Many couples go into the divorce process not knowing what to expect. This is true whether they are the person initiating the divorce or a spouse who does not want a divorce. We find pre-divorce legal counseling to be extraordinarily helpful, as it is imperative that people understand their rights and responsibilities prior to beginning any type of divorce process.
Benefits of Pre-Divorce Legal Counseling
Pre-divorce legal counseling is the starting point for many of our clients to understand what is involved in the divorce process and the questions that may come up as it progresses. Some things clients learn in this process include:
- What is meant by the term “marital estate”
- How are marital assets and debts divided?
- What documentation will be needed?
- What obligation and/or rights exist in terms of maintenance aka spousal support?
- What obligation and/or rights exist in terms of support for children?
- How to access documents that will be required to determine the financial aspects of the divorce.
- How is allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly child custody) determined?
- How is allocation of parenting time determined?
Each client has needs unique to their situation. Some begin the process with no knowledge of the state of their finances. They may not fully understand what assets they own, how bills are paid, what liabilities exist, or even where the mortgage deed is kept. It may take them six months or a year just to learn these things and be ready to take the next step.
Others come into the office with binders organized by date and every single account kept current on their laptop. They know everything they need to know. Perhaps all the attorney needs to do for them is to file the appropriate paperwork with the court.
The pre-divorce legal counseling process starts with a phone call to our office. We offer a free 15-minute phone consultation so we can get a sense of where a person is in the decision-making process, what they need, and we talk with them about how we can help.
With every person, we will ask what specific questions they have, as well as provide them with additional questions to consider and provide information that they need in order to move forward and take the next steps. We may refer them to other resources they can find on our website or through other professionals in our network
For some people, that is all they need. They may even proceed pro se, which means representing themselves legally without additional legal counsel. Some come back to us a few months later and ask for limited-scope services, which may mean all they need is for us to prepare a document on their behalf or review a document they themselves have prepared.
For a discussion about pre-divorce legal counseling, or for answers to your questions no matter where you are in your divorce process, contact us for your free consultation. We will listen to you and let you know ways in which we can be of help.