Questions To Ask A Divorce Lawyer
When beginning the divorce process, take the time to prepare a list of questions before your first consultation with a potential lawyer. Coming prepared will save you time and money. Ask yourself what it is you would like to know going into this journey. Ask an experienced divorce lawyer in Colorado Springs what they need to know and how you can help. To help you through your first meeting, we have comprised a list of common questions to ask a divorce lawyer. Feel free to adapt these to your situation or add more. You want to ensure you leave your initial consultation feeling certain you have chosen a supportive and knowledgeable divorce attorney.
What Do You Need to Know from Me?
When meeting with a divorce attorney, it’s important to present only the pertinent information. Because you and your spouse have an intimate and likely complicated history, you may have details and stories that are crucial to you, but not actually crucial to your case. The question, “What do you need to know from me?” will help you sift through your personal feelings in order to get to the facts. This initial question will open the door for the lawyer to ask specific questions that will provide them with the backstory and information they need.
How Can I Make This Divorce Less Expensive?
The cost of divorce can be very pricey in certain cases. Generally, the longer the divorce process takes and the more often lawyers have to get involved, the more expensive the separation will be. Simply put an amicable divorce is less expensive than a high-conflict divorce.
The goal of dissolution of marriage is to create a divorce settlement agreement that outlines the responsibilities and legal rights of each partner after separation. The document should include a plan for child custody arrangements, child support, spousal maintenance, and property division. If you have little community property and no children, your divorce will be quicker and cheaper than someone with lots of community property and minor children. Likewise, an uncontested divorce is less expensive than a difficult divorce.
Although, neither you nor your lawyer can predict how each of these steps may go, your divorce attorney will be able to give you an estimate of the general length of time it takes to complete these processes. Are you entering a collaborative divorce or a contested divorce? Do you already have an idea of your desired outcome? Do you have all of your financial documents in order?
A good lawyer will also provide clients with sage advice on how to avoid and navigate common issues that may arise. The ability to maintain amicable communication between you and your spouse will be crucial to controlling your divorce cost.
Lastly, don’t forget to ask your lawyer about their fee structure when it comes to cost. What are their retainer fees? What is the cost of filing fees? Do you charge for phone calls? What is the estimate in price difference for settling out of court versus going to trial? Don’t feel awkward about asking money questions. It’s better to have one awkward conversation than be surprised by hidden fees.
What Can I Expect the Divorce Process to Be Like?
Even in most civil legal separations, divorce can be a difficult experience. You are probably well aware that it will take an emotional and mental toll on you and your family. In order to prepare for the legal proceedings, don’t hesitate to ask your attorney to describe the process for you. Understanding the order of steps and having a general idea of the length of time can reduce stress so you can focus on supporting yourself and your family.
An experienced divorce attorney will outline the general order of steps for the process. First, you will have to file a Petition for Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage, then serve your spouse, the spouse must then respond. After a legal response is received from the spouse, the process of gathering financial information to proceed with the property division will begin. If children are involved, the court may request a temporary child custody order before anything moves forward. After that, you and your spouse have to comprise a settlement agreement that outlines exactly how the property division will be handled and how parenting time will be allocated.
Your potential lawyer will then explain the average amount of time it takes for each step of this process. Your lawyer may also explain the circumstances of mitigation, mediation, and trial. To keep the length of the legal separation short and the cost low, you will want to avoid trial. This means quickly coming to agreements with your spouse. In the instance that you and your spouse cannot reach a compromise, the divorce proceedings will go to trial. At trial, a judge will listen to the position of each spouse, review financial documents, and speak to any children in order to devise a divorce settlement agreement that is fair and equitable to each person. The judge will create a court-ordered plan for any areas you cannot agree on. This could include child support payments, parenting time arrangements, division of property, and/or spousal maintenance.
A knowledgeable divorce attorney will reference similar cases to yours to give you an idea of what the experience will be like. Even the most experienced attorney can only provide estimates for time and details about the documents needed to proceed. No one can give an accurate prediction because so much of the process is based on the spouses’ ability to work together as a team.
When asking about the course of the process, you may also ask your lawyer about their strategy. What issues do they predict about your case? How do they expect to handle it? What tactics do they use to help their clients receive a favorable outcome? A well-versed family court lawyer will have a proven strategy that has worked on cases similar to yours.
What Are My Next Steps After This Meeting?
At the end of your initial consultation, don’t forget to ask this final question. What are my next steps? Your potential attorney will give you a set of instructions on how to move forward. They may request more copies of documents, they may say they will reach out after filing the petition for you, they may arrange a meeting with your spouse, or they may offer legal advice on what to do and what not to do between now and your next consultation.
Although your lawyer will take on the bulk of responsibilities in the legal process, you want to be aware of your role in each step. What are the expectations for communication? Will you and your lawyer speak on a regular basis? Having an understanding of the general flow and cultivating a sense of direction will help alleviate stress during this difficult time.
Schedule a Consultation with Jeanne M. Wilson Today
At The Law Office of Jeanne M. Wilson, we are prepared to answer all of your questions. We are committed to strong relationships with our clients. We offer advice for each step in the process of filing for divorce. Our Colorado Springs family law attorney’s ample experience gives us the knowledge to answer any questions about what to expect on your journey. We handle the technical aspects so you can concentrate on supporting yourself and your family. Our legal team believes you can come out better and stronger on the other side. Contact us today to book your initial divorce consultation.