5 Important Questions To Ask Your Divorce Lawyer As You Plan Your Case
Although you may feel as if your life is completely upside down and inside out because of your impending divorce, you have more organizational power over the situation than you may think. With a little planning, you should be able to exert control over the seemingly spiraling circumstances and keep things under control - your control.
1. How Do Your Fees Work?
Understanding how your divorce lawyer will bill you is crucial to your planning, especially since money is a major issue between separating couples. Find out about a retainer, flat-fees and hourly billing. Know ahead of time if you'll be charged for calls and questions and ask about a fixed-fee, which may be a viable option if your divorce is expected to be quick, cut-and-dry and uncontested. Unless you're not under any financial constraints, you do need to factor the cost of your divorce into your immediate future.
2. What If Custody Is Being Argued By Both Parents?
Perhaps the most pressing issue of any divorce is the well being of the children and if you're going to fight for sole custody, you need to know what you're up against. Find out how the laws in your state apply to your individual circumstances and know in advance everything you're going to need to do to succeed in a custody battle. Everything from your salary, time spent at home and the friends you hang out with may come into question under the scrutiny of a custody dispute; thus, you need to know beforehand how to set yourself up for success.
3. How Are Marital Assets Divided?
Depending on your local laws, the marital assets you've accumulated with your spouse may be divided evenly or you may have some grounds to request a different type of settlement. Knowing this early on will help you prepare for your short and long-term future, such as where you'll live and who will be responsible for the various bills. Ask your divorce lawyer about protecting any individual assets you may have, outside of the marital arrangement and what will be done with mutual debt you and your spouse are jointly responsible for. These aren't the most pleasant issues to contemplate, but from a strategic point of view, they're some of the most significant and can literally change the direction your life takes, post-divorce.
4. What Are The Best And Worst Outcomes To Expect?
Ask your divorce lawyer directly what your very best case scenario might be and what the worst possible outcome could be, too and try to wrap your head around both. You'd be advised to proceed with the divorce, hoping for the best, but being prepared for the worst. This way, you shouldn't end up being unprepared for an outcome that could potentially devastate you. Follow the advice of your lawyer in pursuing the best-case-scenario, but also heed their warnings about the less favorable options you may be forced to contend with.
5. Should You Settle Or Should You Fight?
Particularly if the divorce you're heading for is not amicable, you will face many challenges; however, not all of them are worth fighting for. Ask your lawyer to help you choose your battles, so there's always something worthwhile in the mix. Many couples fight just for the sake of fighting, rehashing old wounds and wanting revenge for the pain they're feeling. If you're wise, you'll learn to separate your feelings from the proceedings, so that you're in a better position to make the decisions that will benefit you the most, moving forward.
While divorce can hit your life hard, it doesn't have to turn your world upside down. Work closely with a good divorce lawyer, such as from Bergermann Law Firm, and know what questions to ask, so you can try to keep your life in balance and plan for your future.