There are many reasons why you should talk to a lawyer before you divorce, or even before you make a final decision with your spouse to seek a divorce. The main reason you should talk to a lawyer first is because even if you aren't rich and don't own lots of items that need to be divided, you need to know what the laws are in your state and how to best prepare yourself to protect your future.
Divorce is a life changing decision, which can be extremely complicated and fraught with emotion. A divorce lawyer can help you examine your situation more logically so that you can make informed decisions before you take actions that are difficult or impossible to reverse. Even when the divorce is something that you really want, you probably have a lot of questions and you may be getting a lot of advice from your friends who can tell story after story about another divorce they heard about.
While you do need the emotional support of your friends, you also need to be armed with factual information and get your questions answered by a professional trained in divorce law.
When You are Sure It's Over
A local divorce attorney can help you sort out and plan your next steps. Important things to consider in advance include:
- What the state or county residency requirements are for filing for divorce.
- How long the waiting or separation period is in your state before a divorce case can be heard.
- What child custody arrangements are likely to be agreeable, and whether or not child support will be an issue.
- Will you need time to go back to school and finish your education, or obtain training in order to get a job to support yourself?
- Is there a chance of keeping your house, or will you have to plan to move?
- How your assets and your debts are likely to be divided.
- What your credit score is.
- When to open your own bank and checking accounts.
Clarify Your Thoughts and Plans
Your lawyer may advise you to try and negotiate as much as possible in advance with your spouse, and to deal with marital debt before seeking the divorce if possible. If you can agree on division of property and child custody and support arrangements before you divorce, you will have an easier and less expensive divorce.
Get Legal Help
Talking to a divorce attorney does not commit you to getting a divorce. The conversation should educate you and help you prioritize important sequences of events that can help you plan the best, most financially stable future for yourself and your children.