Going through a divorce is a life-changing event that you’re never quite prepared for. No matter how much time you spend researching and planning, it can be difficult. There are common divorce questions that will want to have the answers to. At Calamita Wealth Management, our goal is to ease this transition by providing resources for every stage of the divorce process.
Though you’ll never be able to anticipate every aspect of divorce, it’s important to thoroughly research your options and plan for the future. This includes building a professional team that can help you work toward a brighter future. Hiring a qualified and experienced divorce attorney is a key component, and it’s important that you prepare to ask the right questions to ensure they’re a good fit for your needs.
If you’re considering divorce, here are 6 common divorce questions you should ask to make sure you are getting the most out of your attorney-client relationship.
1.) How Long Will the Divorce Process Take?
While there is no one-size-fits-all process when it comes to divorce, an experienced attorney should be able to provide a rough timeline based on the facts and circumstances of your particular case.
There are many variables that can affect the complexity and timing of divorce, including:
- Amount and titling of assets
- Custody over minor children
- Child support determination
- Spousal support
- Disputes over assets
Understanding the time frame is an important first step when navigating divorce. It will help you know what to expect and when to ask additional questions, aside from the common divorce questions, if the timeline isn’t proceeding as originally outlined.
2.) What Is Worth Fighting For?
This is a hard question to consider, but it’s important to ask both yourself and your attorney for an honest assessment of your circumstances. It can be hard to separate your emotions from the life-altering impact that divorce brings; however, understanding what is and isn’t worth fighting for can save you time, money, and heartache in the long run.
Don’t let your pride or pain prolong a difficult situation if you don’t absolutely have to. This could cause emotional fallout with other family members or even your children. Instead, focus on resolving the situation quickly so that you can begin to heal and move forward. A good attorney should provide impartial insight, guiding you to make decisions that are in your best long-term interest as opposed to what would satisfy your emotions at the moment.
3.) How Much Will It Cost & How Will I Be Charged?
It’s no secret that getting a divorce is expensive, both emotionally and financially. That’s why it’s so important to get a clear idea of the exact costs before initiating the process. The average divorce in the U.S. costs between $12,000 and $15,000; nevertheless, this amount can vary dramatically depending on location and complexity. The last thing you want to do is spend down your assets and completely alter your lifestyle.
Maybe you and your spouse can work together to divide the assets through mediation instead of litigation. Considering the average cost of a divorce that goes to trial can range from $25,000 to $60,000, a collaborative divorce process will always be less expensive than a contentious one. If that is not possible for your case, be sure to ask your attorney questions upfront. How much it will cost? How you will be charged? Will you be paying an hourly fee or a lump-sum retainer? Doing your research ahead of time can help you prepare for the financial expense, and also give you a chance to shop around for the best attorney that fits your financial needs.
4.) How Will You Achieve My Goals?
Just like it’s important to understand how your financial professionals will help you work toward your long-term monetary goals, it’s just as important to understand how your attorney will help you achieve your divorce objectives. They should be able to provide you with detailed insight into your legal rights, how those rights can be protected, and what needs to happen in order to achieve your goals.
Asking this question can help you assess whether you’re willing to go through with the steps required to accomplish your desired outcome, or if you would prefer to adjust your goals instead. This is a great question to ask in the initial consultation as a way to vet the attorney and relieve uncertainty about the divorce process.
5.) Who Else Will Be Working on My Case?
Many people don’t realize that the attorney you hire won’t be the only person working on your case. Attorneys often work with a team of people, including paralegals, legal secretaries, and legal assistants. Understanding the full scope of your divorce team will help you know who to contact regarding specific questions. It will make communication between yourself and your divorce team easier to navigate. Depending on your case, your attorney may even work with your financial team to help integrate all aspects of your divorce plan into your financial plan. This level of service is something we provide at Calamita Wealth Management and certainly something to look for as you interview potential divorce attorneys.
6.) How Should I Communicate With My Spouse?
As hard as you try, maintaining a civil relationship with your spouse may be impossible as you navigate divorce. It’s crucial that you understand how to interact and communicate with your spouse. Aim for a way that won’t put your legal rights at risk. Ask your attorney how you should engage with your spouse, especially if a previously amicable relationship breaks down or if you are struggling to see eye to eye (here’s why that’s okay). Don’t let a difficult or toxic situation spiral out of control. A competent attorney can give you advice on how to handle your spouse. They can also tell you when it’s advisable to stop direct communication altogether.
Are You Asking the Right Questions?
Divorce isn’t easy, but you don’t have to navigate it alone. These common divorce questions can help you find a skilled attorney and make the legal process a little smoother. No matter where you’re at in the divorce process, our team at Calamita Wealth Management can help you plan for your new financial future. Schedule an introductory phone call using our online calendar or reach out to us at (704) 276-7325 to learn more.
Catherine Dematte Burawski is a senior life planner and divorce specialist for women at Calamita Wealth Management. Calamita Wealth is an independent, fee-only wealth management company. When Catherine experienced a life-changing divorce and the resulting financial disarray, she felt like her life was ruined. But through the process, she realized that what she thought was ruin was actually a defining moment. Now Catherine uses her experience and passion to help other women navigate divorce transition. With the help of the Calamita Wealth Management team’s comprehensive financial planning services, Catherine, a Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional℠ professional, provides compassionate emotional support and the guidance necessary for a seamless and empowering divorce transition. She loves to help women see the possibilities of life and move forward with excitement and hope.
Catherine is a Pennsylvania native who has called Lake Tahoe, CA, home for the last two decades. She and her daughter, Mia, enjoy skiing, hiking, paddleboarding, kayaking, river and lake swimming. They also enjoy music, dancing, boxing, and just about any adventure that comes their way (including a future trip to Italy)! To learn more about Catherine, connect with her on LinkedIn.