Getting a divorce could be one of the hardest decisions you ever have to make, but when the choice is made, a further question remains: when should you get a divorce lawyer? Should you consult a lawyer before you reveal your plans to your spouse, or after? Generally, to protect your interests, it is recommended that you consult with a lawyer as soon as possible in the process. Discussing your legal options with a professional can help clarify your intentions and provide the support you need to inform your spouse of your decision.
If your spouse has hired a divorce lawyer, you should get one, too. Doing so will ensure that your interests are fully represented throughout the process.
At Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, we have developed some simple guidelines to help you determine when you should initiate discussions with a divorce attorney.
When Should You Consult with a Divorce Attorney?
These are solid indicators that you should hire a divorce attorney:
- You have already concluded that you want a divorce and you have questions about your rights;
- Your spouse has hired a divorce lawyer or has served divorce papers on you;
- You suspect that your spouse is hiding or depleting marital assets, or is involved in illegal or unethical activities that may harm you;
- You have minor children and expect disagreements over custody and child-rearing issues.
Further, you should retain a divorce lawyer if there have been any incidents of abuse or violence during the marriage, and you are concerned that divorce proceedings will escalate those kinds of events.
How Will a Divorce Lawyer Help You?
Divorce settlements generally address three primary matters:
- How will assets be divided? Both New York and New Jersey apply equitable distribution guidelines for asset distribution. This means that property will be divided in a way that is deemed to be most fair, which is not the same as a 50-50 division of property.
- Which spouse will have legal and equitable custody of minor children? If the parties are unable to agree on custody, a divorce court might appoint a special guardian to assess custody from a perspective of the best interests of the children.
- What alimony and child support payments will be made? Post-divorce payments are often the most difficult aspect of a divorce settlement. Even if a divorce is amicable, you should get a divorce attorney to review and explain the specific language of alimony and child support provisions. That review will help you to avoid confusion and unpleasant surprises in the months and years after the divorce is finalized.
How Can a Divorce Lawyer Ease the Process?
A divorce lawyer will be your advocate throughout the proceedings, help keep the process as civil as possible and work hard to save you time, money, and stress.
At Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, we understand that a divorce is one of the most difficult decisions that you will make in your lifetime. Our lawyers are committed to helping you make the best choices and move forward with your emotional and financial resources intact.
Our divorce attorneys in Rockland and Bergen counties represent individuals throughout New York and New Jersey. Please call our New York or New Jersey offices at your earliest convenience to schedule a private and confidential consultation with one of our seasoned, compassionate lawyers.