Many marriages that end in divorce did not suddenly come to halt. The relationship wilts over time. One or both spouses begin to think about divorce long before broaching the subject with each other.
The months leading up to filing for divorce can be a difficult time. Beginning to take steps in preparation for the dissolution can help provide some semblance of control over the future.
Interview Divorce Lawyers
Even if you and your spouse agree about the divorce, you should speak with an attorney about your rights and options. At Samuelson Hause PLLC, we have more than 100 years of collective experience in divorce and family law matters. Our firm has an extensive background in complicated child custody disputes, spousal maintenance concerns, business interests, and other divorce matters.
Ask potential divorce attorneys questions that show whether they are a good fit for your case:
- How long have you practiced family law?
- Do you specialize in family law or handle other types of cases?
- Have you handled cases like mine before?
- Who is your typical client?
- Do you have support staff?
- How accessible are you throughout the process?
- How often will we communicate about my case?
- Do you typically negotiate or litigate cases?
Before hiring an attorney, make sure you feel comfortable with them on a personal level as well as trust in their abilities. You can hire a new attorney mid-stream, but that delays the divorce and increases legal costs.
Hiring the right lawyer for your case is the first step in taking some stress out of the divorce process.
Reflect on the Future
How do you picture your single life in the future? Taking time to reflect can provide needed clarity that gives your lawyer valuable insight into your goals.
Questions to ponder include the following:
- Do I want to move to another city or state?
- Do I want to go back to school or receive additional career training?
- Will I stay in my current job or seek new employment?
- Do I want my children to live with me?
- How will I co-parent with my ex?
- Who is in my support circle?
- Will I need spousal support to get back on my feet?
- Do my children have special needs that need to be addressed?
- Is it important to me to remain in the marital home?
- What possessions do I most prize?
The answers to these questions will provide the roadmap for both you and your attorney.
Learn the Divorce Process Options
Depending on the specifics of your case, you will have more than one option on how you want to proceed. Like hiring the right attorney, picking the best divorce method for you can save aggravation. Trying mediation when you really should litigate, for example, wastes time and money.
Divorce mediation typically has the most success with couples who are willing to talk through the issues with the help of a neutral third-party mediator. Marriages with a big power discrepancy or a history of domestic violence should not attempt this method. Mediation can be used to resolve any or all the issues required in the divorce agreement. The mediator will draft a divorce agreement for the spouses to approve or ask for revisions.
Collaborative divorce is similar to mediation in that it occurs outside of the courtroom. Each spouse and their lawyers sit together to identify and settle their differences. Both sides sign a document making a commitment to use collaboration, and not litigation, to come to their divorce terms. The spouses, attorneys, and any additional relevant professionals work together to craft the divorce agreement.
Highly contested divorces might benefit from starting in court. Divorces that begin in mediation or collaboration can also go to court should those methods fail to produce an agreement. Litigated divorces tend to take longer than negotiation, mediation, and collaboration. Despite the protracted time, going to court might be the best option in some situations.
No matter which divorce method will be utilized, your attorney will need numerous documents and other information to fully understand your case. The details are crucial in mapping out a strategy that supports your goals.
Your attorney will need these and other documents:
- Your original birth certificate
- Your Social Security card
- Your passport (if applicable)
- Name and location of employers of you and your spouse
- W2s, paycheck stubs, and tax returns (you and your spouse)
- Bank statements, retirement accounts, mortgage statements, credit card statements, etc.
- Real estate appraisals and appraisals of other assets
- Copies of life insurance and health insurance policies
- Vehicle title/registration
- The prenuptial agreement, if applicable
The more complicated the divorce, particularly with high-net-worth divorces, the more documentation will be needed. Professionals such as forensic accountants and business valuators may also be needed.
A New York Divorce Begins with a Consultation
If you are considering filing for divorce, now is the time to begin talking with divorce attorneys. Retain legal advice and direction before filing. Our attorneys at Samuelson Hause PLLC are available to meet with you, listen to the details of your case, and answer any questions you have.
Schedule your consultation by calling (516) 584-4685 or reaching out online.