5 Important Things to Bring to a Divorce Consultation

Nearly 50% of all marriages end in divorce.

Perhaps one of the ways you can view this shocking statistic is that if you’re going through a divorce yourself, you are not alone in your experience!

Still, knowing that you are not a trailblazer does not make the process any more comfortable for most, especially when there is no “rulebook” or “guide” to walk you through the process (there are lawyers though..)

When we start talking about bringing lawyers into your divorce discussions, we want to make sure you have a baseline understanding of what to ask (us or others).

We’ve put together a quick list of essential things to bring with you to any consultation.

Read on.

1. Bring A List of Prepared Questions 

Going through a divorce is an emotional process, but don’t let yourself mistake a divorce consultation for a therapy session. Remember, this is a time to ask legal questions and get answers you cannot find from other people.

Before you head to your divorce consultation, write down at least five questions on a piece of paper or your phone. These might vary based on your situation, but they can include asking about the lawyer’s experience, how much they charge, and what you can expect.

Do not make the mistake of “remembering them in your head.” Odds are you will get caught up in the consultation and forget at least one of your questions.

2. Bring Real Estate Information to Your Divorce Consultation

Make sure you bring along any information about the property you and your partner own. You’ll want to grab things like your escrow papers, mortgage statements, and deeds.

Do this for every property you have owned together. That includes properties you owned in the past, even if you are not currently living there.

3. Bring Relevant Legal Documents to Your Divorce Consultation

Throughout the length of your marriage, you might have gathered a large amount of legal paperwork. You should bring as many of these relevant documents as you can remember.

The most important documents include the following:

  • Separation agreements
  • Social security cards, passports, and other identifying information for you and your children
  • Your children’s birth certificates
  • Prenuptial agreements
  • Any other documents from legal proceedings regarding your partner or children

Reviewing these legal documents will allow your lawyer to better understand your situation during the divorce. They will also help your lawyer construct an estimated timeline of the divorce proceedings.

4. Bring Pay Stubs and Tax Returns to Your Divorce Consultation

Your lawyer will want to know how much money you and your spouse make for the household. To give them a good idea of how your income breaks out, bring the three most recent paystubs from both you and your partner if possible.

You should also bring your most recent tax returns as well. These returns will give your lawyer a better idea of the annual income. 

If you have to choose one of these due to discretion or lack of being able to locate them, pick the tax returns.

5. Bring Incriminating Evidence (If You Have It) to Your Divorce Consultation

You might not have any incriminating evidence, but if you do, make sure you bring it along. This evidence might include photos, videos, notes/messages, or social media posts relating to the divorce. This evidence might be proof of things like cheating or abuse.

Getting a Divorce Consultation

Make sure you go into your divorce consultation with an open mind. You might want to get certain things out of the divorce, but you might not get them all. Instead, make sure you listen to your lawyer’s expert advice.

Are you in the middle of a painful divorce?

Make sure you check out some of our legal services and see how we can help you.

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Amicable Divorces: 6 More Tips for Supporting Your Family Through Divorce

Amicable Divorces: 6 More Tips for Supporting Your Family Through Divorce

You do not think you are ever going to get a divorce when you get married. 

Unfortunately, the reality is that 40-50% of couples in the United States do get divorced! 

Many of these couples have children that can be negatively impacted by the process. 

How can you support your family through a divorce? 

Last month we wrote 10 Tips for Supporting Your Family Through Divorce.  It was so popular, we added 6 more!

The best answer is that no matter what the circumstances are, keep it amicable.

Follow Divorce Laws

Above all else, make sure you are following South Carolina divorce laws.  Believe us in this.. it will cause less stress.  Of course, following the laws means knowing the laws.  In this, you should seek to work with a partner (contact us) that will walk you through this challenging time step-by-step.

Try Not To Play the Blame Game In Front of Family

It does not matter who is at fault in the long run.  Blaming your soon to be ex-spouse is not the way to keep your divorce amicable, especially in front of your family.  You can imagine, going at your spouse for their wrongdoings could cause a lot of anxiety if you have children.  If you don’t, you may inadvertently cause your soon to be ex-spouse to dig in their heels and fight you every step of the divorce.

Focus on the long game here.   You’re only going to win in the end by getting separation from a bad situation.

Focus on the Big Picture

Before you go into mediation or start your divorce hearing, make a list of what is important to you – your needs, wants, and what is non-negotiable for you.  Also, think about how you want your parenting plan to be set up.  Remember to pick your battles and not fight over every little thing.  Doing so will cause tension and can draw out the divorce process a lot longer than if you choose what to fight over.

Negotiate Truthfully

When negotiating the terms of your divorce, do not hide assets or lie about your income.  Being completely truthful will help the process and keep tension from rising.  Another reason to be truthful is that in most cases one spouse has more knowledge of the household finances and bills.  This allows both people to know what is happening.  Being truthful helps the divorce to be transparent and can help each of you trust each other which will lead to an amicable divorce.

Put Children First

If you have children, they are the most important people in a divorce.  They need to know that both of their parents will still be there for them, that they love them, and that it is not their fault that this is happening.  You should also make an effort not to speak overly negatively of their other parent.  Do your children need to be brought into your challenges?

Using a mediator can help you when deciding what you both want for your children.  It is important to set up a parenting plan that you both feel comfortable with and that you can agree to co-parent your children even though you will no longer be married.

Divorce is Not War

Getting a divorce does not have to financially or emotionally drain you.  If you truthfully disclose information and documents, have mutual cooperation, and attempt a reasonable compromise, you can have an amicable divorce.

If you are in the process of getting a divorce or are thinking about filing for divorce, contact us today so we can help you!

Do You Need Help With Your Divorce Today?

Yes, This is Stressing Me Out!

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How to Create a Parenting Plan Prior to Divorce

How to Create a Parenting Plan Prior to Divorce

If you and your spouse are going to file for divorce and you have children, one of the most important things to do first is to create a mutually agreeable parenting plan.

You may be unsure of how to create a parenting plan prior to a divorce.

This article will give you some guidance and resources to help.

What a Parenting Plan Is

A parenting plan, in short, sets up how your children will be co-parented by you and your spouse while you work through your Orders of Separate Maintenance and Support and then after your divorce is finalized.  Your parenting plan will state who has custody of your children, when, how often the children are with each spouse, and can specify whether you or spouse can move outside of their current school district.  Each parenting plan is specialized to the needs of the family it comes from.  Which means, it is best to talk about this, even if you are still exploring your options, with an experienced lawyer.

Who Makes the Parenting Plan

If you and your spouse can set your differences aside and discuss what is best for your children, then the two of you can work together to come up with a parenting plan that fits your family.  If the particulars are going to be contentious, you are likely headed for mediation, or worse.  It may end up being a court that decides the plan in the end.  There is a risk in whichever direction this takes, so make sure you have a chance to get completely honest with your attorney while exploring something like a parenting plan.

What to Think About When Making a Parenting Plan

There are many aspects to think about when you are setting up a parenting plan.  You may not feel that you need to get very specific, but altering your plan later is much harder, and potentially painful, than getting it right the first time.  Consider that this whole process is going to be stressful for all parties and it can end up in a place where ambiguities in your parenting plan become severe bones of contention later on.  Do it right.

Some things to consider when writing your parenting plan:

Residence: Where will your children live?  Residency should be the first thing you decide.  Your children want to know as soon as possible.  You will need to determine which parent the children will live with and what percentage of the time.

Parenting Schedule: You need to make sure that the schedule you set up for your children to spend time with both of you correlates with the schedules of both parents.  Each of you needs to be able to spend enough time with your children).  Try to come up with a parenting time rotation that allows both parents ample time with the kids.  If it is too complicated to set up a regular rotation, then set up visitation time or schedule more extended amounts of parenting time with the parent who is available.

Event Planning: There will be times that your children will be invited to birthday parties or to stay the night with grandparents.  Allowing them to do so on occasion is essential.  Also, planning for birthdays and holidays can make a parenting plan go more smoothly.  If Mother’s Day falls on a day that dad has the children, figure out a way to allow them to be with mom that day and maybe set up an alternative day for dad.

Expenses: You will need to decide how to handle child-related expenses.  For example, if your children are on your spouse’s health insurance, you may want to be responsible for co-pays since your spouse pays monthly premiums.  You can split some expenses 50/50, but you may need to split others differently depending on each household.   You also need to decide child support payments and schedule.  A judge will decide on support payments if you do not do it before your divorce.

Big Future Decisions: Decisions for education, healthcare, religious practices, discipline, and such are big decisions that should be made by both parents.  If you and your spouse can make these decisions together, then decide how communication and decision making will work.  If you are unable to agree, then involving your lawyer might be a good step.

Other: There may be things other than what is listed above that is important to you such as curfew, diet, seeing extended family, etc.  If it is important to either you or spouse, include it in your parenting plan.

Don’t Get Overwhelmed!

Coming up with a parenting plan can be overwhelming, especially if you and your spouse are finding it difficult to get along.  It is not required to use a lawyer during this time, but we suggest that if you cannot agree with each other, or even if you fear that you will not, contact a divorce lawyer.

Contact A Divorce Lawyer Today

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