Here’s what you should know before filing for divorce…
- Get a consultation
The common saying is that you don’t know what you don’t know. I highly recommend having a consultation with an experienced family law attorney before filing for your divorce. Some offices offer free consultations, and others charge for a consultation. You usually get what you pay for, so don’t be deterred if the divorce lawyer you call tells you that they charge for the consultation. More often than not, it’s well worth the fee because you should leave knowing how the court would likely divide your assets and debts, and also what the potential custody orders could be. Having a consultation is a really good starting point because you’ll have some understanding of the legal process that you’ll soon be going through and what the possible outcomes are.
- Get an idea of where you stand financially
So many clients have no idea what their assets are or how much their spouse earns. Take an active interest in your finances. Learn what you have and what your spouse has (or doesn’t have – they may be in a lot of debt). Earnings during marriage are community property so even if you have separate bank accounts, you or your spouse may be entitled to half of each other’ accounts. This goes for debts too. Debts incurred during marriage are also community property. It’s harder for your divorce attorney to give you an understanding of your case and the possible outcomes if you are completely in the dark about your financial situation.
- Know what custody orders you would like to have and what is practical
It’s good to have a goal for custody so that you and your divorce lawyer can work towards that goal. It’s also good to communicate that goal to your divorce attorney so they can let you know right away how practical or impractical your goal may be.
- Figure out what Court you are going to file
In many cities and counties, especially Los Angeles County, there are several options for courthouses where you can file for your divorce. Many experienced attorneys have a preference for where to file because they know if a judge is good or bad, or new to family law. Talk to an experienced family law attorney about where your case should be filed and why it should be filed at a specific courthouse.
- Decide if you need a divorce attorney, and if you do, hire one sooner rather than later
Not all divorces need a divorce attorney. However, if you anticipate there will be a custody dispute, or an issue of child or spousal support, or problems when it comes to dividing assets, debts, businesses, you likely should seek the assistance of an experienced divorce attorney. The law is becoming very specialized, so I highly recommend hiring an attorney who practices exclusively family law. If you can find a Certified Family Law Specialist, even better.
If you need assistance with your divorce in Redono Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes, Torrance, or in Los Angeles County, feel free to give Mioni Family Law, APC a call and we would be happy to schedule a consultation with you.