It’s bad enough that you’re facing one of the toughest, if not the toughest, periods of your life, you also have to deal with a lot of legalities that you cannot grasp. Thankfully, that’s what divorce lawyers are for. They are here to answer any questions you have about a legal process that will alter your life forever.
In Santa Fe, hiring a divorce lawyer shouldn’t be too hard. One Google search will lead you to several capable lawyers who can handle the dissolution of your marital partnership. Before setting up an initial consultation with a divorce lawyer, read up as much as you can about him. That will help you prepare for the initial meeting.
The first thing you need to know is how much you need to prepare for the total cost of this legal procedure. Ask the attorney about his fee structure. Does he charge per hour he spends on your case, including the time he spends answering your questions? How much does it cost for him to appear on your behalf before a judge? Divorce sometimes takes years to finalize so does that mean you have to pay a retainer’s fee or does he charge a fixed fee until the proceedings are completed?
Every state has a different procedure for filing for a divorce. Most of these procedures are complex and a bit confusing for those who do not have a legal background. It is imperative that your divorce lawyer discusses the timeline so you can prepare the necessary documents along the way. It will also allow you to prepare for what lies ahead, especially if you are working full-time and have other obligations. If you will be called by the court to appear on several occasions, it would be nice to know when these would probably be so you can avoid scheduling important meetings and trips during these days.
States have very specific rules when it comes to spousal alimonies. You may be eligible or liable for alimony depending on the length of the marriage, the discrepancy in your earnings, and whether or not you or your spouse have to stay at home to raise the children. Regardless of where you’re standing in this particular scenario, make sure to clarify this issue with your attorney as alimonies can significantly increase the cost and the stake of the divorce proceedings.
When children come into play, a divorce proceeding can get extra messy. Ask your attorney what factors will the judge consider to grant you the custody of your children. Do not be upset if your attorney is honest with you by saying you have a slim chance of winning the custody battle. However, a good divorce lawyer will also walk you through the things you need to do to get a better shot at obtaining custody of your children. If going to trial is something you like to avoid, your divorce lawyer will also discuss alternative dispute resolutions like mediation or arbitration.
Most states follow the same formula in splitting marital assets, specifically those obtained after marriage for couples without an existing prenuptial agreement. This formula, however, can change depending on the state’s property laws as these will dictate the ownership rights of each spouse.
Getting a divorce is a messy undertaking. You need a lawyer who understands the sensitivity of these kinds of proceedings and who will guide you throughout the process.