Kogut & Wilson Attorneys Address FAQs Prior to Deciding on Divorce
Many prolong the end to their marriage because they are unsure of what to expect from the divorce process. Deciding to get a divorce may be one of the toughest decisions one has to make in their lives, but the process does not have to be daunting.
Get informed with the following questions that are frequently asked before parties move forward with a divorce.
Q: What should I look for in an attorney?
A: Having a responsive attorney can make the process a lot less stressful when you have questions. Clients should expect a response in usually 24 to 48 hours.
It’s important to interview more than one attorney as each have their own style that fits different clients’ needs. Finding an attorney that actively listens to you is crucial. Feel free to try another attorney if you feel uncomfortable in the process.
Q: What if I disagree with my attorney’s advice?
A: Clients need to remember that they are in charge. If an attorney is arguably telling you something you disagree with, remember that this is your case. We’re here to give you advice, lead you down the right path and help make good decisions based on the law.
Q: What is the typical length of the divorce process?
A: Generally, the divorce process takes 18 months to complete, but a divorce lasting up to two years is not completely uncommon. Only two percent of most cases go to trial but occasionally attorneys have to set a trial date to make a decision if parties can’t agree.
Q: Is it okay for a couple to hire one attorney?
A: A family law attorney cannot ethically work with two clients from the same divorce because of adverse interests to each other. The less informed person, or the person who’s less likely to advocate for themselves, is the one that needs the attorney if only one is attained.
Parties can hire attorneys for limited scope who will review paperwork which is recommended for several reasons including real estate transactions. The goal for the attorneys is to unwind the couple financially since numerous joint financial decisions are made in marriage.
Q: I’m getting a divorce; is it okay to fear going to court?
A: When there’s a good team of attorneys that work well together, court doesn’t have to be scary or expensive. Since a courtroom is second nature for an attorney, many forget to engage and assure clients. Be sure to ask questions.
Q: How do I figure out what’s right for me with my financial decisions?
A: The divorce process includes more than just advice from attorneys. Our goal is to educate clients and sometimes that means leading them to talk with other professionals such as a financial advisor or mortgage broker.
Q: What’s the best route for a spouse in a divorce who doesn't have finances for attorney’s fees? Is there an easy way to find attorneys who take an occasional pro bono case?
A: No one has a budget for a divorce. Sometimes it is charged on a credit card and included in the totality of the marital estate. Everything acquired during the marriage, with some exceptions, is considered “marital property,” even if you’re working with someone who doesn’t work or has less money.
We do have a list of pro bono resources, but it is difficult to get a case taken on by one of those attorneys. Additionally, there are agencies that take cases on sliding scales or that can be financially sorted depending on the situation.
Q: How should you work with a parent who appears to be stepping up in an extreme way to avoid child support?
A: Child support is calculated by overnight stays. Equal parenting time is cutoff at 146 overnights per year or six overnights over the course of every two weeks.
The best way to calculate child support is by looking to the past. Wanting to be involved is one thing, but going from a scenario where someone worked 12 hours a day and then suddenly wanted equal parenting time is not realistic. This would be a situation of trying to get no child support and should be brought up early with the attorneys so they can be on top of this issue.
Q: Is there anything I can do to make a high conflict divorce easier when children are involved?
A: Many couples will engage with what we call a parenting coordinator. Instead of going to court on issues involving what a parent is or isn't doing, or if a couple can't make decisions together, they will bring a parenting coordinator in from outside the court process to help make the decision for them.
The goal of a parenting coordinator is to mediate and get the parties to come to an agreement. Sometimes when information comes from an attorney, clients will hear it a little bit better than from their spouse.
Q: Prior to the divorce being finalized, how do courts view one parent making healthcare decisions unilaterally for a child? What recourse does the other parent have in making sure these decisions are made together?
A: This is one of the fundamental issues that must be addressed in parenting agreements which address education, religion, health decisions and extracurriculars.
What people tend to forget is that no one has a bigger right toward their children. There’s a new life moving forward, and everyone will have to adjust and be given the opportunity - if it doesn’t succeed, then things may go back to what they were.
Going into a divorce, most times there is one spouse that generally takes the lead. Attorneys must find out why one spouse did all the work, if it’s working properly and if it’s going to work in the future.
Oftentimes if one party is unilaterally cutting the other out, there are underlying problems. The courts may say that the party can continue making appointments, but they must include the other parent.
Dynamics may change and the couple may need to get re-educated and find a new norm.