If you have not been served a divorce complaint and want to find out about the divorce process, it may take some courage for you to schedule a divorce consultation. However, going to a divorce consultation does not mean you absolutely will be seeking a divorce. An initial divorce consultation can provide you with a plethora of information allowing you to reflect on your situation and determine what is best for your family before taking the next steps. Here are some examples:
1. Identify Your Potential Divorce Issues
Every divorce situation is unique. An initial divorce consultation can help you identify and understand your potential divorce issues. Typical issues include but are not limited to, the division of assets and liabilities, child custody, child support and spousal support.
2. Learn about the Different Divorce Processes Available to You and Your Spouse
If you do decide to divorce, litigating in court is only one option. At the consultation you could learn about how the litigation process works, its pros and cons, and if it is a good fit for your situation. You could also learn about the alternatives to litigation, such as the divorce mediation process and the collaborative divorce process. These two voluntary processes typically cost less than litigation and allow the parties to decide the terms of their own settlement agreement. However, these two processes require the consent of both parties and depending on the situation, may not be suitable options.
3. Determine Preparation
At the consultation, discussing your current situation can help determine what preparation and tasks could be completed before pursuing a divorce. For example, if you are voluntarily underemployed you may decide to obtain more gainful employment that avoids guesswork as to your full income potential.
4. Discuss typical divorce outcomes
Potential divorce outcomes may be discussed at the consultation. These potential divorce outcomes may give you an idea of what your post-divorce life may look like. This information may help you decide if you want to pursue divorce immediately, hold off on pursuing divorce, or perhaps not pursue divorce.
Going to an initial divorce consultation does not mean you will file for divorce immediately. It may actually have the opposite effect. You may decide to take another look at your marriage, work with your spouse, and fix whatever is broken. Or you may decide to wait a certain period of time and then revisit the possibility of divorce.
6. Move Forward
If after an initial divorce consultation you decide to pursue divorce, determine your plan of action for moving forward. Will you be taking the litigation route? Will you be discussing the possibility of divorce mediation or collaborative divorce with your spouse so you can decide your settlement terms together? Take one step at a time, understand your issues and options, and proceed the way you deem best for you and your family.