Getting a divorce is a big decision, and while many people hope that the process will go smoothly, that may not be the case. Emotions will run high and it could become overwhelming, which is why you’ll need an experienced divorce attorney to support you and to be your voice of reason during that time. Here is everything you need to know about preparing for a divorce and what to look for in a good divorce lawyer.
Know What You Want
Before you reach out to a divorce lawyer, you should know what you want from your divorce and decide what is a priority and what isn’t. If you and your partner signed a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, this will make divorce proceedings easier. You should think about money, and whether you want to request alimony or child support. You’ll need to think about the assets you share and how you want them divided. If you have children, you should know whether you want full custody or joint custody, and you’ll need to decide which of you will be keeping the pets.
During your divorce, you’ll need to prepare for equitable distribution of your assets. You’ll need to provide your lawyer with a list of matrimonial assets and non-matrimonial assets, including real estate, vehicles, and personal belongings. If you and your spouse own a business, you’ll need tax and financial information and a list of business assets. You’ll need information on your or your spouse’s inherited money or property and any debt either of you has incurred. You should gather legal documents, such as your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, your marriage certificate, birth certificate, pension documents, tax returns, insurance policies, wills, and house and car deeds. When you get a divorce lawyer, they’ll advise you about any other documents you may need.
Know What Kind of Lawyer You Need
The kind of divorce lawyer you will need will depend on the circumstances surrounding your divorce. If you and your spouse are divorcing amicably, you may only need a mediator—at which point, you won’t need to hire a divorce lawyer. If you want a collaborative divorce, you and your spouse will each need a lawyer and the four of you will work things out without going to court. However, if you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement or if there are complications (such as children or property), you may need a litigation attorney and your case will go to court. Litigation is common if one party is a domestic abuser or drug user, or if one spouse is not cooperating during the collaborative process.
Recommendations and Research
Turn to your divorced friends and family for recommendations on divorce lawyers. Ask what they thought of theirs and whether they would be willing to provide you with their contact information. Those who have been through a divorce will have a lot to stay about their lawyer and whether they were professional and had their best interests at heart. If they can’t help you, your next step should be researching divorce lawyers yourself, creating a small list of the ones you like, and looking at their reviews online.
Unfortunately, divorces aren’t cheap, and you’ll need to take into consideration the legal fees, consultation fees, and lawyer costs. You need to think about how much you’re willing to spend on your divorce. Some lawyers charge an hourly rate, which adds up over time, especially if the divorce is being dragged out or if it goes to court. A cheaper option would be getting a flat fee divorce lawyer in San Diego, CA. By paying a flat rate, you’ll know exactly how much things will cost and you won’t be surprised an any unexpected fees.
You should be looking for lawyers who practice family law and who specialise in divorce. There are several types of divorce lawyers, and you should know which type you need before you proceed with hiring them. Some divorce lawyers specialise in grey divorce and others will specialise in high-net-worth divorce cases, domestic violence, military divorce, or child custody. The lawyer you choose should be knowledgeable and have all the necessary qualifications. You can find out more information about them by looking up their state bar association information online.
Before you proceed with hiring a divorce lawyer, you should ask prospective lawyers for a consultation so you can ask questions. You should start by asking how much it will cost, how the fees are payable, and how many people will be working on your case. You may have already looked them up online, but you should ask them about their prior experience and how they handled certain situations. If you don’t know about the divorce process, ask them to walk you through it and ask how long they think your divorce will take. You should also ask them how you will keep in touch. You should ask if the lawyer knows your spouse or their lawyer (if they already have one). If they do, then you’ll want to search for a different divorce lawyer. You’ll be asked some basic questions about your divorce during the initial consultation, so you’ll need to be prepared for that.
The Qualities of a Good Divorce Lawyer
You will be sharing all kinds of personal information with your divorce lawyer, so you need to be sure that the one you hire is trustworthy and honest. This is the person who will be helping you to navigate the legal system and initiate divorce proceedings, so they’ll need to have your best interests at heart. You’ll need someone on your side who will negotiate on your behalf and protect your rights. You don’t want a lawyer who will sugar-coat things and leave you feeling let down and disappointed with the outcome of your divorce. You’ll need someone who can provide you with realistic expectations, explain things clearly, and be transparent in regards to how things are going. You should feel comfortable to be around the divorce lawyer you choose and they should be confident in their ability to assist you.
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