2022 Legal Guide Page

DIVORCE FACT   The average marriage in the United States lasts 8.2 years.   Couples in Italy more than double the United States marriage longevity with their marriages lasting on average over 18 years.

What to expect once you hire your divorce attorney?

By now you have spoken with one or more attorneys regarding divorce.  It's time to hire the attorney that you have determined is best to handle your case.  Upon hiring your attorney you will likely do the following:

Process of hiring an attorney and beginning your divorce case

  • Secure your attorney with a retainer
  • Present your attorney with your spouse's attorney's name and contact information,
  • Prepare to discuss the reason for your divorce so that you attorney can advise you on the best way to proceed.  This will also include understanding the differences between annulment, legal separation, separation and divorce. 
  • Discuss if you and your spouse plan to reside in the same home while the divorce is pending.  Verify the state requirements to include any required "waiting periods" and/or separation periods before or after filing and/or to proceed with divorce.  Understand the living arrangements or requirements as recognized by the state as separation and/or it's constitution of "living apart" during said waiting period (specifically if you will NOT be maintaining two separate residences).
  • Discuss temporary custody, living situation, and financial support while the divorce is pending.
  • Verify the laws and divorce procedures of your state, discussed in your previous interview as they relate to your immediate circumstances and case including: child support, alimony, maintenance, division of marital property, separate property and financial resources.  Discuss potential court outcomes if you and your spouse are unable to come to terms outside of court.  
  • Present your attorney with any custody and child support arrangements agreed upon in advance by you and your spouse.  Otherwise present your attorney with your ideal child custody arrangement to include schedule of visitation & custody arrangements specific to holidays - weekends - summer break - vacations, who will be the primary caregiver & household, any special circumstances such as medical or education (to include tuition, if applicable), support expectations, etc.)  
  • Verify the state property laws specific to each spouse's ownership rights as they pertain to your states process for division of marital assets.
  • Present any agreed upon asset allocation between you and your spouse and/or discuss your options pertaining to assets, debts, alimony and support as they pertain to your circumstances and case.  
  • Present all documents and a detailed list pertaining to your pre-nuptial agreement (if applicable), assets (investments and respective values/balances to include but not limited to: home, property, stocks, bonds, 401K, IRA's, cash, certificates of deposit, checking and savings, life insurance, etc.), taxes, bank and/or investment account statements, debts and balances (specific to family debts and/or debt incurred prior to marriage and specified as such), household budget, both spouses income, insurance and appraisals of real or personal property.  Ask if your attorney requires any further documents prior to filing and thereafter.  Verify the state property laws specific to each spouses ownership rights as they pertain to your state's process for division of marital assets.
  • Present your inventory list of personal property to include: all furniture, household items, tools, electronics, jewelry, appliances and basically anything that is of value personally or financially.  Bring appraisals, values and insurance documents related to these items, if applicable. 
  • Get information related to requirements  (i.e. child custody classes) necessary to complete prior to the divorce.

Negotiating with your spouse before hiring an attorney

Finally, the more you and your spouse already agreed upon prior to each hiring an attorney, the less legal expenses you will incur.  It will also expedite the divorce.  However, if your spouse is dangerous, unwilling to negotiate or likely to take advantage of pre-negotiations since you are unrepresented, then you should first seek legal representation for advice on how to proceed with negotiations.

Be ready to discuss your asset, support and custody arrangements that have been discussed and agreed upon with your spouse with your attorney upon hiring him/her.          -OurDMK.com




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