In the previous post, we discussed the first five most common questions you should be prepared to answer in your initial meeting with an attorney about a divorce. In this post, we discuss the last five questions.
6. What custody arrangement do you seek?
If you have children, you should come prepared to discuss the legal and physical custody arrangement you would like to have post-divorce. Legal custody can be joint (where you make decisions together) or sole (one party makes the decisions after consulting with the other party). Physical custody can be joint (where both parties have roughly equal periods of custody) or sole (where one party has most of the periods of custody). You will ultimately need to prepare a parenting plan with your attorney, so deciding how, week by week, you want to manage custody is definitely something you want to think about in advance so your attorney can walk you through the pros and cons.
7. How comfortable are you with your finances?
In every divorce, parties have different senses about their financial security; the more insecurity, the more that party will either demand a great deal from the other spouse or drive harder bargains in settlement. Assessing your true degree of insecurity helps your attorney see how much emotion may be playing into certain issues that will need resolution, and also will tune in your attorney to how the law protects you to certain degrees in terms of financial security.
8. Do you need spousal support?
Many spouses may feel they want or deserve spousal support, or maintenance, but the law does not always match up with those feelings. Maintenance is generally used to fill the gap between what you can reasonably earn through property and employment on a monthly basis and your average monthly expenses. Maintenance is not intended to go on forever; the recipient is expected to pursue self-sufficiency. That said, in various circumstances it may not be possible for a spouse to work or work enough to ever cover reasonable expenses. Your attorney will need to assess with you how likely maintenance is needed and in what amount and duration.
9. How ready are you for divorce?
Believe it or not, clients see a divorce attorney at all levels of readiness for separation – some may have already moved out, whereas some may want to hide the fact they even met with you. Knowing how close you are to moving forward with divorce is critical to share with your attorney.
10. What questions do you need answered?
While your divorce attorney can expect you to ask questions and should be prepared to give you an excellent overview of the divorce process and advise you accordingly, divorce attorneys are not mind readers and will need your help in being forthright in asking questions about anything you do not understand or feel important to answer.
If you answer these ten questions yourself in advance, you will be well prepared for your first meeting with your divorce attorney, and you will maximize the value of that meeting.
If you have questions about what you should bring to your first meeting with your divorce attorney, contact us – we can help.