Divorce. Child custody. Financial asset division. There are a lot of issues for you to deal with in a divorce, and it’s normal to feel like you need a manual to understand all the legal aspects of ending your marriage. To complicate things, your specific manual is going to be different from any of your friends or family because every divorce is different. However, there are five general tips you can use to educate yourself before you go through a divorce.
All consultations are confidential.
This is one of the most common myths about divorce lawyers: that your spouse is going to know about your visits and the information you give during your meetings with your lawyer. The truth is that all of your visits to your lawyer—and everything you say at the meetings—is confidential. Everything is between you and your lawyer.
Make the most of your time with your lawyer.
Use the time with your lawyer wisely (use these tips); go to each meeting equipped with a list of questions and information your lawyer requested so you can make the most of your time (and funds). After each meeting, ask your lawyer what information you should bring to your next meeting for a smooth and (hopefully) efficient process.
School yourself in child custody terms.
If there are children involved in your divorce, take the time to learn some of the main legal terms involved in determining child custody. The Wisconsin court system has processes—and penalties (more about the legalities of child custody and child support here) when it comes to child custody and child support. Know the child custody terms that come up in your divorce proceedings now, and use an experienced lawyer to help you navigate through the child custody proceedings.
Ask your lawyer about your options.
Not every divorce goes to court to decide serious issues; there are other avenues for couples to agree on issues together. To be clear, both parties need to agree during the process, called mediation. During mediation, a facilitator meets with you and your spouse (and your lawyers, if you wish) to work through issues in your divorce.
When you feel in over your head, it pays to hire an experienced lawyer who can assist you through the process. They can help you navigate through your specific situation so you feel like you’ve hired the manual to navigate through your divorce.