What Your Divorce Lawyer Needs to Know from You

When you decide to divorce your spouse, your divorce attorney will ask questions regarding your marriage: How long were you married? Do you have children? When did you separate from your spouse? What is your income? What is your spouse’s income? What property do you and your spouse own? What property do you and/or your spouse own separately? And on and on …

Yet there are some questions that may never get asked, but if relevant, you should tell your attorney immediately, such as:

Do you really want to divorce your spouse or are you hoping to reconcile? Your attorney will be working for you with the goal of permanently ending your marriage. If you’re hoping your spouse will be “shocked” into reconciling, you will be at odds with your attorney. There is nothing wrong with wanting to reconcile, but you need to make sure you and your attorney are “on the same page” with your legal goals.

Did you sign a pre-nuptial agreement? Did you sign a post-nuptial agreement? Be sure and let your attorney know immediately, and give him/her a copy of it. A properly executed pre or post nuptial agreement can change the entire outcome of a divorce settlement.

Are there any law suits pending regarding you and/or your spouse? A divorce takes into account all aspects of your married life together. There are many issues that will continue even after your marriage ends, and need to be planned for during the divorce.

Are there any immigration issues? Are you both American citizens? Are there potential VISA issues? Marriage can affect the status of a spouse, and if the marriage ends, that status can change.

Are there any mental and/or physical medical issues regarding you and/or your spouse? Medical issues often change the course of divorce proceedings regarding spousal support, medical insurance, and even whether a spouse has the mental capacity to divorce.

What do you want from your divorce? Be as specific with your “wants” as you can be. (You may not get them, but at least your attorney will understand your mindset.) Do you want spousal support – or do you NOT want to pay spousal support? Are there specific property items you want? Should the house be sold, or do you want to buy your spouse’s half?

Your attorney will provide you with form consisting of a list of basic questions for you to fill out either before or after your initial visit. The questions are about your family, your property, income, medical issues, etc. These questions are designed to direct the divorce toward your specific needs and goals, but these questions will not tell your attorney the things that make you unique.

Your divorce can and most likely will affect you, your spouse, and family members for many years to come – if not your entire lifetimes. Remember, it’s up to you to work with your attorney so that he/she can craft your divorce in the best possible way for everyone involved.

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