One of the most important factors for surviving a divorce is to research what to expect along the way. From obtaining legal advice to understanding the costs, Before Divorce offers tips and info on how to prepare yourself for this trying process.
Whether you are considering if a divorce is necessary or you have already come to that conclusion and are now looking for information on how to begin the process, you likely have many questions about what lies ahead.
The Before Divorce section is a great place to begin your search for information on what to expect, covering topics such as obtaining legal advice, filing for divorce, predicting the cost and more.
Getting Legal Advice
While it is not required that you retain an attorney when going through a divorce, it is an extremely complicated legal process that will have major ramifications on your future. Trying to navigate a divorce without professional legal guidance immediately puts you at a disadvantage, as unfavorable decisions rendered in the case can be difficult to reverse later on down the road.
For this reason, it is crucial that you obtain expert legal guidance during a divorce — whether it’s getting an attorney to represent you throughout the case or simply seeking legal advice on key issues — to help protect your rights and ensure you are not taken advantage of during the proceedings.
Meeting An Attorney
An initial consultation with a family law attorney can give you key insight on what to expect throughout the divorce process. From an overview of how divorce works in your jurisdiction to professional legal advice based on your unique circumstances, a consultation presents the first glimpse of what lies ahead and is beneficial even if you do not plan on retaining an attorney.
Since the majority of attorneys charge for this meeting, there are several steps you can take to ensure you get the most out of your appointment. Having a list of questions prepared, organizing important financial documents, taking notes throughout the consultation and asking for clarification whenever anything is unclear will create a more productive session.
Filing For Divorce
Once you have determined that you wish to end your marriage, you will need to understand how the filing process for divorce works in your state. In some jurisdictions, there are benefits to filing first while in others it does not really make a difference, so this is one reason it is one area you should bring up during an initial consultation with a divorce attorney.
You will also need to know the various grounds for filing for divorce, the residency requirements for your jurisdiction, what to expect in the way of filing fees, how to officially serve the petition to your spouse, important deadlines, the difference between a contested and uncontested divorce and other state-specific procedural information.
One of the biggest questions that just about anyone considering ending their marriage is going to have is exactly what the total cost of divorce will be. And while this may be one of the most common questions divorcing couples may have, it is also one of the most difficult to give a definitive answer for a variety of reasons.
First of all, everyone couple’s divorce is unique and will involve completely different situations and circumstances. It’s nearly impossible to tell what issues will arise as major roadblocks or areas of contention until the process actually begins. You are also unable to determine each spouse’s willingness to negotiate. Divorces that begin amicably can turn nasty with little warning and vice-versa; however, there are steps you can take to control divorce costs.
It may come as little surprise, but documentation is a critical aspect of divorce, particularly during the beginning stages of the process. Shortly after filing, you will be required to submit a comprehensive financial declaration to the courts that represents a full description of your assets and debts. The more you are able to provide the supporting documentation to an lawyer, the more you will save in attorney fees.
In addition to bank statements, pay stubs, tax returns and other financial documents you will need, documenting other areas of your life could also play a key role throughout the process. Creating a calendar or notebook that contains a journal of your interactions with your children and spouse can help support your custody case and creates a timeline of events should false or inaccurate accusations arise down the line.