If you find yourself contemplating a divorce, you probably have a number of emotional and practical concerns about your property, your finances, and if you have children, your parental rights. Talking to an experienced family law attorney can go a long way to alleviating those worries. Here are five major factors that you should consider when hiring a divorce lawyer.
Make Sure You Keep What’s Yours
With few exceptions, most courts consider the property accumulated during a marriage to be community assets, meaning that it’s part of your combined marital wealth. The same goes for debt that you and your spouse accrued after your wedding. Your divorce lawyer can examine your marital assets and liabilities, and negotiate a settlement amount with your spouse’s attorney.
Protect Your Custodial Rights
One of the biggest concerns for divorcing parents is how much time they’ll get to spend with their children. Over the years, the philosophy of the courts has changed. Where judges used to always award full custody to the mother, the courts have moved to approving equitable shared-parenting plans when they offer a minimum of disruptions in the lives of the children. They also prefer parents to develop child custody plans that work for their lifestyles. Your family law attorney can be invaluable in this process. And if there’s a need to modify the plan at a later time, you lawyer can bring a new arrangement before the court.
Get Fair and Consistent Child Support
Child support is usually calculated based upon the individual income of the parents and the amount of overnight stays they spend at each parent’s house. Additionally, if a child has special needs, it could affect the amount of child support that a parent is ordered to pay. A divorce lawyer can review your custody plan and determine the amount of child support that you’re entitled to or required to pay.
You May Be Entitled to Alimony
Alimony isn’t always awarded by the courts, but in cases where one of the spouses didn’t work for a significant part of the marriage, family court judges will often award monthly payments on a temporary or ongoing basis. They may also order a lump-sum payment at the time of the settlement. Alimony can also be awarded in cases where a spouse gave up his or her job and requires vocational training. Ask your divorce attorney about your specific situation.
Avoid Unnecessary Stress and Infighting
Your divorce lawyer will fight to protect your rights. A professional family law attorney has knowledge of the laws affecting divorce and child custody in your state, and is also familiar with the way that the courts view cases like yours. You can avoid unproductive and stressful fights with your spouse by allowing your divorce lawyer to advocate on your behalf. This is a tremendous relief if you’re anticipating an emotional, contentious battle with your spouse.