Heading into an initial divorce consultation, you might be wondering what types of questions the attorney will ask you. During that first meeting, the consulting lawyer is bound to ask you a few important things about your current situation and your wishes. You should be prepared for any meeting with a legal advisor and having even a small idea of what to expect can help you gather the appropriate information to make the most of your consultation. Here are a few questions a divorce lawyer at Shaffer Family Law may ask:
What is Your Living Arrangement?
Each couple divorces at their own pace, and many people separate before they decide to file for divorce. So, before you make any big legal decisions, the attorney will wish to know if the two of you live together or separately. Also, it’s important to determine whom, if anyone, lives in the family home, if you own one.
How Long Have You Been Separated?
If you and your spouse were separated before your divorce, the lawyer will need to know about it. An informal separation may not impact your divorce much, but one that is legal could significantly impact the way in things are handled moving forward. For example, the legal separation may have already determined the rules of property division, child custody, alimony, and so on.
Do You Share Custody of Your Children?
Children under the age of 18 need care, and if you and your spouse have any children together, you need to create a parenting plan. Child custody and child support issues are a complex, stressful aspect of a divorce, and they can be extremely emotional. For this reason, the divorce lawyer needs to know precisely what your wishes are, as a parent, so that he or she can make a legal plan that suits your needs.
What Caused Your Divorce?
Although Washington state is a no-fault divorce state, the reason for your divorce can still impact your divorce process. The attorney needs to know whether you or your spouse wronged one another, especially as it pertains to finances or domestic violence. If your spouse was abusive, they may owe you financial compensation in the form of additional alimony, or even in additional assets during the property division stage.
Also, if there was a situation where one spouse spent a substantial amount of your funds for their own benefit, you could be entitled to compensation. If your attorney knows about the issues in advance, they can be better prepared to advocate on your behalf.
What Are Your Must-Haves?
When your attorney knows precisely what your priorities are, it will make it significantly easier for him or her to build a solid argument in your favor. If, for example, your main objective is to get you full custody of your children and keep the marital home, your lawyer can plan a way to prioritize those goals first. Whenever you meet with a potential lawyer, whether for a divorce, child custody battle, or another family law issue, it helps to be prepared. You may want to prepare a list of questions to get the most out of your consultation.