Divorce is an unfortunate and sometimes unavoidable result of many marriages. With that said, divorce may be necessary for couples who deem their relationship irreparable or feel stifled by an abusive partner. No one wants to see a previously-happily-married couple at war with one another. Delaying a divorce unnecessarily could have severe emotional repercussions, especially if children are involved in the divorce proceedings.
While utopic, it would undoubtedly be a best-case scenario if husbands and wives could disassemble their married lives in the same mutually beneficial way they joined together in an eternally-binding union. Unfortunately, an amicable divorce seldom ever happens.
Life is complicated. After several years or more of marriage, the family accumulates assets. Children are brought into the relationship, and the family forms mental and emotional bonds that warrant consideration. The decision to divorce puts all of these valuables and treasured relationships in peril.
That’s why it’s so important to work with an experienced and compassionate divorce attorney like Stacey Schmidt, a divorce and family law attorney in Salt Lake City.
If you and your spouse are ready to seek a divorce, each party is entitled to receive fair treatment under the law. Assuming this will be your first divorce, you’ll probably need some direction. With that in mind, here are ten key questions you’ll need to ask your attorney. You can use the answers as the basis for selecting an attorney.
Note that you’ll need to cover these questions on your first visit. Why? To help you create reasonable expectations. If you find an attorney online, the initial consultation should still be in-person.
What about confidentiality?
You have a right to know who will be looking at your personal information and divorce file. Be sure to establish upfront who will have access and whether or not your access has limitations.
Should one of us move out of the home?
This is more of a personal issue. If the attorney feels both parties can act responsibly, they might recommend you both remain at home, especially if children are involved. If the divorce is contested, forcing your former spouse to move out might be in your best interest. If each party is living in separate quarters, the couple can avoid exacerbating existing issues.
What are the guidelines regarding communication with my spouse?
Be sure to find out exactly what you can and cannot say to your spouse about the divorce proceedings. Remember, client/attorney privilege laws won’t protect you in these circumstances. Disclosing confidential information could jeopardize your assets.
Do you have advice on how to keep things amicable with my spouse?
You may want things to be amicable with your soon-to-be-ex during the divorce proceedings. Depending on your attorney’s background, they may have enough expertise to recommend ways you and your spouse can keep things civil and productive. Unnecessary contentions could stall the process, costing you and your ex thousands of dollars.
Who is going to be working on my case?
Almost all attorneys employ staff members. Don’t be surprised if the attorney lists off the names of a few individuals who will be working on your case. Achieving a favorable ruling is a collaborative effort.
Will I need to appear in court?
If the divorce is uncontested, neither party will have to appear in court. If it’s a contested divorce, your attorney will likely state that your appearance is mandatory.
What will my lawyer charge in terms of fees?
The costs will likely vary based on whether the divorce is contested or not. Some attorneys will charge a flat fee, while others might charge an hourly fee. It’s well within your rights to see if you can negotiate a deal.
Should we consider any temporary court orders?
If you have any reason to believe your spouse will react adversely to a request for divorce, your attorney could ask the court for temporary orders during the proceedings, including a restraining order or a spousal/child support order. Sadly, the spouse requesting the divorce may be a risk of physical abuse if they serve the papers firsthand.
What are my child custody options?
The way family members interact with one another varies a great deal from one family to the next. Make sure you and the attorney review all custody options to determine which one might best fit your circumstances. If the divorce is amicable, splitting custody 50-50 may be the best option. If you believe your former spouse poses a threat to your child’s safety, you may fight for full custody.
Am I entitled to child and or spousal support?
Child and spousal support issues can be time-consuming and mentally-taxing to resolve. Your attorney should assess the situation and explain whether or not the circumstances at-hand warrant child or spousal support. If your legal counsel feels it does, then you can start discussing numbers.
Divorce is a complicated legal process. For those soon-to-be divorcees interested in more information or a consultation, contact Stacey Schmidt, a divorce and family attorney located in Utah.