Since choosing the best attorney is the key to obtaining the most ideal results in your divorce, we’re going to discuss working with a Baltimore divorce attorney in more detail. You’ll have a better understanding of this profession and you’ll be able to determine if an attorney might be something that you need.
Finding and Working with a Baltimore Divorce Attorney
It’s essential to select an experienced attorney to help you through your divorce proceedings in order to avoid expensive financial errors and emotional mistakes. Very important life decisions need to be made that will affect many personal and important issues, such as child vitiation and custody, child support, joint and physical custody, property division, spousal support, debt and property division as well as separation agreements.
Divorce laws can be very complex and are subject to local laws and interpretations so it’s vital that your divorce lawyer be experienced in these areas. Custody battles and insufficient child support can greatly affect your children’s ongoing development in the future.
If you feel that divorce is your only options, it’s important to speak with an experience lawyer to help you find out what your legal rights and responsibilities Do not be hasty when it comes to signing legal documents. Doing so can affect your rights and your children’s rights in the future. Take the time to seek proper counsel before making legal decisions.
To find the perfect legal counsel, don’t just look through the local white or yellow pages. Get a referral from family members or friends. Contact a previous attorney you’ve used before to handle other legal issues for you and ask for a referral.
A great alternative to find legal counsel is your local bar association. Your local bar association should be able to provide information about lawyers how have been sanctioned or potentially a list of divorce attorneys.
When choosing a divorce attorney, seek out one with years of experience. When selecting a lawyer, find out if they specialize in:
- Divorces, particularly spousal support, property division, debt division
- Child custody, including joint custody
- Child access or visitation
- Child support
You do not want to select a lawyer who specializes in other areas such as personal injury, corporate law or criminal law.
What you should do before hiring a Baltimore Divorce Attorney
Before meeting with a divorce lawyer, take the time to think, regroup and organize your financials as well as your thoughts. The below tips can help you decide what you need to do before contacting an attorney.
Take time to think about what you really want from the divorce and what’s really important to you. Don’t allow your emotions to cloud your thinking to expect you will receive everything in the divorce.
Try to determine a fair distribution that you will be comfortable with. Draw up a visitation schedule, if you have children.
Before meeting with an attorney it’s important that you have all your documents organized and ready for review. To assist with asset distribution, your attorney will most likely ask for a list of all your assets as well as liabilities.
Be sure to have a copy of:
- Bank, credit card and 401k statements
- Pay stubs
- Tax returns
- 401k, IRA and pension statements
- Mortgage, car loans and other installment loans
Being reasonable and willing to compromise will help you move quickly through the divorce proceedings and on to the next chapter of your life. If there are items you know are important to your spouse, don’t be spiteful and try to keep them for yourself.
Be willing to let go of “things” and no doubt you’ll be able to keep the items you really want and that are important to you.
Usually the only winners in a long drawn out divorce are the lawyers. Prepare for a 50/50 split in the end.
Many divorce lawyers work for an hourly wage. So if you plan ahead of time, it will help cut down costs and move the divorce process along faster.
Do I need an attorney?
Examine the following circumstances to see if you may need an attorney or not.
- Have you been married for at least 5 years?
- Was there a prenup agreement?
- Did you have children during the marriage?
- Are you or your spouse a stay or home parent or unemployed?
- Have you inherited any money during the marriage?
- Are you in debt?
Schedule a consultation
Once you narrow down who you would like to represent you, schedule a meeting for a consultation. Find out before your visit if there is a charge or if they provide free initial consultations.
During your visit, be sure to find out the following:
- What area of family law do they specialize
- Their availability (are they very busy right now or will they have enough time to attend to your needs)
- Payment method (contingency or flat-fee)
- How long have they been practicing law
- What is their experience with child custody, visitation & child support
- What steps are involved in the whole process and how long with it take
- Who pays for what debts
- What happens to the home and other assets
- What is the attorney’s viewpoint on negotiating a settlement or taking the matter to court
The attorney you select should explain all of the above topics to you and any additional questions you may have during the initial consultation. If you feel like the attorney doesn’t want to answer your questions or you just don’t feel right about using them, don’t be afraid to walk out and find another attorney.
Whatever lawyer you choose, make sure you feel comfortable as you will have to reveal your personal and confidential information with them. When you have the right counsel, along with the right mindset, your divorce proceeding will be less stressful and go along much smoother.