Going through a divorce can stir up various emotions. Although it might be the right decision, it’s still a challenge to face. You and your spouse must negotiate the terms of the divorce, such as alimony, child custody, and property division. Discussing sensitive issues like these can create conflict and lead to a lengthy and costly courtroom battle.
You should consult an experienced divorce lawyer before proceeding with the legal process. You need someone in your corner to guide you through each step and assist you with negotiations. When you have an attorney representing you during your case, you can feel confident knowing they will protect your rights and interests.
Below are the top questions divorce attorneys typically ask while meeting with a potential client. You should review these carefully, so you know what to expect and can prepare your answers. You should also jot down a list of questions you would like to ask during the consultation so you’ll know more about the divorce proceedings to come.
What’s the Reason for the Divorce?
One of the first questions a divorce attorney might ask is why you’re getting divorced. It might not seem necessary, but your answer could provide the lawyer with valuable information.
New York is a no-fault divorce state. That means you don’t have to prove your grounds for filing. However, if you want to pursue a fault divorce, you can. Things like abandonment, cruel treatment, and adultery are common grounds for a fault-based divorce.
If you have grounds for divorce, it could affect the outcome of your case. The court might consider the grounds you state and factor the details into their decisions regarding child custody, property division, and other terms.
Do You Still Live in the Marital Home?
You or your spouse might have decided to move out after realizing the marriage is over. While that can alleviate some of the tension and stress between you while you’re figuring out how to handle negotiations, the consequences can be severe.
New York is an equitable distribution state. That means the court will divide assets according to what is equitable or fair. The court will review the circumstances of the situation to decide who should keep the marital home.
If you already moved out and your spouse continues to live there, moving you back in could be a challenge, especially if your children also live there. Courts often do what’s in the best interests of minor kids and might not want to uproot their living situation.
Do You and Your Spouse Have Any Kids?
Your lawyer must know if you and your spouse share children. Pursuing child custody can be contentious. Many divorcing couples engage in long, drawn-out fights over who should live with the kids and whether the other should be allowed visitation.
It’s critical to inform your attorney of what you want. Some people seek primary custody and try to keep their spouses from seeing the children because of an alcohol problem or physical abuse. Joint custody might make sense for some couples if the parties are amicable.
What Types of Assets Do You Own?
Since New York is an equitable distribution state, the court will divide property between you and your spouse based on what you jointly own. Anything acquired while married but before the date of separation is considered marital property. That includes assets, such as:
- Real estate
- Bank accounts
- Motor vehicles
- Life insurance plans
- Retirement accounts
Separate property is anything you brought into the marriage or acquired as a gift or inheritance while you were married.
You should document all of your assets before the consultation. Your lawyer needs to know what property you and your spouse share and any assets you own separately. It’s vital to discuss which property you want to keep after the divorce. There’s no guarantee you will get the outcome you want, but your attorney can at least try to pursue the best possible result.
Do You and Your Spouse Have Jobs?
Knowing whether you and your spouse work is vital to determining various aspects of a divorce settlement. If one of you has a job and the other is a stay-at-home parent, the determination about child support or alimony could hinge on this factor.
Significant differences in income could also influence the court’s decision regarding property division. For example, if you make more money than your spouse, the court could decide to leave a large portion of the marital property to your spouse.
The skilled and knowledgeable legal team from The Mandel Law Firm has fought for the rights of our divorcing clients in New York City, NY, for years. We understand how overwhelming a divorce can be. You can count on us to protect your interests and aggressively pursue the terms you want.
Call The Mandel Law Firm today at (646) 770-3868 for your confidential consultation with a New York divorce attorney.