Divorce is one of the many complicated things in life. People who undergo this unfortunate event either have arrived at the decision after months or years of their marriage or they may have found themselves forced into the process after the other spouse had been discovered cheating. Further complicating their struggle are the financial and legal issues that are involved in dividing their marital property.
In this article, we are going to share the important issues that you need to discuss with your divorce lawyer in order for them to best advocate on your behalf and negotiate the best possible settlement. It is important that your divorce lawyer has the full understanding of the financial picture as well as your short-term and long-term goals.
As you prepare to meet your divorce lawyer, focus on property, child support, spouse support, child custody, and documents. This will help to keep you on track and have less billable hours. A comprehensive agreement will also help protect you now and in the future.
Any property that the couple had acquired during the marriage is considered marital property. It can include but is not limited to cars, marital home, furniture, furs, jewelry, and household furnishings. To determine who owns the property will depend on whether you lived in a common law property state or a community property state.
Parents are legally required to provide financial support for their child or children until emancipation when they are divorced. Even when the parents are obligated to pay child support to the other parent on behalf of the child or children, the right to receive support does not belong to the custodial parent but to the child.
Spousal support or alimony is one of the most controversial areas of law. It would depend on which state you are divorcing. The court will consider age, length of the marriage, physical and emotional health, and etc. When granted it could either be a permanent, limited duration, reimbursement, rehabilitative alimony or a combination.
Child custody is the highly contested issue. It once again depends on your state. One party may be awarded either legal or physical custody basing on best interests or physical and emotional welfare of the child. Legal custody can be joint wherein both parents are equally involved in making decisions about the child’s health, education, and welfare.
Documents are very important. Bring with you all documents that can affect or substantiate any of the other issues on the property, spousal support, child custody, and child support. Bring documents that you suspect are relevant and even those that are not. Even a small invoice can make a big difference. Bring deeds, titles, wills, trusts, prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements, bank statements, tax returns, etc.
Your divorce lawyer is not a mind reader no matter how talented they may be. Provide all necessary and even unnecessary information. Laying out your case is only half the battle.