Contemplating a divorce can be very stressful. The last thing most people want to do during one of the most difficult times of their lives is talk to a stranger. A stranger they have to disclose the issues of their marriage and their finances too.
However, a good consultation with an experienced dissolution attorney will likely minimize the stress.
1. Lay Out the Facts
Few people know much about divorces, other than what they see on television or the stories they hear from friends. An experienced attorney can lay out the facts and what is most important.
Consultations, for any type of legal for that matter, can serve multiple purposes. Some people are not in the position to move forward with a divorce, but want to know:
- Their rights
- The outcome if they or their spouse moved forward with a divorce
- The impact that would have on their family, finances, and overall future
Many people consult with an attorney before they are seriously considering a divorce. Remember, your consulting attorney will keep everything you say, including your name and address, strictly confidential. You shouldn’t be afraid to speak openly with them.
2. Decide if You Want to Move Forward
A consultation does not force you to retain the attorney. It doesn’t mean you must move forward with the divorce or other proceedings.
Your consulting attorney may ask you about counseling and may even provide you with a name or two of reputable counselors in your area.
3. Bring Financial Documents
Your consulting attorney may ask you to bring certain financial documents with you to your consultation including your most recent paystub and any financial statements you may have.
The lawyer may address the statutes and case law that control finances in the context of a divorce. Your income information will help your consulting attorney give you a better understanding of what you can reasonably expect moving forward.
4. Discuss all the Scenarios
It’s helpful to ask about worst case/best case scenarios. Some attorneys set unreasonable expectations at the first consultation, just to get the client to retain.
Be careful of this. Just because a lawyer promises you the world does not mean they can deliver. So much depends on the unknown including your spouse’s position, their attorney, the reasonableness of your position and the discretion of the court are just a few variable factors.
5. Follow the Advice
Follow the advice of your consulting attorney. It’s easy to let your emotions think for you, but remember, your consulting attorney knows all about the potential ramifications of your actions, as well as the benefits.
6. Know Your Legal Rights
In the end, it’s important to know only you can decide to file for divorce. Knowing the following can help you decide if divorce is your best options.
- Legal rights
- Potential obligations