Negosentro | How to Prepare for the Initial Consultation with a Divorce Attorney | Preparing for a divorce can become a severe and stressful stage in a married couple’s life. The good news is that attorneys are available to walk the couple through the steps and the entire process. The initial meeting is called the consultation, where the potential clients bring forth their information, questions, and reasons for divorce.
Most attorneys do not charge for these meetings, and the decision is mutual by the end of the session if the potential client wishes to proceed with the attorney’s guidance and service. Even though the initial consultation is free, it is essential not to waste each other’s time and go in prepared to gather as much information as possible.
Research and Gain Knowledge
Researching is critical to preparing for the first meeting with an attorney. Know your situation and circumstances before consulting with an attorney. Many states have “No-Fault” grounds for divorce, which means there does not have to be a reason to obtain a divorce, and nothing has to be proven in court.
Here are some things to research that will help you with the initial meeting with the divorce attorney:
- Come up with a list of questions.
- Take down all the information leading to the divorce (even though there is a “no-fault” stipulation).
- Know your assets and income together and separate
- Go through all of your financial statuses, debts, and all.
- Know what you want from the divorce, child custody, child support, alimony, and anything else you feel you are entitled to from the marriage.
Have Your List of Questions Ready
The entire point of the initial consultation is to gain knowledge about what to expect in a divorce case and to understand the procedure from the attorney’s point of view.
Having an attorney/client relationship is critical to winning the case. The attorney is also looking if the case is worth taking on should the battle go as far as the courts. Here is a list of questions you should know, and it will help you determine if this is the right attorney to handle your case:
- Ask about the attorney’s track record (win and lost cases) and background in education.
- Find out the experience in the field they have trained in, how many years, good or bad experiences, and if they handle other types of cases.
- Discuss the process and how the attorney will handle and win your case.
- Ask the attorney’s opinion if the case is settled out of court if both parties agree on the divorce.
- What are the odds of going to court?
- Ask them about splitting community property.
- Find out about the attorney fees and court costs.
- Are you owed alimony or child support?
- Learn all you can think about child custody in the consultation.
- What happens if the ex fails their duties concerning alimony and child support?
These are the basics of what to ask and what will determine the case’s outcome. Once the client and attorney are on the same page, the contract agreement is drawn up, and the divorce attorney becomes the advocate for the client.
Have Your Notebook Ready
Even though there is a “no-fault” stipulation, sometimes there are open and shut cases. For example, taking notes and documenting everything from some time before the divorce was an option; it would explain the circumstances of the marriage and why a divorce was required. Most open and shut cases include:
- Spousal abuse, either physical or mental
- Drug Use
Total Up Your Assets
As we all know, everything in marriage at the time of a divorce becomes community property and is divided 50/50. Anything that belongs to each party before the marriage is theirs, but items like homes, boats, vehicles, property, bank accounts, and any item that has a value obtained within the marriage is the items that need adding up.
Sometimes one spouse may forfeit their share and give it to the other spouse. These are the easiest to figure out. However, it doesn’t always work out that way. Most end up splitting the assets and going their way after the divorce to start a new life. This portion takes up most of the time determining who gets what.
Other times, an agreement is not obtainable, and all items are sold, and the amount is split accordingly. Having all this information during the free consultation is best, so the attorney can review everything.
Financial Status and Debts
All finances and debts are settled before the property or money is split. All debts obtained within the marriage are resolved before a judgment is final. The attorney will look at all this information and use it to total up the most likely outcome of dividing the community property.
Alimony and Child Support
When a divorce occurs with children involved, the children are the priority. The options are joint custody, which gives each parent an agreed amount of time that works best for the parent’s work schedule and the child. If both agree, this is the best option for the child. However, one parent will be the domicile parent with whom the child will reside. The other will have to see that the child is financially cared for, which calls for child support payments.
The court determines child support payments according to the parent’s income, which will pay the money to the domicile parent to care for the child or children. It must cover food, clothes, education, and any sports or other events that the child partakes.
Alimony is another issue that needs discussion should the spouse need financial support. Alimony is an option if the domicile parent is busy taking care of the child and cannot find the time for work to bring in the required income. Again, the courts will decide the amount paid in alimony.
Hiring a Professional Divorce Attorney
Finding the most professional Indianapolis divorce lawyer has to offer is critical to winning a divorce case. Having all the information needed before the consultation can save time, and it can also be the difference in the outcome.