(Divorce in the US and generally) After realizing that a divorce is inevitable, one of the first questions you might ask is, “How much does it cost to hire an attorney?” Well-meaning family members and friends will relay stories to you about their divorce and how much they paid for legal fees. Because you’re worried about your finances, you may begin to wonder whether you can save money by getting a divorce without an attorney.
While it’s true that a divorce can be expensive, it is also true that going it alone may be more expensive in the long run. Unless you are a legal professional and know about divorce laws, it is highly recommended that you seek advice from a divorce lawyer.
Get a free consultation
What you may not be aware of is that most divorce attorneys do not charge a fee for the initial consultation. Meeting with an attorney for the first time is more informational than anything else. The attorney will ask you pertinent questions and review the divorce process with you. In turn, you will have an opportunity to ask the attorney questions, including how to pay legal fees. A consultation will also help both you and the attorney determine whether you can develop a working relationship.
Is the attorney knowledgeable?
A consultation will also help you determine how knowledgable the attorney is about the divorce process.
Filing divorce documents with the court, notifying the other party about the divorce papers, knowing how to negotiate a settlement with the opposing attorney, and appearing in court before a judge to resolve the case are skills that attorneys acquire through education and experience. This process can be very intimidating to lay people who want to handle their own divorce.
Not only do experienced attorneys know about court procedures, more importantly they know the state laws that govern divorce proceedings, and all of the legal rights and benefits to which their clients are entitled. In other words, they know how to read the legal fine print so that they can go after everything that their clients deserve.
What about the children?
Divorce can take an emotional toll on anyone, but especially on parents with dependent children. There are many issues that have to be settled concerning children, such as with whom the children will live, how much the non-custodial parent will pay for child support, who will have the children on the holidays, and how often the non-custodial parent will visit the children. These issues are enough make the tempers of a divorcing couple flare out of control. A divorce attorney can advise you of the dangers of becoming too emotional, and the importance of setting aside your feelings and maintaining civility with your spouse for the best interest of the children.
It’s time to talk about money
Since attorneys know that potential clients are concerned about divorce expenses, most attorneys will discuss their fees during the consultation. As a potential client, you can expect to hear about costs for such work as filing court documents, serving the other party, attending court hearings, and communicating with you during the case.
There is a lot at stake when you decide to dissolve a marriage, especially if you and your spouse have been together for a long time and have children. While finding ways to save money is commendable, paying for an experienced attorney, instead of handling the divorce yourself, will be well worth the cost.
About the author
This article was written by Karl Stockton for the team at Kanetix. Need information on mortgages? Visit them to see their mortgage primer, as well as other helpful information on the subject.