Making the choice to file for divorce is hard. In fact, it’s one of the most
difficult decisions you’ll ever make. No one gets married with the intention
of splitting up — together forever and all that — but it happens, a lot. One
question you need to ask yourself in this process is: do I need to call an
attorney? The short answer is: yes, you probably do. But how early you
should talk to a divorce lawyer is another issue entirely.
There are a number of steps to take to prepare for the divorce process. You can familiarize
yourself with the laws in your state so you’re not taken by surprise, create a plan to care for
any children while this happens, set aside money in advance to cover unexpected costs that
arise, get all of your financial documents in order, organize the relevant paperwork, and more.
Another step you can take is to talk to a divorce lawyer, and talk to a
divorce lawyer early. While all of the rest of these suggestions can be
useful, they can be a bit vague and only provide a bigger picture view of
how to prepare for divorce. Enlisting the services of an experienced
attorney, a professional who has handled similar situations countless times,
is a huge advantage that offers tangible insight.
Every situation is different. The length of your marriage, if you have children, how much
shared property there is to divide, retirement benefits and pensions, the level of contention
and conflict, and many more factors go into a divorce agreement. Whether you go to court or
mediation, or whether things progress quick and smooth, largely hinges on these elements.
A divorce lawyer will be able to provide divorce specific legal advice and
concrete direction with real world applicability. In reviewing your case, he
or she can offer guidance and suggestions based on the particulars of your
case. Hopefully, this steers you towards an optimal outcome.
In many cases, the earlier you talk to a divorce lawyer, the better. When considering divorce, it
will benefit you to talk with an attorney well in advance of any legal action. You may even
want to do this before you broach the subject with your spouse, if possible. It may seem like a
fantastic idea to negotiate as much as you can ahead of time, or even reach a tentative
agreement with your spouse. But doing this without consulting someone first can actually lead
to problems down the road.
It may sound great to get these details out of the way, like it will save
everyone time, money, and headaches. The issue is that once the two sides
come to an arrangement, even an informal one, it’s difficult to go back and
renegotiate if things are out of whack.
A divorce lawyer may point out issues or details you missed. You may not realize the division of
property was skewed against you. Or perhaps a proposed child custody plan isn’t quite as
favorable as you thought. The biggest benefit to professional representation is that they know
what to look for. They may spot things you never even knew existed.
In these cases, if a divorce lawyer reveals new information, people often
encounter resistance. Once you’ve already agreed to certain terms, it can
be difficult to change them. Your spouse may believe you’re being
disingenuous or going back on your word because you already had a deal
in place, no matter how provisional and unofficial. This often leads to
unnecessary, unwanted friction. And in what can already be a tense
situation, no one needs more of that.
In short, it may never be too early to talk to a divorce lawyer — maybe even before divorce
counseling. It may very well feel like you’re jumping the gun, especially if you haven’t had this
discussion with your spouse. But, it can be beneficial to your case. It’s never too soon to take
steps to position yourself for an ideal outcome in divorce.
If you have any questions about your divorce, whether it’s
imminent or looming in the distance, feel free to
contact Goldberg Jones at our San Diego office. We’ll be
happy to discuss the specifics of your case.