The process of seeking a divorce can be very stressful and conflicting. Even people who are happy to get away from a dissenting spouse and move on with their life will find the ordeal of a divorce to be very overwhelming.
When you are going to an initial meeting with your divorce lawyer, you may feel very confused and out of your depth. To make sure you make efficient use of your time with your lawyers, you should prepare some questions in advance to determine whether the lawyer is right for you and what a divorce process entails.
Below are some of the most important questions you need to ask:
How long have you practiced divorce law?
The experience of your attorney matters a lot when it comes to your divorce. There are some cases where the spouses separate amicably and negotiate all the issues among themselves. However, if you are dealing with child custody and a significant amount of property, then we highly recommend you hire an experienced divorce lawyer in Colorado.
You can ask your lawyer how long he has been practicing in the field of marriage and family law, how many cases they have handled, how many of those led to a courtroom trial, and how many were won. It is very important to find out that your lawyer is confident and comfortable in front of a judge.
You should also ask them if someone else will be working on your case, as a junior attorney or paralegal. This is important since you need to know which tasks they will handle and how much each person charges.
How often should we communicate about the case?
Your communication frequency will depend upon how complex your case is. The more challenging the divorce issues, the more communication is needed. Typical divorce cases may require communication one to four times a month. Complex cases, however, may require communication way more times than that.
Ask your lawyer their preferred methods of communication as well. Generally, phone calls, video conferencing, in-person meeting and email are common. The mode of communication also depends on the client and lawyer’s needs and urgency.
The Brighter Day Law attorney will ensure you have effective communication based on its extent and nature. If the conversation is about simply passing on information, mode like email can do the job. However, if the communication is more complex, a phone call or even an in-person meeting may be required.
What sort of communication should I have with my spouse about the divorce?
The communication between the client and an attorney is confidential and should not be disclosed to the third party. Information in the wrong hands can undermine your case and make it that much harder to have a successful case.
You can speak with your spouse about the divorce. However, speaking to them about the divorce does not mean you should tell them what communication took place between you and your attorney.
There are many spouses who are angry and are not interested in a civil conversation. If you want to have better communication with your spouse, Brighter Day Law attorneys can draw on their experience and advice you on how to have an amicable conversation and how to diffuse conflict. However, if your spouse has a particularly toxic personality, then we will also advise you on whether you should stop talking to them.
How much will a divorce cost?
Although the exact number can be impossible to estimate, a knowledgeable family lawyer is able to give you a ballpark estimate on how much your divorce can cost and what are the unpredictable variances that can increase or decrease the cost. Typically, hourly rates of a lawyer cost between $150 and $350.
Generally, the more complex your case is and the more difficult it is for the two parties to resolve, the more your case will cost. If both spouses are amicable, have exchanged their disclosures, do not have any conflicts regarding support, custody, division of assets, and debts, and are willing to compromise, then the divorce will be resolved in a shorter time and will cost less money.
However, a high-conflict divorce will inevitably cost you a lot of money. So it is important to be realistic to prevent any nasty surprises in the long run.
Will I get spousal support or child support after the divorce?
Spousal support, also known as alimony, is financial assistance provided to a spouse after a divorce. In Colorado, there are legal mechanisms to protect both spouses and one such mechanism is to provide financial support to a spouse who does not earn enough to support themselves. This is in case you earn substantially more than your spouse.
Most divorce cases include temporary spousal support at the final judgment. While we may not be able to provide you with the exact sum of the spousal support since we cannot check all the factors against you and your spouse’s income, we may be able to give you a ballpark estimate or a reasonable range.
You can also ask questions about whether your spousal support is modifiable, particularly in situations where your income or that of your spouse is unpredictable or unstable. Depending on the information you provide, our lawyers will be able to determine whether you can file a modifiability request or will face one from your spouse.
As far as child support is concerned, the answer is similar to spousal support and depends on whether you are expected to pay it or receive it from your spouse. We will discuss the nitty-gritty of child support with you in detail depending on your specific circumstances.
How will it be decided who gets custody of our children?
Our attorneys should be able to explain to you exactly what legal custody of your child is, the difference between joint custody and sole custody, and which you are entitled to.
How much time each parent spends with their children and what decisions are made for them are known as “best interests.” Every family has a unique situation that should be taken into account when deciding custody and parental rights and responsibility divided accordingly.
These days, Colorado courts are much more willing to order joint decision-making rights. However, the specific nature and needs of the children and parents need to be considered as well. It will be the aim of the court to maximize each parent’s time with their children. Even so, each parent’s time with a child will be reduced by less half as compared to when the family lived together.
Additionally, you should also know whether you can move to another state with your child. Typically, most custody arrangements forbid this unless both parents agree to it or if the court orders it. The parents who suggest moving will need to show that they are working in the children’s best interest and that none of the children will be harmed by moving tens of thousands of miles away from one of their parents.
Sometimes parents can reach an agreement by structuring their parenting time in a way that children can spend a specific time of the year with one parent and another time of the year with the other parent.
Who should move out of our family home?
Moving out of the home or staying is a personal decision but in many cases, we will advise you whether living together or separately will affect your divorce case. There are many situations like domestic violence, the potential for false allegations of domestic violence, physical abuse of the children, etc. when it is recommended that you should stay separately from the spouse.
You may also have grounds to ask the court to move your spouse out of the family home. If you want this, you should ask the court whether you have the legal and factual basis to do so on an emergency or non-emergency basis.
The legal team at Brighter Day Law has extensive experience with all of the complex legal issues that divorcing couples may face, and we are ready to provide you the legal counsel you need during this challenging time
Should I take measures to protect myself?
This is one very important question you should ask your attorney and not just for your financial wellbeing but your physical wellbeing as well. You can ask your lawyer what to do if you have joint bank accounts or joint credit cards. What would happen to your property if you decided to move out of it? Do you require a restraining order to prevent your spouse from threatening you?
Every divorce case is unique but if you have a hostile and contested divorce, we will recommend taking certain measures to protect yourself so that a vengeful spouse does not spend all your money or threaten you with bodily harm. Whatever the case may be, our lawyers will help you through the process.
What is my divorce process going to be like?
Even in the best of circumstances, divorces can be difficult. The level of difficulty will depend on how willing the two parties are to resolve their issues. However, most divorces typically follow the same process.
This includes filing for a divorce, notifying the other party of their intention, gathering information, and temporary orders to address spousal/child support, custody and asset management during the divorce process and resolution either through a settlement or a court hearing.
This is the most important thing you need to talk about during your initial meeting with a divorce lawyer. No attorney can guarantee you a particular result. However, experienced and skilled attorneys should be able to tell you what the results of the cases similar to you were.
The clearer the facts in your case, the easier it is to apply the law and estimate the potential outcome. However, a potential outcome is still different from the ultimate outcome, which may be subject to discretion in different areas of family law.
How Do I Prepare Myself for a Divorce Case?
There are many factors to take into consideration during a divorce case including children, joint assets, bank accounts, restraining orders, and more and all of these will impact the judge’s ability to divide everything. At Brighter Day Law, our family law attorneys can help you develop an effective strategy on how to proceed with your case.
The paperwork can be daunting but by cooperating with our attorney and looking at things as logically as possible, you can proceed without too much hassle.
If you are in need of a divorce lawyer, schedule an appointment with Brighter Day Law attorney today by calling us at (719) 225-4443.