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Exploring the possibilities

Lsja posted 6/14/2020 16:00 PM

I have decided to call an attorney for some advice. I'm hoping I'll learn what my options are should I pursue divorce.

Are initial consults usually free or would I pay. What kind of information should I gather besides financial records, and is that really needed for an first visit?

My infidelity counselor told me some states have groups that help settle divorce outside the courts. It cuts the costs of an expensive financial burden. It's for couples who are in agreement and do not have complications. Anyone had experience with that?

messyleslie posted 6/14/2020 17:56 PM

I paid for all my consultations - it ranged from their hourly fee to a flat $150 or something like that. I got a ton of good information - I didnít need any documents for the consultation. In the meeting with the attorney I ended up hiring we were able to write an outline of what I wanted. It helps to have somewhat of budget outlined if you are looking for child support.

I have heard lots of thoughts on meditation vs attorneys for a divorce. My only advice is to go talk to a financial planner and they can give you some good ideas on what you need and where you can compromise. There are some who focus on divorce situations and can give you info on taxes and stuff like that.

traicionada posted 6/14/2020 18:21 PM

In DFW, there are several firms that offered free 30-minute consultations. I met with several lawyers before I found the right one for me. At work, the social workers make legal referrals for pro-bono representation in cases involving DV.

LadyG posted 6/14/2020 19:07 PM

We have No Fault Divorce laws, so generally, nobody needs to go to Court.

Itís best to start drafting the financial settlement yourself, while you are still thinking straight.

The fewer consultations and fewer hours spent on Lawyers, the better off you will be.

Ratpicker posted 6/14/2020 21:57 PM

Lsja, sorry you have joined us here. While you may not need the actual financial records for a consult with an attorney, a cover sheet that indicates the assets and debts would be helpful. Usually they want to know the length of marriage, children of marriage, their ages. Any previous marriages? other children? Having that information at their fingertips during a consult can be helpful. While some attorneys do give free consults, others will tell you their rate when you schedule. It will keep minutes down if you can provide that cover page. Some attorneys have a form that you fill out either prior to consult or prior to representation. Look on their website for such forms or documents.

I suspect what your infidelity counselor was referring to is called Collaborative Divorce. You can do an internet search that explains it. If your STBX is willing to give you what you deserve, it would be rare for a cheater to cooperate during the collaborative process. If you have to abandon that process and go the full legal route neither of you can use the collaborative attorneys, so the costs start over at dollar #1.

Trying mediation may or may not be required by the courts in your local area. Attempt to mediate was necessary in my state prior to getting any hearing in front of a judge. My mediation session lasted 45 minutes when mediator signed off that the parties were too far apart.

learningtofeel posted 6/15/2020 17:06 PM

If you are employed, check with your employer about an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Some jobs have them, and they often include things like one or two free sessions with an attorney. Lots of times employees don't even know their job has such a thing and it's a great resource if you do.

Muggle posted 6/18/2020 14:40 PM

My first consultation was free. She told me to take what I could get and walk away. We were not married for the 23 years we were together, but had a house, business and 3 children together.

The second attorney charged me $250 for an hour plus consultation. He asked me three main questions. 1. What do you have. 2. What is it worth. 3. Who will want it.

After that he asked about kids, their ages and if I anticipated any push back on primary custody. The remaining question he asked was about pets, and if he would want them. He told me in 25+ years one of the most expensive and nastiest divorces he handled was over the possession of the family cat. He jokingly laughed and told me more people fight over pets than kids, if you can believe that.

Once you sign an agreement, then the attorney will give you a list of things to gather, and things you should not do, such as post on social media. I googled information from there and found additional lists of things people forgot that they wished they'd remembered.

I hired the second attorney, and the first one was completely wrong about what I was entitled to. I got the paid off house, a settlement of money for the business to the tune of 6 figures, and a plethora of other things. I ended up spending about $25k for representation, but it was highly contentious, complicated and took well over a year to finalize.

[This message edited by Muggle at 2:42 PM, June 18th (Thursday)]

messyleslie posted 6/18/2020 15:44 PM

I will also add that I found talking to multiple attorneys helpful. I had a weird feeling about the first one, and he had a "well your ex is going to have to pay, we will take everything we can get" which is great but also not really my style - I wanted someone that would fight for me and for what I deserved but not someone that was combative and wanted to punish my ex.

Another one told me that I should consider staying married until my kids were older because I wasn't guaranteed complete custody, so he was a big no.

Another one told me that I would have no trouble remarrying, His advice about what I could get and how it would work was standard and helpful but that comment just made me feel like he looked at me weirdly - I don't know.

The last one that I ended up hiring sat at a table across from me, gave me some really creative solutions to issues I had (like I wanted to keep my house but I was scared that my ex would default on his support so she suggested that if he defaulted that he would lose his equity in the home, or if it needed to be sold that we keep part of his equity in a trust account that I would have access to if he defaulted.)
She really listened and gave me some good advice on how to actually deal with his specific personality and acknowledged how hard this all was for me. I felt like she was fair, would fight for what I needed to take care of myself and my kids but also didn't have an attitude of wanting to take him for everything he was worth.

Anna123 posted 6/18/2020 17:40 PM

I met with a bunch. One I had the district feeling he was envious of my cheating ex! They were all free consults where I live. Our state also requires mediation before going to court, which is where we settled where each our own lawyer, in separate rooms, with the mediator going back and forth.

homewrecked2011 posted 6/21/2020 01:57 AM

I went to 2 free consults, then paid $100 for an hour long consultation, as I finally knew what questions I really needed answered.

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