When Should You Consult A Divorce Lawyer?

May 17, 2021

When Should You Consult A Divorce Lawyer

If you’re contemplating getting a divorce, you might be overwhelmed with the amount of information available to you on the internet. It’s not surprising that in today’s internet-driven world there are thousands of self-help websites, blogs, and legal advice sites available to you.

 But what happens if you get the wrong advice and make mistakes when filing your divorce? Or, what if you can’t interpret state divorce laws and you lose your rights to marital assets in your divorce? Although most states don’t require you to hire a family law lawyer, sometimes the best way to protect your interests is to consult a divorce lawyer. At Brighter Day℠ Law, our experienced divorce attorneys can help you get the best outcome. To schedule a consultation, contact our Colorado Springs family law firm in Colorado Springs today at 719-733-9129

Can I Negotiate My Divorce Without a Divorce Attorney?

While divorce is one of the most complicated and emotional legal processes in family law, not all spouses require in-depth legal help to end their marriage. If you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse are on the same page about what you want for your children and family, you can negotiate a divorce settlement on your own.

When you and your partner decide to divorce, if you can communicate, discuss your ideal outcomes for child custody, child support, parenting time, division of property, and alimony. It’s not surprising that children fare much better after a divorce if their parents can continue to build a solid relationship with the child and each other.

If you find that you and your spouse are on the same page and are both willing to put your marital agreement in writing, you can save time and money by not hiring an experienced attorney to go to trial for your divorce case.

However, even the most agreeable couples can face challenges during the settlement process, so be ready to consider mediation and/or hire a qualified family law attorney if that happens.

If you think you made a terrible deal or agreed to something you didn’t understand, your only course of action is to go back to court and change your final divorce order. However, it’s imperative to note that undoing a divorce agreement is a daunting task. 

Another thing you must consider is hiring an experienced divorce lawyer who can review your proposed divorce settlement before you sign it. It’s essential to note that when you agree to the terms of your divorce, and a family court judge signs your agreement, you’ll be bound by that agreement and court order.

When Should I Contact a Divorce Lawyer?

There are certain scenarios where you should always hire an experienced divorce lawyer. If there’s a history of child abuse, domestic abuse, sexual abuse, or substance abuse, hiring a qualified divorce lawyer is the best option to protect your rights. When there’s a power imbalance and/or violence between spouses, a fair negotiation is impossible.

If your spouse hires a family law attorney, you must do the same. Although you may feel you can represent yourself during your divorce, when one side has hired an experienced divorce attorney and the other doesn’t, this often results in the unrepresented party walking away without an unfair deal. Thus, do yourself a favor and hire a divorce attorney to level the playing field.

While no divorce is pleasant, some divorces are outright unbearable, especially if the other party is hiding assets, wasting marital funds, destroying marital property, or threatening you with physical abuse for filing for divorce.

If you and your spouse can’t agree on divorce terms, hiring a qualified divorce attorney to represent you might be the best option. Not only will the divorce attorney advocate for your rights throughout the divorce, but also you’ll feel some relief from the stress of your divorce knowing that you have a divorce professional in your corner.

Related: What Should I do Before Filing for Divorce in Colorado?

What Should You Not Do During a divorce?

 Here are some things you should avoid doing while you’re going through a divorce:

Don’t Ignore the Possibility of Mediation or Collaborative Divorce

In an uncontested divorce, you can get the help of divorce professionals to manage emotional stress and divide marital property. Although critics of collaborative divorce believe that divorce attorneys, divorce coaches, and therapists who engage in collaborative divorce aren’t really experts, and cost too much money and time.

But collaborative divorce is typically more cooperative and less adversarial than traditional divorce. Mediation is different; only a divorce mediator helps you and your spouse reach an agreement. Mediation is an ongoing process rather than a one-time intervention. Although divorce lawyers aren’t allowed into mediation sessions, you can consult a family law lawyer at any time during the mediation process to make sure you’re getting the right result.

Don’t Forget About Taxes

Typically, the party who is awarded custody of the kids gets the marital house. But the house might not be the best deal. Because if you can’t afford the mortgage, upkeep, and taxes on the house, you’re better off asking for the investment portfolio of equal value instead. However, it’s to remember that single people aren’t allowed to shelter as many capital gains from taxes. Also, stocks can be an issue. Thus, it’s wise to ask for newly purchased stocks because they’ll cost you less in capital gains taxes.

Don’t Settle Too Quickly

Just because you want to get out of your marriage as quickly as possible doesn’t mean you should let go of your financial security. Make multiple copies of all the important financial documents, such as tax forms, pension statements, credit card statements, brokerage and mutual fund statements, and other paperwork.

This will help to know what you own and even what you owe. Ensure that you and the children will continue to enjoy health insurance coverage during and after the divorce proceedings.

While you’re still married to your partner, an accident or illness can change how property is divided. If you and your spouse can reach an amicable agreement on your own, you can file for what’s an uncontested divorce. If this isn’t possible, hire a professional mediator or a divorce attorney.

If you choose to seek legal counsel, remember to bring a balance sheet listing your family’s assets and debts, an accounting sheet of your expenses and income, and your tax return, to the first meeting with your divorce lawyer. 

Don’t Increase Your Debt

Divorce is costly. Apart from attorney’s fees, you’ll need funds to set up a new household. Though it might be challenging to make ends meet, you must get used to having less now. Don’t forget that your court costs and legal bills may come due before you receive your share of marital property or the first payment of spousal support. While it might seem daunting, the freedom you’ll enjoy down the line is worth the struggle.

What Is A Cooperative Divorce?

The divorce process that many are familiar with is the traditional divorce, which is an adversarial process. Most divorce cases are resolved by a negotiated agreement between the divorcing parties; however, if parties can’t reach a settlement agreement in family law issues using the traditional divorce, then the divorcing spouses must go to family law court and present their cases before a family court judge, who hopefully will rule in favor of their desired outcome.

Litigation is appropriate in many divorce cases, but it’s not always the ideal option for all couples seeking a divorce. A cooperative divorce could be a better legal option for spouses with no contentious issues and there is a mutual agreement to leave the marriage as amicably as possible while maintaining fairness.

If you and your spouse are contemplating getting a collaborative divorce, it’s essential to hire a collaborative divorce lawyer to protect your rights and interests. At Brighter Day℠ Law, our Colorado Springs Collaborative divorce lawyers have helped thousands of couples get the outcome they desire and we can help you, too. To schedule a consultation, contact our family law firm in Colorado Springs today at 719-733-9129.

What is a Collaborative Law Divorce in Colorado?

In a collaborative law divorce, the divorcing spouses will each hire their own collaborative divorce attorney. Each spouse will meet one-on-one with their divorce attorney to discuss what they would like to achieve in the divorce settlement with the minimum acceptable outcome.

Both spouses and their family law attorneys will sign a “Participation Agreement,” where each party involved commits to the collaborative divorce process, which usually comprises the following clauses:

  • The spouses will take part in the divorce process in good faith and to exchange information openly and freely,  
  • The Participation Agreement will bind the cooperative divorce attorneys from withdrawing from representing their clients,
  • Both spouses will  maintain the status quo concerning any minor children in the marriage and marital assets during the negotiation process, unless mutually agreed otherwise,
  • The parties will set conditions through which the collaborative divorce process can be terminated without a settlement agreement. 

Related: Questions to Ask a Divorce Lawyer

Once the Participation Agreement is executed, a series of meetings between both spouses and their collaborative divorce attorneys will take place to negotiate issues of spousal maintenance, child support, child custody, and asset division. The parties will hire neutral experts, such as financial advisors, accountants, and behavior experts.  

It’s essential to note that a collaborative divorce differs from mediation. In mediation, the parties hire a third party to bring them together on the terms of their agreement. Although the professional mediator could be brought into the collaborative divorce process when the divorcing parties are having difficulty agreeing on family law issues, collaborative divorces are often carried out between the parties and their divorce attorneys without a mediator.

Once a divorce settlement both spouses reach an agreement, their collaborative divorce attorneys will file the agreement alongside a divorce petition in the right domestic relations court, where it’ll be entered by the family law court with no need for the parties to appear in court.  

What If We Can’t Agree?

A Collaborative Divorce isn’t for everyone. Sometimes, both spouses can’t agree on divorce terms. Here, the cooperative divorce process can be ended. Once the collaborative divorce process is terminated, both spouses can move forward using the traditional method. However, they can’t move forward with the traditional method using the collaborative attorneys or experts who were involved in the collaborative process.

By deciding to end the collaborative divorce process and move forward with the traditional divorce, both spouses agree to:

  • Hire new legal representation. Collaborative divorce attorneys can’t represent the spouses in any future traditional adversarial or litigation, and
  • End case work. In family law court, you and your spouse can’t use the work or evidence that was gathered in the collaborative divorce process.

For those couples who like the idea of eliminating conflict but without the risk of having to hire new family law lawyers and starting the divorce process over again, consider the Cooperative Divorce dispute resolution approach.

Related: How to Prepare for Divorce

Is Collaborative Divorce Right for Us?

If collaborative divorce is right for you and your spouse depends on your ability to work together, each party’s opinion on the process, and your willingness to negotiate. The divorcing parties can file for a contested divorce if they can’t communicate or have a history of domestic abuse. A contested divorce focuses on what each party is entitled to by Colorado divorce law.

However, if you’re both ready to set aside your differences and discuss your divorce amicably, you may save money and time using the collaborative process.

Divorce is stressful and messy, and both parties may experience intense feelings throughout the process of ending their relationship. It’s unlikely that both parties will leave the process feeling like they got everything they wanted. However, a cooperative divorce process divorce enables the couple to have the power to decide how to proceed with the critical divorce issues without third-party intervention.

Contact Our Colorado Springs Divorce Attorneys Today to Schedule a Consultation!

If divorce is an option in your marriage, no matter who wants to file first between you or your spouse now is the time to call our skilled Colorado Springs divorce attorneys. At Brighter Day℠ Law, we know the challenges you may face and can offer the legal advice you need.

We will support you every step of the way during the divorce process and help you secure the fair outcome you need. Call our Colorado Springs family law firm today at 719-733-9129 or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled divorce attorneys.

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