How to Prepare for the First Consultation With Your Divorce Lawyer?
What Can I expect at My Divorce Consultation?
In general, meeting with a divorce lawyer will include learning about the details of your specific situation, explaining the divorce, custody and support law and processes in Pennsylvania, and discussing options for moving forward to help you best prepare for divorce, the divorce process and your life after the divorce.
It is important for a lawyer to understand your specific situation so as to be able to properly identify the issues that exist in your case and to help prepare the best strategy to move your case forward in a way that is both cost efficient and provides you with the best possible outcome.
After learning the specifics of your situation, the lawyer will explain the divorce process in Pennsylvania. A good family law attorney will explain the difference between fault and no-fault divorce and will address different process choices that may be available to you, such as mediation, Collaborative Law, arbitration or litigation.
The divorce lawyer will explain Pennsylvania’s process for dividing your marital estate called Equitable Distribution and the factors that are relevant in how the distribution is accomplished. The lawyer will explain how Spousal Support, Alimony Pendente Lite, and Alimony may or may not be applicable in your case and if they are, how they will be calculated.
If applies to your case, the family lawyer will also explain issues related to child custody. They will evaluate your case and advice on Legal Custody and Physical Custody and the process for obtaining a Custody Order from the Court either by agreement or through litigation. The family lawyer will explain Pennsylvania’s child support system and how child support is calculated as well as how to obtain a Child Support Order from the court.
The information the lawyer provides will be specific to the county in which you reside or the county in which your case is likely to be heard. While the law in Pennsylvania is the same in every county, the practice and procedure in each county varies widely and it is important to work with a lawyer who regularly practices in the county in which your case will be heard.
Should I Tell My Divorce Lawyer Everything?
It is critically important that you are forthright and open with your attorney. In order for your attorney to provide you with the best possible representation, full disclosure is required. Conversations between you and the attorney are confidential. Identifying the best options for resolution and the best strategy for moving forward is much more effective when the attorney has all the information.
Questions A Divorce Lawyer Will Ask at the First Meeting
There are many questions a lawyer will ask during your initial consultation to gain an understanding of your case. A lawyer may provide you with a divorce checklist in advance of your first meeting so that you can organize your information and be most prepared. Some of the lawyer’s questions will be:
- When did you get married?
- Do you have a Prenuptial Agreement?
- Where do you live? Where does your spouse live?
- Are you presently separated (either physically or financially)?
- Do you have children? If so,how many and what are their ages?
- What are your assets and debts?
- What is your income? What is your spouse’s income?
3 Questions to Ask A Divorce Lawyer On First Visit
- Do I have to go to court (i.e. litigate) for my divorce?
- How long will the process take?
- How much will the process cost?
How to Find a Good Lawyer?
In hiring a lawyer to represent you, you should find a lawyer with a strong reputation who regularly practices in the county in which your case will be heard. Many times people want to seek out the most aggressive lawyer they can find but that doesn’t always yield the best result. Read the lawyer’s online reviews at Avvo to find out what other clients who have worked with the lawyer have to say. You should assess whether you feel that you will work well with the lawyer over the course of your case and if the lawyer has the experience necessary to guide you through the process.
How Colgan and Associates can help you
Our team of trusted divorce attorneys at Colgan & Associates stand ready to assist with your divorce and family law matters. We offer free phone consultations to individuals so that we may better understand their case and offer guidance. If you or someone you know is going through a divorce in Pennsylvania, please reach out to us today at (717) 502-5000