Ask Your Divorce Lawyer These 5 Questions During Your First Meeting
In this little article, we want to discuss a sensitive yet essential issue – choosing a good divorce lawyer. Suppose you are planning on getting divorced or have already started divorce proceedings with your spouse. In that case, you must find the best attorney who can give excellent legal assistance and support in everything related to family law.
When you prepare to meet with a divorce lawyer for the first time, it is not uncommon to feel intimidated and uncertain. In your first meeting, here are 5 questions to ask your divorce lawyer to learn more about the divorce process and what to expect.
Some Questions You Should Ask Your Divorce Attorney
1. What Information Do You Need From Me?
Clients often experience difficulty in starting their story when meeting with a divorce lawyer for the first time. One or two hours are rarely enough to cover years of history. This is a process that you should let a lawyer handle. By gathering this information, the divorce lawyer can assist you in answering your questions. Listed below are some topics for discussion.
2. How Can I Make The Divorce Less Expensive?
Clients are understandably concerned about the financial costs of divorce. The cost of your divorce will depend on several factors, including how complicated your case is, whether custody of the children will be contested, and how well you cooperate with your spouse throughout the process.
Clients understandably worry about the financial cost of a divorce. If you and your spouse agree on how the money will be handled and how the children will split the parents while the divorce is pending, there will be fewer issues requiring expensive hearings and other legal work. You can discuss more efficient ways to settle your case with your lawyer, and you and your spouse’s ability to compromise will make a settlement more likely and the caseless expensive. Generally, the less time that divorce lawyers spend on resolving issues between you and your spouse, the less you will have to pay in legal fees. Thus, relying on friends and family for emotional support may be better than paying a lawyer. You can discuss potential strategies to manage the cost of divorce during your first meeting with a lawyer. Ultimately, the cost will be affected by your spouse and his or her lawyer as well as you and your lawyer.
3. What Can I Expect From The Divorce Process?
Even in the best of circumstances, divorce is difficult. Every divorce is unique, and the duration and difficulty of the process will depend on the parties’ issues and the level of cooperation between them. The method of divorce is generally the same. Divorce involves filing for divorce, serving or notifying the other party, collecting information, possible temporary orders for child custody, support and managing assets during divorce, and a resolution through either a settlement agreement or a court hearing. You will speak with your divorce lawyer during your initial consultation about this process. Based on your property and child-related issues, he or she can also estimate how complicated and lengthy your case may be.
4. Is There Anything I Should Do After This Meeting?
Your divorce lawyer will ask you to make some decisions at the end of your meeting. Depending on whether their spouse has started the divorce process, some clients will need to hire an attorney right away. Some may not be ready to file for months. Your lawyer will most likely give you a written contract and require a retainer (deposit) for your case. Additionally, your lawyer may need more information from you before filing. Be sure to ask the lawyer what they need from you to prepare for the next steps in your case before you leave the meeting.
5. Describe Yourself To Me
How will your divorce lawyer significantly influence your divorce proceeds? Inquire about your lawyer’s experience with the unique circumstances of your divorce and learn what they will be able to offer you. Moreover, every divorce lawyer has their own philosophy and approach to handling a divorce case. You want to make sure your lawyer is a good fit for you and what you want to accomplish.
Frequently Asked Questions About A Divorce
What happens at the first divorce hearing?
In most cases, a first divorce “hearing” is a hearing on temporary orders. There are times when parties cannot agree on who will live in the house during the pendency of the divorce, what the child custody schedule will be, or how the money will be handled. In order to put temporary orders in place to govern the parties while the case is pending, the court will hold a hearing with evidence from both parties – like a mini-trial. The parties can often reach an agreement on these issues without a hearing, such as who will move out of the marital residence, where the kids will live, how the money will be spent, etc. The judge will decide those critical questions if neither party files a Motion for Temporary Orders. Other issues may be the subject of hearings, such as temporary restraining orders and injunctions, protective orders (in cases involving family violence), disputes about access to financial information, and any other issue that needs to be resolved before a final settlement or trial is held.
Is mediation a better alternative to divorce court?
In most cases, the answer is yes. Mediation is often necessary, and it usually results in a settlement. Preparing for and conducting trials is a costly endeavor, so a settlement saves both parties money. It also gives both parties a sense of ownership over the outcome. There is value in settling a case in a way that eliminates the risk that may be associated with putting contested issues before a judge or jury. Both parties and their divorce lawyers recognize this.
Why would a divorce go to trial?
A divorce must be tried if the parties are unable to settle it through mediation or other means. Despite the fact that most cases are settled outside of court, some are ultimately decided by a judge and/or jury. The judge must decide how property will be divided and what possession schedule the parents will have with the children, but a jury can determine things such as:
- Property classification (whether separate or community),
- Choosing the primary residence of their children,
- The geographical restrictions for a primary parent and whether they can be lifted
- If a common-law marriage is claimed, whether it even exists
Sometimes, one or both parties have unrealistic expectations of what they should receive from a property division. In cases where the other party believes that a judge will treat them better than the other party is willing to do in the settlement, they might prefer spending money on a trial instead and letting a judge decide how to divide the property. In family law cases, where children are involved, the issue of who should be the children’s primary caretaker and how much possession or access each party should have may not be something either party is willing to compromise about. In that case, a judge and/or jury will have to decide. A judge or jury can sometimes decide whether a party can move out of a restricted geographical area since there is rarely a middle ground that can be reached when one party desires to move for a better job or because a new spouse is being transferred. Any time finding a middle ground proves difficult or even impossible, a divorce or modification case (related to children) can end up in court.
How Can Montgomery & Hart Help?
A consultation with a lawyer can provide you with valuable information about what to expect during your divorce. If you are going through a divorce and need a reliable lawyer on your side, please don’t hesitate to call 888-928-0748 or contact one of our divorce attorneys today.