In the last couple of years, the divorce rate went up slightly after the pandemic, with about 14.56 divorces per thousand married women. And while divorce trends change over time, couples who no longer want to live together will wind up separating – no matter the divorce rate. The process of getting a divorce can be physically, emotionally, and financially draining. It’s one of those things you’re completely unprepared for. So, if you’re considering getting a divorce, it’s worth knowing the different questions your Henderson divorce attorney will ask during the initial consultation.
- Reason For The Divorce
The first thing your divorce lawyer will ask you is why you’re getting divorced. This is so they know you’re sure about this decision. There are different reasons couples split up, with the most common ones being financial infidelity, addiction issues, domestic or other forms of abuse, and marital infidelity. The reason you’re getting divorced can determine the outcomes of your divorce case. Specifically, your family law attorney needs to know if it’s an at-fault or no-fault divorce. They will ask if you or your spouse wronged each other in any way or if the divorce is amicable.
- Current Living Arrangement
The next most important thing your attorney needs to know is your current living situation. Are you living with your spouse, or has one of you moved out of the family home? Depending on your answer, your lawyer will tell you about whether or not it’s beneficial to you. It’s also an important question because the value of a marital home is typically split between two partners. While children are a major aspect of the discussion, you should also inform your lawyer about whether other family members are currently living with you in the marital home, as this has an effect on the process.
In the event that you and your spouse are no longer living together in the marital home, you need to mention how long you’ve been separated. It’s an important aspect because decisions regarding property division, alimony, and child custody are impacted by physical separation.
- Minor Children From The Current Marriage
During a divorce, child custody is among the most crucial issues – it’s often what makes the divorce highly complicated. Your divorce lawyer needs to know if you and your spouse have kids together, especially minors. Keep in mind that issues regarding child custody can be emotionally stressful, so it’s crucial that you’re upfront about how much custody you’re expecting. By starting the conversation early on, your lawyer can walk you through some of the most realistic outcomes.
- Employment Status and Income
Another important detail to share with your divorce lawyer is how much both spouses make. Things like alimony, child support, and spousal support are related to each spouse’s financial situation and income. If you were a stay-at-home parent and didn’t have a job over the course of your marriage, you may be entitled to receive spousal support. Besides discussing your income, you also need to mention how long each spouse has had their current job. Your divorce attorney will also want to know if both spouses have stable and secure jobs.
- Your Priorities For The Divorce
Though your divorce attorney will fight for your best interests, you need to choose what they should fight for. Most divorce or family law lawyers ask clients about their top priorities and what they expect to get out of the divorce. Think of it this way: what about divorce scares you the most? Are you worried about being apart from your children? Are you worried that the assets you worked hard for will just be handed to your spouse? Or does the prospect of being left without any financial support scare you?
There’s always one core concern at the heart of the matter, and it’s important to communicate these non-negotiables with your divorce lawyer. By doing so, they can prepare a plan to help you keep what matters most.
- Real Estate Assets
In most marriages that have lasted a good number of years, spouses have some shared assets, including real estate. If you and your spouse own marital property, your lawyer will likely ask the following:
- Whose name is on the title?
- Is it held by a trust?
- Do you currently have a mortgage?
It’s quite common for spouses to get divorced while they’re in the middle of making mortgage payments. In this case, your divorce attorney will want to know the current balance on these mortgages, too. Because marital property is divided between the spouses, your attorney will ask for information about current real estate holdings. Specifically, you should list out the properties you owned before getting married, as well as any real estate bought or inherited while you were married.
- Shared Marital Assets
If you and your spouse currently share any financial assets or accounts, your divorce lawyer will want to know. This can include savings, investment, or retirement accounts. Keep in mind that not all property is marital property. Working with a divorce attorney can help you find out which of your assets are shared versus separate. Similarly, if you have any retirement accounts, you’ll need to mention when they were started and whether the accounts were opened before or after getting married.
- Abuse, Addiction, or Hidden Assets
Issues like addiction, abuse, and hidden assets are among the factors that can fundamentally alter the trajectory of your divorce. If you’re concerned that your spouse may have hidden certain assets, tell your lawyer. This includes mentioning if your spouse has large amounts of cash or currency stored in the home or elsewhere. You should also discuss issues like abuse or addiction if they were present during your marriage. This doesn’t just refer to alcohol or drug addiction but something like gambling addiction, which can leave a dent in the family’s finances.
These were eight important things you should be ready to discuss during the initial consultation with your divorce lawyer. When you know what to expect, you’re able to save much more time and can get to work discussing important topics like child custody and division of assets.