There are many unknowns surrounding the oftentimes scary, uneasy, and emotional process of going through a divorce. Whether you are considering initiating a divorce – or if you were just served divorce papers – you likely have many concerns and questions. Issues such as property division, parenting schedules, health insurance coverage, financial support, and more must be addressed prior to finalizing a divorce. Each of these issues is nuanced; and it would be unwise to tackle them without trusted, competent legal advice. Here are just a few frequently-asked questions I often receive from clients:
- I am considering filing for divorce, but am very unclear about the process. How do I get started?
- Every divorce is unique; and that it is why it is always advisable to meet with an attorney to discuss your specific situation prior to filing and especially before you agree to anything. The general filing process is relatively straightforward; but there are certain repercussions you may face if you fail to ask the court for certain things very early on. In addition to filing a complaint for divorce, you must file supplemental documents such as a financial statement, a filing fee, and more. Additionally, the court requires parties to a divorce to file specific documents a certain way – both with the court and with the other party. When you speak with your attorney, it is important to honestly and openly discuss your goals regarding property division, parenting issues, and spousal and/or child support. Only then can both you and your attorney agree upon a suitable course of action moving forward.
- My spouse and I want to work together to resolve our divorce as amicably as possible. Do we still need lawyers?
- The fact that you and your spouse wish to settle your divorce amicably is a great start. And, in many cases, parties do find a way to truly work together to protect the children, keep legal fees down, and minimize angst and discord. However, it is always advisable to seek legal counsel before agreeing to a temporary or final divorce settlement. Many issues are complex; and you should fully understand them before signing off on anything. In addition to property division, custody of the children, and financial support, other issues such as health insurance coverage, tax implications, and the retitling of assets also come into play. If you have your own attorney, he or she will keep your interests at the forefront of any divorce matter, and will ensure you know the pros and cons to each aspect of a potential settlement.
- My soon-to-be-ex wants to finalize our divorce as quickly as possible – and so do I. But, how do I make sure I do not give up any rights to which I am entitled?
- The fact that you are asking this question means that you have some concern about your divorce – which you rightly should! Oftentimes, once the decision to divorce is made, both parties want the process to proceed as quickly as possible with little interference from attorneys and the court. However, even if you both are on good terms, things may take an unexpected turn quickly. You may believe you see eye to eye on matters of asset/debt division and custody; but you soon find out that you have very different ideas of what is “fair.” In many cases, it is very difficult to undo final agreements after the fact. And, sometimes, you may be completely out of luck in trying to modify certain provisions of your divorce agreement. In order to best ensure you do not unknowingly or inadvertently waive certain legal rights, it is best to speak with reputable, experienced legal counsel before the process is finalized.