Are you considering divorce and have questions about what to expect after filing for divorce? Call our Phoenix attorneys to get started today.
1) Choosing A Divorce Attorney
Lawyers often get asked what kind of divorce lawyer someone should look for when they’re contemplating a divorce. I would say to any client, as I’ve said to many of our clients, when you’re choosing a divorce attorney, you’ll find a wide range of divorce lawyers. Should I get that aggressive, bulldog attorney? Or should I get the guy that specializes in fathers’ rights, or that represents females, or abuse victims? You’re going to see people that profess to have a wide range of experience in all different kinds of law. You someone who is a divorce lawyer.
What’s more important than any of that stuff, you need someone that has experience in the law. They need to understand that this is a family. It’s two people’s lives who have been joined together. They’ve in some cases have had children together. This is not just representing someone and collecting a paycheck. It is trying to piece together the family. Sometimes family lawyers forget that these people still have to be involved with each other, especially those that have children, have to be involved with each other long after the Decree of Dissolution has been issued by an applicable court of competent jurisdiction.
These people still have to get along, their children, their grandchildren, and their family members that don’t go away. You have to have someone who understands the dynamic of the family, that are sensitive and empathetic to the issues, the concerns, and to the needs, but that has the ability to balance, and deal with the emotions that come along. Not only to counsel as it relates to arduous representation but sometimes to counsel the client. It’s a very arduous process. It becomes an emotional process sometimes for even the lawyers. We have families ourselves. We have children ourselves and spouses ourselves. You really want someone that has that great balance, that legal prowess, that professional decorum to themselves, but that empathy that understands that this is the dynamic of a family, and that can meet that client where they are emotionally.
Oftentimes, that client being represented by that lawyer is a part of the healing process of them moving forward in their lives. I would always tell someone that’s looking for family law, look at somebody that knows how to aggressively represent you, but that also knows how to walk that fine line and that balance into making sure that they are being holistic in their counsel to you, and they understand the dynamic of the family. You’ll have a spectrum of lawyers out there. Some people that are way too much on the emotional counseling side and some people that are just way too much – they’re just all legal. They don’t care anything about it. Write them a check, they’re showing up to court. You won’t want either of those extremes.
I think you want someone that can occupy that middle space and can represent you arduously, make sure your claims are forwarded, but understand that you at the end of the day are a human. This is your family whether you’re glad to get out or whether you still have some hesitancy in getting out. Each case is different. Have that lawyer that you can connect with, that you understand, that understands where you are, and what your interests are. They can represent that interest and help you move forward to the next place of your life.
2) The Divorce Process
We had a client come in to see us and she was going through a difficult situation. She got to the point where she felt like she could no longer remain married to her husband. As you can imagine, divorces are very stressful. You have financial issues; in some cases, infidelity; in some cases, domestic violence, and so divorces can be very stressful situations.
If you’re considering going that route, or leaning towards going that route, what I would recommend that you do is gather up all of your financial information, all of your records. Get your banking records, your bank statements from your checking account, from your savings account. Find out what’s in your retirement account. Find out what’s in his or her retirement account. Find out all the information you can about your investments, any properties that you rent out, the current balance of your home, and whether or not you have equity in your home. Gather up all of those statements and then come and see an experienced attorney to help you determine what course of action you should take.
3) Children and Divorce
One of the most difficult parts of family law is dealing with children and divorce. I’ve seen this as a divorce lawyer. I’ve seen this, albeit I’m a happily married man now, as a prior divorcee. This is a very tough process for the parents. It’s a very tough process for the children regardless of their age range because things are about to change for those children. Things are about to change for those parents. Arizona has codified, within its revised statute, certain requirements that even attempt to speak to that arduous effect that this would have on children. For example, in Arizona, if there are children involved in a divorce, there’s a mandatory parenting class that you have to take. If you don’t take that parenting class, you could waive your right to parenting time, and/or decision-making authority with your children. That’s how strict Arizona is because it becomes a tough process with the children.
Some people ask, will my children have a say in who they stay with? Who’s going to pay child support? Who are the kids going to spend the night with? Who’s going to be the custodial parent? All of these things are things that are answered during the course of the divorce. There’s a number of factors that are considered. We can sign a Prenuptial Agreement delineating out certain things as it relates to the kids.
They might not understand that broadly you cannot delineate out certain things as it relates to the kids in the Prenuptial Agreement. The court makes a decision for the child that’s in the best interest of the child. What you agree to in a Prenuptial Agreement may not be what’s in the best interest of the child now.
There are certain things that the court will want to see: A Financial Affidavit of Records. They would want to get information with the child. Sometimes the child sits with a therapist or a counselor. Sometimes they get the child’s input depending on the age. Who’s the child been with? Have you been in prison for seven years? You come out and all of a sudden, you want custody rights to your child. There’s no hard-line rule as to what the court would do. The framework is what’s in the best interest of the child, making sure that the child’s life stays as consistent as possible.
Consider meeting with the lawyer. They would do a thorough interview with you about the child, about where the child goes to school. Do the parents live in the same neighborhood? Do they live in the same state? There is a myriad of things that have to be looked at when deciding about the children. What’s important to the divorcees that are going through the process is that divorces can have a long-lasting, substantial, and negative impact on children if not handled properly. We try to walk our clients through that process with a great decree of sensitively but also representing the interest that our clients want. You want to sit down and discuss all these factors with an attorney and come up with a strategy that’s in the best interest of the child because that is what the court is going to use broadly as a standard in making its decision as it relates to the parenting time, and as it relates to decision-making authority, or what’s commonly known as custody in other jurisdictions.
Are you considering divorce and have questions about what to expect after filing for divorce? Call our dedicated Phoenix divorce lawyers for a free confidential consultation and case evaluation.
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel