Divorces are traumatic experiences for most people. If there are children of the marriage, divorces are even more stressful. There are normally many issues that must be resolved in addition to the divorce. These extra issues include property division and alimony. For kids, child custody and child support issues must be resolved.
One of the many reasons to speak with an experienced family lawyer is to calm your nerves. A skilled family attorney understands the emotions and anxiety spouses have. He’ll answer your questions and guide you through each phase of the divorce process. It is wise to consult with a divorce lawyer who has extensive experience negotiating divorce settlements and trying cases in court.
Once you’ve selected a lawyer, the attorney will normally advise you what to bring to the initial interview and how to prepare for the initial interview. If you wait until the appointment date to get ready, then you will likely have to come back for a second interview when you have all the necessary information.
Relevant legal documents
If you entered into a prenuptial agreement, then the lawyer will need to review that agreement. The prenuptial agreement usually addresses how property will be divided in the event of a divorce. It may address other issues such as alimony. The attorney will explain whether you can challenge any parts of the agreement or the full agreement. Some issues like child support and child custody may depend on current circumstances and what’s best for the child – despite the wording of the prenuptial agreement.
Other possible legal documents could include any prior divorce decrees, any open orders if you were separated, and any abuse orders.
Relevant financial information
The sooner you understand your financial needs and your spouse’s full financial situation, the sooner you can discuss property division, alimony, and child support. Some items should be in your control. Some other items, like the value of your spouse’s interests, will take work to discover. Be prepared to discuss the following with your lawyer at the first session:
- Your current ability to earn a living. How much do you earn? What are your benefits such as health insurance? What degrees do you have? What’s your prior job history? What’s your education? How much did you make in taxes?
- The value of your marital property. You and your lawyer will review the value of your home and any mortgages against the home. You should know the amounts in your bank accounts and the value of any stocks. The lawyer will need to know a ballpark worth of your personal property including vehicles. The type and amount of any business interests will be reviewed. As much as possible, you should know what assets you and your spouse accumulated during the marriage, where they are, how they are titled, and what their worth is. This is usually just the starting point. The lawyer will have a lot of advice on how to fully determine the property value issues.
- The financial needs of your children. Do they have any special requirements such as private school tuition or health needs? How much does day care cost?
Your goals and desires during and after the divorce
The family lawyer will help you understand what life may be like after the divorce. He’ll discuss whether you want to keep the marital home or want to move. He should review how well you can live separately financially after the divorce. The family lawyer will discuss your work goals especially if you didn’t work or don’t have the same ability to earn a living as your spouse. What are your priorities? What things do you really want and want things can you live without if you need to?
The attorney will discuss what type of child custody arrangement you think is best for your children. The attorney will explain how legal custody differs from physical custody.
You should also understand your personal goals. Divorces can take time to resolve. Are you financially and emotionally ready for the contest? Are you amenable to trying to solve your divorce issues through intermediaries such as mediators? Do you have a relationship with another person now? How soon before you think you’d like to start a new relationship?
You’ll need to provide a lot of standard information such as the date of your marriage, the days your children were born, any prior divorces, who can take care of children while you’re away, and other personal issues.
Experienced divorce lawyers are more than just advocates for your rights. They are counselors who help you get through this difficult transition in your life. The Law Offices of Adrian H. Altshuler are ready and able to support your needs at every step of your divorce. To speak with an experienced divorce lawyer in Franklin, Columbia or Brentwood, please call 615-977-9370 or fill out the contact form.