Although there are indications that divorces are on the decline, divorce rates are still estimated at around 42-45%. This means that many Americans will experience at least one divorce in their lifetime.
The emotional turmoil that surrounds the end of a marriage can make the decisions you need to make extremely difficult and stressful since there is incredible pressure to make the right choices and avoid mistakes. There are several things you need to know before you hire a Melbourne divorce attorney that can – and should –make the process less difficult.
Here are three things you need to know before hiring a divorce lawyer:
1. Know What Type of Divorce You Want
You’ve probably heard of do-it-yourself divorces, which are also known as self-representation. And, of course, you’re familiar with the traditional divorce model of litigation.
But did you know that there are other ways to handle the dissolution of a marriage?
Acollaborative divorcemeans that each spouse hires an attorney and agrees to avoid the courtroom. A team is assembled, which often includes an independent accountantand even a mental health professional or child therapist, if necessary. Decisions are made by the divorcing spouses and not by a judge, which can result in better outcomes for both parties.
Another way to handle a divorce is through mediation. A mediator is a neutral party who is trained to facilitate negotiations between divorcing spouses in an attempt to work out mutually beneficial agreements. Spouses are still encouraged to consult with an attorney for guidance, although their attorneys do not attend mediation sessions.
2. Know Your Financial Situation
Having an accurate picture of your finances is an important first step in seeing how assets and liabilities may be divides.
Compile all your important documents, including:
- Tax returns
- Bank statements
- Mortgage statements
- Credit card statements
- Retirement accounts
Put together a simple balance sheet showing your income, assets, and debts so you can review this with your Melbourne divorce attorney.
You’ll need something more in-depth once you start the divorce process, but this is a good starting point and will give you an idea about how each attorney you speak with, would approach your situation. This is also a good way to set a budget for how much to spend on your divorce attorney,as well asany other divorce-related expenses.
3. Know What You Want
A divorce can bring up a lot of anger and lead to a mindset of wanting to somehow “beat” your spouse. It’s important to keep in mind that there aren’t winners and losers in a divorce. Divorce is complicated and there are typically many issues involved, ranging from alimony to the division of property. No one ends up with everything they want.
Also keep in mind that the consequences of a full-blown battle can be devastating both financially and emotionally. If you have children, they have the most to lose. It’s important to consider all of these factors and be realistic when figuring out what you want. Rationally discuss your case with your Melbourne divorce lawyer and explore your options. Decide what your “must-haves” are, and what you’re willing to compromise on in order to expedite your case and minimize hard feelings with your former spouse.
Divorce is never easy, but it doesn’t have to be a long, drawn-out process where everyone loses. Gathering relevant information, determining what you want, and understanding the processcan make the entire process much less stressful and help you achieve a better outcome.