receipt from the other spouse.
The other spouse creates a response that either agrees with the terms laid out in the petition or refutes them. States have different periods necessary for a divorce to get completed and this timeline starts when the respondent receives the petition.
If the respondent agrees with the petitioner, then the division of property follows the information in the petition.
Because it’s possible for even well-meaning couples to not list everything that needs to get considered in the divorce, it’s best to get legal help for drafting the petition and doing a full accounting of assets.
If the respondent refutes the petitioner, then a period of meditation begins. If no compromise can get found, one spouse may then sue the other for divorce which puts the matter of property into the Court’s hands.
A divorce petition is a legal agreement much like a marriage contract or prenuptial agreement. When amicable, the State does it’s best to honor the wishes of the two parties.
Even so, not everything can be easily handled as property comes in multiple varieties defined here.
This is property that was earned during the course of the marriage. Debt, wages, and items purchased during the marriage all count for community property.
This is property that either predates the marriage or was awarded to one spouse or the other during the marriage. This covers items such as inheritances, gifts, and pensions vested before the marriage.
In the case of a house, if it was purchased before the marriage it remains the separate property of the original buyer. For something like a business, the business itself remains with the original owner but proceeds from the business is considered community.
This designation comes into play when no documentation of the original owner exists. Otherwise, if partial funds from both parties were used. These mixed origin properties are considered community property.
For example, a spouse sells their original solely owned home to buy a community home.
While the divorce proceeds, whether amicable or not, the couple is considered separated and accommodations must be made for the maintenance of all parties.
The primary caretaker, the spouse that spends the most time with the children, typically stays in the house. If no children are involved, the primary owner of the property can ask the other to leave or get removed.
If neither party has more claim to the property or more caretaker stake, they have no legal recourse to remove the other.
Injunctions are often filed to provide temporary funds and custodianship during this time to keep things as smooth as possible during the transition processes.
How property is divided when one party sues for divorce changes based on the state. To ensure you get what you need after a divorce, it pays to contact a lawyer inside your state.
Most states aim for equitable distribution. This guideline seeks to provide both parties with a monetary value of the property that is roughly equal and fair to both parties.
Property doesn’t always need to be liquidated for this to happen. Documentation providing joint and equal ownership of a business, piece of land, assets, or debts can all get arranged.
In some states, community property gets split under the tenents of equitable distribution but separate property reverts.
This means that couples leave with everything they came to the marriage with, and only that which was built during the marriage gets split.
The exact specifics of what happens in a divorce come down to how mediation and negotiation play out. Barring that, the temperament of a judge in an in-court divorce proceeding.
This article provides the broad strokes to look out for when making decisions about how to proceed. Whenever you need legal advice, look to our lists of lawyers near you that can help.
Divorce is a significant decision that you should approach with utmost care. Its impact will last a lifetime and will affect not just you and your former spouse, but your families as well. For young children and adolescents, the divorce of their parents can be confusing and sad at the very least and traumatic at worst. This is why you should absolutely seek reliable legal representation in handling your case. The process can be stressful, not to mention uncomfortable. So you need all the help you can get to ensure you’re getting the best possible outcome.
Research is an important step in finding a divorce lawyer. The internet is a huge help in identifying legal services and their benefits. If you live in Perth, for example, you can type “divorce lawyers Perth” on your search engine to get a list of both individual attorneys and law firms in your location. From there, you can create a list to trim down later on when you’ve made phone calls, asked for opinions, and such. The bottom line is that you should find an attorney who specialises in the unique aspects of your life and who meets your personal preferences at the same time.
Here’s a quick list of questions to ask prospective attorneys to help you make the choice.
1. How long have you (and/or your firm) handled divorce cases?
This is an important question for you to know how experienced the lawyer or the firm is. A follow up question could be how many cases like yours have they handled before.
2. Considering the details of my case, do you think it’s better to settle out of court?
There are times when going to court can’t be avoided. However, most of the time, it’s better to settle things amicably out of court. This is particularly important if there are children in the picture, as a messy divorce can have much more destructive effects on children.
3. Can you help me make arrangements for our children and settle our properties?
If your lawyer can help you with these matters, all the better. This means you have a centralised contact person for all the details.
4. Will you be personally handling my case?
If you are talking to a lawyer who’s part of a firm, it may be that the lawyer you are talking to right now will not be the one assigned to your case. Ask this question from the get-go, especially if you feel like you have good rapport with the first lawyer with whom you’ve discussed your case. A good follow up question is if it’s possible to meet other personnel who will be working on your case, if any.
5. How is your caseload?
This will give you a picture of how much time they can devote to your case.
6. How can I reach you, and what time would be ideal?
Some lawyers may not give you their contact number directly and instead provide that of their firm. Others will only give you a personal email address. If you’re the type of person who prefers to make phone calls then this set-up may not be ideal. Another concern is when your free time to make calls may not match up with that of the person you’re hiring. Make sure that you and your attorney are in sync so you can contact each other without any problems.
7. What are your feelings about my case?
While not necessarily material to the outcome of the divorce, it’s good to know what your attorney’s views are about your case. At the very least, there will be complete honesty between parties.
8. How much will your services cost?
Divorce costs money. That’s the simple truth. It’s important to know how much you’re going to pay in terms of lawyer’s fees.This includes the hourly billing rates and other incidental expenses used to plan your budget. You may also be charged by your lawyer for other things like preparing documents, billable calls and emails, and compensation for associates working on your case. Moreover, you may also want to ask about extra fees if your case goes to court.
Going through a divorce is a harrowing enough experience as it is. Make things a little easier on yourself and your family by getting a competent and trustworthy attorney. Ask these questions when you talk to divorce lawyers to help you choose the best fit.
Getting a divorce is stressful! You have to handle your pain of separation and messed up life, along with caring about legal matters and securing your due rights. So, you hire a lawyer – very well! But let’s admit that while struggling with the havoc of your life, you mess up things with your lawyers on so many levels who is your only saviour at this particular instant. Here is what family lawyer Toronto has to say about the struggles lawyers have to undergo while working on your case:
You Force Things:
Unless your lawyer is planning to work in this field for only a few years, then he might handle your case like a jay-walker. But if this is not the case, which surely isn’t, then you have to believe in your lawyer and stop telling him that he should do its best. A lawyer definitely knows that he needs to work hard and come up with good results to get more cases. So, he always tries to give his best! Your continuous nagging and nudging will only mount his stress, rather than casting any good impact on his capabilities and outcomes of the case.
You Don’t Show Trust:
Why you hire a lawyer? To handle legal matters that you can’t handle on your own, to get the best possible outcomes for your case, and to share your burden with someone. Right? But despite relying on the lawyer, you don’t trust him fully. You don’t let him decide things, don’t take his advice, and keep on showing your disbelief. It is understandable that you can’t trust anyone fully when it is about the biggest matter of your life. But you don’t have any other way out. You have to trust your lawyer because let’s admit that he knows legal things better than you. And believe me, trusting your lawyer will make things easier for you and your lawyer.
You Don’t Come Prepared:
One thing the lawyers hate the most is when you don’t come prepared. Many clients show up when even they haven’t sorted out things in their mind. What they want from the case, they are totally confused. A lawyer is here to help you achieve what you want, not to tell what to achieve. Well, he can give you advice, sure, but you should also have some idea of the situation because it is your life, and you know better about your priorities.
You Don’t Pay on Time:
Once you decide to hire a lawyer and step into his office, you know it is going to cost you. You have to pay the bills and cost of all the legal advice and services you are going to get. But many clients forget this fact once things start progressing.
Some lawyers do provide a free initial consultation, but nobody works for free. Obviously, lawyers also have to pay their bills, which is only possible if and when you will pay them. So, in case, you feel that your lawyer is not working with dedication on your case, then you might need to check out if you have some due bills to pay?
A relationship between a lawyer and a client works with mutual understanding, trust, respect and cooperation. If anyone of them is missing, things might not work as you wish.
Getting a divorce is an emotional rollercoaster – you do not how you should feel whether to be upset, relieved, pained, stressed out, or happy. It is both an easy yet hard decision to make. Easy because you both know that you would not be able to continue with the marriage anymore and live a peaceful life together, but it is hard because you would have to decide who gets what, who lives in your family home, who gets to take care of the children, when will the other spouse be allowed to see the children, and so much factors to consider. You are getting a divorce because you and your spouse could not get along very well anymore. Do not make it worse by going through a messy divorce wherein you would not be able to reach a compromise and just continue to get upset and annoyed with each other. Divorce does not have to be messy, it could be very civilized with a compromise to work out with in the end. You could have a non-messy divorce if you opt to go with divorce mediation services that would help you in every step of the way during this stressful time in your life.
Both Sides will be Heard
With mediation, both you and your spouse would be able to air out your concerns and perspectives with regards to the divorce. A mediator will be present throughout the sessions to listen to both spouses so that each side would be properly accounted for. Unlike with having separate divorce lawyers wherein each would only represent the benefit of their client, mediators have the benefit of the common good in mind. Meaning to say, not only will the mediator attempt at a compromise that is best for each of the spouses, but more importantly, the compromise should involve the benefit of the children involved in the divorce as well. In most divorce cases with separate lawyers for each spouse, one gets better benefits out of the divorce compared to the other. With mediation, you would be able to have more or less equal benefits. This is especially good if you are going through a civilized divorce without any ill feelings toward each other.
Having separate divorce lawyers mean having to take into consideration four different schedules to match in order for each spouse to set a meeting with each of their lawyers present. As a couple going through a divorce, of course you would want to expedite the process immediately so that you could both go on your separate ways already. With divorce mediation, it would be a lot faster to reach settlements and agreements, because you and your spouse could set-up the meetings with your mediator in advance. Unlike with other divorce lawyers who still has different clients to meet with as well and could not give you 100% of their time most of the time, the process of divorce could take a longer time.
Peaceful and Confidential Settlements
Mediators prioritize peace when it comes to negotiations and settlements. It is a good way for each of the spouses to let out steam and annoyances with each other yes, but at the end of the day, a peaceful settlement should be reached through the compromise of both parties. A great thing about divorce mediation is that you would be able to say everything you want to say about your soon to end marriage, all of the things that get you upset and stressed, and of course what you want out of the whole divorce. Whatever you say about yourself and your spouse would remain to be confidential to the three of you with the mediator. The mediator would be responsible in thinking of a compromise that would benefit each spouse in a fair manner so that each of you would be able to get the best out of the divorce. Not to mention that the children would be the top priority in the negotiations and settlements. There is nothing a mediator would want more than to make sure that the children going through the divorce of their parents would be in good hands after everything has been settled.
The Greater Good is Always the Future
It does not matter whether you and your spouse fought so much in the past, it does not matter if who hit who or if someone left without good reason. The mediator will always consider to give the future of the divorced family the best for the greater good. This most especially includes the children. Spouses get equal ground in mediation, so it does not matter whether one has been a worse spouse to the other. What matters is that the settlement that each of the spouses would reach to should benefit the greater good of the family.
Most people think that an amicable divorce, one in which the two parties have no legal representation for divorce and settle everything on their own, is impossible to achieve!
There will always be something to upset your former partner, which is what most of us would think if we had to negotiate our divorce without the help of an attorney. Moreover, most people will also think that, during such negotiations, there’s a higher chance of an unfavorable agreement.
Still, the question remains, can you possibly negotiate your divorce without the help of an attorney? If so, how? Well, keep on reading if you want to see the answers!
Negotiating Your Divorce
As you may have guessed, it’s possible for you to negotiate your divorce without an attorney. All you need to make sure that it goes well, is to ensure that both parties, you and your former partner, are in full agreement and understand the terms of the agreement.
Naturally, there are also some things that you must take into account if you want to end with a favorable agreement and without any disputes that would eventually call for an attorney.
- Understanding Your Finances
Obviously, before talking about what you own and owe to each other, you must understand your finances in order to properly negotiate them. You don’t want to start talking about finances if you have no idea what your financial situation is.
All you want to do is avoid a bad deal. In this respect, you may rely on the help of a financial advisor to help you understand your finances and what you would need from your former partner.
- Understanding What the Law Allows and Requires You to Do
Naturally, this aspect mostly refers to your children. The judges care about them, and both of you will have to comply with the laws of your state regarding children. You will also have to come up with a parenting schedule that will allow both parents to spend time and build a relationship with their children.
- Know What You Want and What You Need
To come up with what you really want, you can write those things down and rank them in the order of their importance. Keep in mind that you will not get everything that you want, but you will still be able to negotiate so that you get what’s important to you.
In terms of what you need, you must have a balance and budget sheet ready with you. You will also need to know how much you two earn, what you have, as well as what you owe each other. For example, having an income, being able to live decently, and paying your bills is a need and must not be treated as a want.
As you can see, it is possible to negotiate your divorce without an attorney. Doing so can help you save a lot of money and time and, overall, get it done much faster and easier.
However, if the two of you have a hard time reaching an agreement or common grounds, it is better to just let an attorney handle all this. If you cannot cooperate in this scenario, you will likely end up with a poorly-negotiated divorce and some things that you’ll regret.
You hoped that you’d be able to handle your divorce amicably, but now, you’re starting to doubt that the process will go smoothly.
Perhaps you’ve even been wrongly accused of child abuse, spousal abuse, or even of having an extramarital affair by your ex, and need to have an attorney on your side.
Maybe you’re just hoping that hiring a divorce lawyer will expedite the process.
No matter your situation, you need to know how to find a divorce lawyer you can count on.
Read on to learn what to look for in a good divorce attorney.
1. Evaluate Your Options
The first step in how to find a divorce lawyer?
Make sure they’re qualified to help you with the specific kind of divorce you’re seeking.
Are you planning to settle out of court or do you know you’ll head to trial? Are you interested in mediation or collaborative divorce? Is the divorce contested or uncontested?
For more about the kinds of divorce proceedings available, check out this site.
Keep in mind that if your ex has already lawyered up, now is absolutely the time for you to do the same.
2. Get to Know Their Experience Level
Yes, of course, you should ask and verify their credentials regarding where they went to law school and the validity of their state license.
However, experience is about much more than how many clients they’ve worked with and how long they’ve been in practice.
In understanding how to choose a divorce lawyer, you also need to know their experience with cases similar to your own.
If you’re seeking alimony, ask about the payments they’ve been able to secure for their past clients. If you feel the custody battle for children could get nasty, ask them how many times they’ve helped clients win custody.
What about their experience with division of assets, homeownership, and even handling threats against your character? Look for divorce lawyers that have fought similar battles on behalf of clients before.
3. Meet Them in Person
The best way for you to know how to find a good divorce lawyer is to meet them for a consultation. (If they attempt to charge you for an initial consultation, it’s a red flag.)
This will allow you to evaluate if you share similar communication styles, get in-person answers regarding the specifics of your case, and allow you to see how well they think on their feet.
Now is also the time to get the projected cost of their services and payment plan in writing so that you both can protect yourselves.
You can also begin the process of filing for divorce in their office immediately if you feel like it’s a good fit.
Learning How to Find a Divorce Lawyer Is Simple
While we know the process of divorce is hard, we hope this post has proved that understanding how to find a divorce lawyer doesn’t have to be.
Need more advice about how to file for divorce? Ready to study up on past famous divorce cases for inspiration?
Our blog has the advice — and news — that you need for all things related to the law. Bookmark our page for further reading.
Your divorce petition has been filed, and immediately, you feel as though a heavy load has been lifted from your shoulders. Finally, you can bid adieu to your spouse and get on with your life.
But not so fast.
As you navigate the divorce process — an experience that 40-50% of married couples in the United States have — you’ll have to deal with the issue of property division.
Unfortunately, property distribution is a divorce matter that often causes conflict no matter what a couple’s net worth is. Fortunately, the more you understand this complex process early on, the more effectively you can protect your rights as you proceed through it.
Here’s a rundown on what you need to know about divorce and splitting assets where you live.
Let’s jump in!
If you live in one of the following states, your asset distribution process will be governed by the community property principle:
- New Mexico
In these states, any property that you and your spouse managed to accumulate during your marriage is considered to be community property. That means all of this property must be split 50/50 during your divorce.
This property may include real estate, retirement earnings, and income, for example.
Meanwhile, any separate property — property that you both acquired before getting married — does not have to be divided. This property may include, for example, an inheritance or a personal injury award.
If you don’t live in the abovementioned states, you’re a part of the majority of American couples who must follow the equitable distribution principle during the divorce process.
With equitable distribution, any property that you and your spouse amassed while married will be split based on a variety of factors. These factors may include the following, for example:
- Both parties’ monetary contributions to the marital union
- Both parties’ non-monetary contributions to the marital union
- How long your marriage lasted
- Your and your spouse’s overall health
- Both parties’ educational levels
- Each person’s earning capacity following the divorce
- How asset distribution will affect both parties’ tax liabilities
- Your standard of living during the marriage
Note that with equitable division, your marital assets may not necessarily be split down the middle. Instead, you may end up receiving 60% of the assets, whereas your spouse will receive 40% of the assets.
A judge will ultimately determine the fairest, or “equitable,” way of splitting your shared assets based on the many factors listed above.
However, divorce lawyers can help you to fight for the maximum amount of assets to which you are entitled considering your unique circumstances.
How We Can Help with Divorce and Splitting Assets
In addition to highlighting how divorce and splitting assets work, we make it easy for you to find the right lawyer for your divorce case.
On our site, you can search through our directory of hundreds of law firms to pinpoint the one who best meets your needs.
Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can simplify your attorney search and thus approach your divorce proceeding with confidence.