Even if you’re in the very initial stages of considering divorce, it is a good idea to meet with a divorce lawyer as soon as possible. Talking with a divorce lawyer about your options does not necessarily mean you will end up getting a divorce, in fact, it may lead to considerations that open up new possibilities other than divorce. Below, we’ve emphasized three important things to remember if you’re considering your options:
Each divorce is different. Talking with a lawyer about your situation will help you be better informed about what the process would be like for you if it were to advance to that point. An experienced lawyer can inform you of various options as they relate to your specific situation.
Meeting with a lawyer will inform you about important questions that you may not have thought about. If you have children, what would you prefer in terms of custody and visitation? Have you thought about all of the shared assets that would need to be split? Do you know about all of your partner’s assets? If it is a no-fault situation, do you know you have to be separated for a full year before the divorce process can even begin? Many times emotional urgency distracts people from the logistical questions that will have to be negotiated.
It may not be wise to tell your spouse about your plans to meet with a lawyer. If you do, your spouse may take precautions prematurely (after all, just meeting with a lawyer doesn’t mean you want or intend to divorce) that could jeopardize your interests if the divorce proceeds (e.g. re-organizing/hiding assets or destroying evidence of wrongdoing). Revealing your plans might also put you and your children in danger if your spouse is prone to abusive behavior.
Divorce is not an easy process. The more you know before you make a decision will reduce the chance of any surprises that would otherwise create unexpected and avoidable obstacles. Meeting with a lawyer to discuss your options before you make a final decision will help reduce expenses and avoidable emotional stress.