Divorce attorney Casey Florance discusses steps you can take to better prepare yourself for a consultation with a divorce lawyer.
Going through a divorce is an extremely stressful time. There are so many decisions you will need to make, and having the advice and wisdom of a trusted divorce attorney may just be the starting point. Here is a primer on some of the other professionals you may need during your divorce process, depending on the issues you are facing.
Therapist/Counselor. Most people in the middle of a divorce would be well-served to have their own therapist or counselor for extra support during the process. Divorce lawyers are not therapists and we don’t take insurance. Get a mental health professional on your side to help make sure you are focused on and able to pursue your own best interests throughout the divorce. It will be important for you to be able to make confident decisions as you move forward, and having an individual therapist/counselor may be key.
Real Estate Agent/Appraiser/Mortgage Broker. If there is a family home (or any other real estate) at issue in your case, you will likely need to know the home’s value, or what kind of work would need to be done in order to maximize the sales price, or even whether you might qualify to re-finance an existing mortgage. You may also need assistance in locating a new home and figuring out exactly what you can afford to buy or rent after the divorce.
CPA/Tax Attorney/Financial Adviser. Many married couples share an accountant and/or a financial planner. For joint assets, joint tax filings, and joint financial goals this may make sense. During a divorce, however, I encourage my clients to identify and hire their own accountant and/or financial planner, so that their individualized goals are addressed and met, both during the divorce process and thereafter. There may be decisions about tax filing status, deductions, and other tax matters; as well as how and whether investments can or should be divided during the divorce. And if the IRS is or may become involved, a solid tax controversy attorney may become necessary. Having trusted professionals who are solely focused on your needs will help you gather the information you need to make the best decisions now and for your future.
Other Attorneys: Bankruptcy, Estate Planning, Immigration, Criminal Defense, etc. Your case may involve any number of legal issues that a divorce attorney is not an expert in, but you will still need advice on those topics in order to make the best decisions possible during your divorce process. Having more than one lawyer may become important, depending on your case. And you will be best served to get your estate plan updated once your divorce is complete.
Private Investigator. Whether you suspect your spouse is cheating or you want proof of what your co-parent is really up to when he or she has parenting time with your kids, you may find yourself in need of a private investigator during your divorce.
At Lerch Early, we are well-versed in, and well-connected to, the additional resources that our clients will need to achieve their goals during a divorce. We want our clients to be able to make informed, intelligent decisions at every step. And our goal is always for our clients to be able to move forward with their lives in a positive and productive way.
Who would have imagined years ago that in 2020 you would be able get divorced from your living room sofa? It is as if it were predicted in the movie “Back to the Future,” like video phones or hoverboards (sort of).
However, this change allowing people to get divorced from their own homes is not the result of some creative Hollywood writer, but because the COVID-19 pandemic occurred during a time when the technology was ripe to go virtual.
The pandemic has caused hardships to many individuals and business. It has forced people to work and do business differently, including our court systems. While the pandemic has been strenuous on our court systems, causing a re-shuffling and backlog of cases, it has also forced our legal system into the digital age.
Our Court system had to quickly adapt to working remotely. Hearings and trials that were almost exclusively in person were converted in a short period of time to occurring virtually over Zoom and WebEx. While no system is perfect and glitches need to be worked out, it is now possible for a person to decide to divorce, find and retain a lawyer and go through their entire divorce process, even if it consists of a full trial, in their own home.
Many hearings are happening quicker and more efficiently. Pre-pandemic it was customary for Courts to schedule multiple hearings at the same time, so when scheduled to be in Court, a client is paying their lawyer to travel, and while in Court there is often significant time spent waiting for your case to be heard. All of this has significantly been reduced when cases are heard virtually, which can be a big financial savings for clients.
While the ability to take care of everything without going anywhere is logistically easier and may have a financial savings, it is important to keep in mind that it does not necessarily make divorce easier emotionally.
For many, divorcing during the pandemic is more difficult. The lack of a personal connection and human touch with their lawyers may be stressful. Moreover, the inability to be surrounded by an in-person emotional support network of family and friends except through virtual and social distancing interactions may be harder not just on those going through divorce, but also on their children.
At Lerch Early, we are highly cognizant of the emotional and financial stresses of divorce on our clients and keep that in mind as we guide them through their divorces.