If you’re contemplating a divorce there are probably a million things running through your head at once. That’s why it’s important to be organized before you visit your divorce attorney, especially when it’s the first visit. Having topics you want to discuss can help as well as having a list of questions. These questions can be about how the divorce will be handled as well as how you should prepare for what lies ahead. Here are several questions to ask a divorce attorney on your first visit.
10 Questions to Ask a Divorce Attorney on First Visit
Should I talk to my spouse about the topics I discuss with my attorney?
While you want to keep the lines of communication open with your spouse, you don’t want to necessarily discuss what is talked about with your attorney. There is an attorney-client privilege and you should not discuss any of your communications with your spouse or any other third party.
What people in the office will work on my case?
You should know which attorneys in the office will be working on your case and who else in the office will be handling your paperwork. Having this knowledge will make it easier when other questions arise.
How much will my divorce cost?
The answer to this question will depend on a number of variables. An attorney will not be able to give you an exact cost during your first visit. He or she may be able to give you an estimate with the understanding that it will change depending on the amount of paperwork that needs to be filed and what issues come up.
Should I move out of the house during the divorce or should my spouse?
An attorney cannot tell you what to do in this matter. This is a personal decision that you need to talk about with your spouse. Consider your comfort level and whether the two of you can live amicably during the divorce proceedings.
Should I be seeking any temporary orders?
Temporary orders can be in regards to parental visiting, business assets or property, among other issues. There are several issues to consider including whether you believe property may be destroyed while the divorce is going on or if there’s a family business that may be endangered due to your spouse’s activity. Your attorney will review your case and advise you as to the best route to take.
What should I know about spousal support?
Whether you are the one who will be receiving spousal support or the one giving it, you should know what may happen on either end. Many people have no idea how spousal support is calculated when it comes to income and assets. They may not receive what they think they will once the process is explained. Those responsible for paying spousal support may also be surprised at the amount they will be expected to pay. While exact amounts cannot be determined during the first visit, your attorney can explain the process so that you know what to expect.
How much child support can I expect to receive or expect to pay?
As with spousal support, the exact amount cannot be determined during the first visit with your attorney. But, your attorney can explain how the amount is determined for those paying and receiving. This can help you calculate what you may be paying or receiving. Many people like to have an estimate so that they can budget once the divorce is final.
How long will my divorce take?
Some divorces can be finalized quickly and there are ones that drag on for months. Your attorney should be honest with you and tell you that there is no way to predict the exact amount of time your divorce will take. It will depend on several factors including whether the divorce is contested or uncontested.
The more issues that are disputed and the more paperwork that needs to be filed, the longer the divorce will take. If a couple can come to an agreement on several issues it can help to speed up the process and lower the cost.
How do I negotiate with my spouse and how will you help?
During your first visit, your attorney should be able to tell you whether they think your case will likely settle or proceed to court. While this may change, he or she can give you their first impressions of your case. From there, your attorney should explain how the negotiation process will work. They may decide to negotiate using correspondence, mediation, or voluntary settlement conferences. Not all methods work for all cases.
Situations may change as the divorce proceedings move on, especially if each party gets emotional or defensive during the process.
Do you have references from other clients?
While each divorce case is different, your attorney should be willing to offer your references from previous clients. This can give you more insight into how cases were handled and how long it took. If your attorney does not want to provide references, you can question why. If you are not satisfied, you have the right to move on and look for a new divorce attorney.
On this topic, you can also ask whether the reviews on their website are testimonials from previous clients. If your attorney says no, then you’ll want to question why they are on there in the first place, especially if they are being portrayed as such.