10 Things to Ask My Divorce Lawyerby Stephanie Mojica
Divorce can be relieving and traumatizing at the same time, especially if younger children are involved. While some women may be able to amicably work out the situation with their soon-to-be former spouses, others need to secure the services of a qualified divorce attorney. Asking the right questions before signing a contract with a lawyer can help spare you unnecessary financial and emotional turmoil.
Can We Get a Separation Agreement?
A separation agreement usually requires a lawyer, but the agreement can expedite the divorce process, according to the New York State Unified Court System.
How Does the Judge Usually Decide About Custody and Financial Support Matters?
Every state and case is different, but finding out more about the process regarding child custody and alimony can greatly benefit you during divorce, the New York State Unified Court System notes.
How Does the Judge Calculate Child Support?
Some states, like New York, award child support based on the number of children and a percentage of the primary breadwinner's income. But your attorney can help you find out more about your chances as it relates to your particular situation.
Am I Eligible for Social Security Benefits?
Some women don't realize that they might be entitled to an ex-husband's Social Security benefits, according to the Social Security Administration. If you were married for at least 10 years, you might be eligible for some additional Social Security benefits once you turn 62. You must be unmarried at the time of the claim to collect benefits. If you are younger or have a disability, you might be able to collect benefits earlier.
Do You Specialize in Divorces?
Depending on the complexity of your divorce, you might want to hire only a certified family law specialist, Divorce Net notes. An attorney who deals only with divorce might be your best bet, especially if alimony and child custody issues are involved.
How Much do You Charge?
Financial clarity is essential when filing for divorce and hiring an attorney. Ask your prospective lawyer not only how much he charges for your case, but also about any additional fees such as the costs of telephone calls or photocopying.
How Long Will My Divorce Take?
Divorce laws vary from state to state and can take months if issues are disputed during the process, the Utah State Courts website notes. Asking your potential lawyer just how long a divorce might take can prepare you for a sometimes costly and emotionally overwhelming process.
Do I Qualify for an Annulment?
Sometimes you don't even need a divorce, but should still ask a lawyer for advice on an annulment, according to the Utah State Courts website. If you married a close relative, a member of the same sex, were unable to legally give consent to the marriage due to age or a debilitating condition, you might qualify for an annulment; an annulment is different from a divorce because it legally treats the marriage as if it never existed.
Do We Really Need to Go to Court?
Some divorces don't necessarily require a court hearing, but qualified attorneys can still help both parties reach a formal agreement about dissolving the marriage and financial support matters, according to the British Columbia Ministry of the Attorney General.
Do I Need an Order of Protection?
In cases of alleged domestic violence or child abuse, you might need an order of protection, according to the New York State Unified Court System. Documenting such claims is essential toward your personal and financial protection, so be sure to communicate with your lawyer if this situation applies to your impending divorce.
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