Top 10 Things to Do Before Contacting a Divorce Lawyer
Divorce can be a traumatic emotional experience, and can also leave you facing serious financial strife. If you believe your marriage may be ending, you need to prepare yourself by contacting a divorce attorney. Before you do, however, you need to be prepared. Read on for the top 10 things to do before contacting a divorce lawyer.
- Contact your local city or county bar association to get referrals to lawyers in your area: Bar associations offer online or telephone referrals to qualified divorce attorneys.
- Ask friends and family for referrals: Your friends or family may know someone who has gone through a divorce, or may have gone through a divorce themselves. Ask them if they know any divorce lawyers who they were happy with.
- Check reviews of the attorney you are thinking about contacting: The Better Business Bureau and online review sites may be able to provide you with good reviews or warnings on law firms. You want to make sure the attorney you are working with has a good reputation within the field.
- Assemble as many financial records as you can: The financial settlement and breakdown of assets is a big aspect of a divorce settlement. If you are armed with details about your finances, it will be easier to determine what you may be entitled to in the settlement.
- Get any other evidence together that you need to discuss why your marriage is ending: If one spouse was unfaithful or otherwise did something to end the marriage, it can have an impact on the divorce settlement. If this occurred, gather any information you have to bring to the divorce attorney’s office.
- Obtain a copy of any prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement you may have signed: These agreements can dictate the type of settlement you may be entitled to or may contain other provisions regarding what happens at the dissolution of the marriage. It is a good idea to bring them with you to the divorce attorneys.
- Prepare to talk about the details of your marriage and your hopes for child custody: You will need to have some idea of what type of custody arrangement you want before you go to your attorney. You should also be prepared to discuss why the marriage is ending and how you hope the divorce process will go.
- Bring any legal documents you may have received or signed: If your spouse has already sent you divorce papers or if you signed legal separation papers, you will need to bring these to your attorney so he can determine what you have agreed to or what is being asked of you.
- Save money to pay the retainer of your attorney: A divorce attorney usually charges an hourly fee, although some will charge a flat fee for a simple divorce. When you hire an attorney, you may be asked to pay a retainer, a down payment on the legal fees you are likely to incur.
- Determine whether your spouse has engaged an attorney or plans to do so.- You and your spouse will both have to negotiate together, and it is often easier if you both do so through attorneys.