According to a 2016 study by the American Bar Association, a majority of people who don’t go to a formal advisor for assistance with a civil justice situation neglect to do so because they believe they have “no need for advice” or that such advice “wouldn’t make a difference.”

The divorce rate in the U.S. has actually gone down quite a bit over the course of the last decade. According to a University of Maryland study, it decreased by 18 percent between 2008 and 2018.

But there are still more than 800,000 couples who decide to divorce every year. And more often than not, they need to call on a divorce lawyer to help them through the legal proceedings associated with getting divorced.

Have you decided that you’re going to seek a divorce from your spouse?

If so, you should consider hiring a divorce lawyer today to make your split go as smoothly as possible. Divorce is never easy, but you can uncomplicate things just a bit by working with the right lawyer.

Here are 5 tips that will help you find the right divorce attorney in your area now.

1. Ask Divorced Friends and Family Members For Recommendations

Although the American divorce rate is falling, there is a good chance that you probably know someone who was divorced within the last few years.

Maybe you have a close friend who just put the finishing touches on their divorce. Or maybe your neighbor moved in next door last summer after their divorce was finalized.

Whatever the case, don’t be afraid to use your friends and family members as resources. They might be able to recommend a great divorce lawyer in town who can deliver superior services to you.

They also might be able to tell you which divorce lawyers to stay away from. There are many people who go through a divorce and find that they don’t like the way their lawyer does things.

You can get a lot of first-hand information from people who went through the process of getting divorced in the recent past. It’ll allow you to start to generate a list of potential lawyers for your own divorce.

2. Search for Online Reviews for Divorce Lawyers

If you’re lucky, you don’t know anyone who has gotten divorced recently. It’s rare to find someone who doesn’t know a single divorced person, but it does happen!

In this case, you obviously can’t rely on your friends and family members to provide you with the names of good divorce lawyers. But there is still a way that you can see what others think about the divorce attorneys in your area.

You can search through online reviews for divorce lawyers to see what kinds of reviews different lawyers have generated. You should aim to read both good and bad reviews for divorce attorneys so that you get a good overview of what they can provide if you agree to work with them.

Between speaking with divorced friends and family members and/or reading online reviews, you should be able to assemble a list of about 5 to 10 divorce attorneys who might be able to help you.

3. Look For Divorce Lawyers Who Can Cater to Your Specific Needs

In the midst of talking to your divorced friends and family members about divorce lawyers and reading through online reviews for them, there is one other very important thing you should keep in mind.

Not all divorce attorneys are going to be able to cater to your specific needs. There are some who specialize in certain types of divorces that might not be right for your particular divorce.

For example, some divorce lawyers work almost exclusively with couples who have children. They’re able to navigate through the different custody guidelines associated with divorces that involve kids.

There are also other divorce attorneys who work almost exclusively with couples who are going to be splitting large amounts of money, properties, investments, and more. They tend to know the ins and outs of these types of divorces and can help a person walk their way through one.

If your divorce could potentially be complicated by kids, money, or any other factors, make sure your divorce lawyer is up for the challenge.

You want someone who has plenty of experience dealing with whatever issue you’re going to face.

4. Interview Your Preferred Divorce Lawyers

At this point, you should have several divorce lawyers that stand out from all the rest on your list. It’ll be time for you to reach out to them and speak with them about handling your divorce case.

During your initial meeting with a divorce lawyer, you should interview them to find out more about them and their approach to handling divorce cases. Some sample questions might include:

  • “How long have you been a divorce attorney?”
  • “How many divorce cases have you worked on?”
  • “Do you specialize in any specific areas of divorce law?”
  • “What is your personal philosophy for dealing with divorces?”
  • “What makes you different from all the other divorce lawyers?”

While speaking with divorce attorneys, you should also see how each one makes you feel as you speak with them.

You don’t want someone who is just going to tell you whatever you want to hear. But you do want someone who makes you feel comfortable while you discuss personal details about your life.

5. Avoid Allowing Your Emotions to Impact Your Decision

There are a lot of people who allow their emotions to get the best of them when searching for a divorce lawyer. They feel angry, frustrated, lonely, demoralized, and discouraged with their regards to their divorce and channel those emotions into their search.

Try your best not to do this. While it’s impossible to avoid dealing with some of those emotions, you need to make a levelheaded decision when looking for a lawyer for your divorce. It’ll increase your chances of having a good experience overall with the lawyer you choose.

Find the Right Divorce Lawyer Today

There are thousands and thousands of divorce lawyers scattered across the country right now. Some are really good and attentive to their clients, while others only seem to work on divorce cases for the payouts associated with them.

Weed through the bad lawyers to get to the good ones and find the good divorce lawyer that you like best. It’ll make your divorce a little less painful and allow you and your soon-to-be-former spouse to part ways on better terms.

Contact us to see how we can help you work your way through a divorce case.

Getting divorced gives you something in common with around half of previously married people. Yes, half of all marriages do actually end in divorce. The U.S. marriage rate is 6.9 per 1,000 while the divorce rate sits at 3.2 per 1,000 population.

With all that divorce comes a fair amount of financial decision making. Splitting assets becomes a fight where each party thinks they have the best version of “equal.”

Protecting yourself during the divorce process is all about understanding how to manage your finances. If you’re not careful, getting divorced can lead to losing more things than your marriage license.

People can and do lose a significant amount of their hard earned money and physical assets. That’s why today, we’re breaking down the top financial mistakes people make during a divorce. Keep reading for our divorce tips.

Divorce Tips #1: Debt, Of all Kinds

Some debt gets classified as “good debt.” Mortgages and car loans are often championed as ways to build credit and quickly gain equity without putting up large amounts of money. That sentiment holds true, but during a divorce, all debt is troublesome debt.

Debt in a divorce is often what’s called unsecured debt. Most people hold unsecured debt as consumer credit card debt.

Unsecured debt taken on during the marriage is a shared liability. Collection companies will come after both parties as the debt is both of your responsibility.

It’s always best to mutually pay off credit card debt before proceeding with the divorce.

#2: Asset Issues

During your marriage, you accumulate things. Those things could be tangible things like vehicles or abstract things like financial assets. Divorce means splitting those things “evenly.”

Let’s start with the tangibles; cars, property, and the like. Equal division of property is not a fair division of property. There’s every chance that you disproportionally financially contributed to some asset. If you’re making more money than your spouse you probably contributed more to car payments, home payments, etc.

Paying extra morally entitles you to large percentages of those items. Obviously, those things can’t actually split into pieces, so instead, you’re entitled to the most valuable assets. Remember, assets that generate wealth, like property, are worth more than assets that depreciate, like vehicles.

Beyond the expensive assets, you’ll also end up splitting everything else you own. Don’t get too attached to things that aren’t valuable. If something has sentimental value make sure you fight for it. However, don’t get caught up on the couch just because you think it’s comfortable.

Financial assets are different than tangible assets. Even if you’re the one managing the investment portfolio, your spouse is entitled to those assets. Always seek a professional opinion before dividing financial assets. Volatile assets don’t make good bargaining chips.

And with financial assets, there’s always…

#3: Taxes and Retirement

Financial assets are often taxed post-divorce. You’ll need to work with your financial advisor to determine the potential tax implications and how they affect your assets’ value. There’s a chance you’ll also have to pay taxes on any property received in your divorce. Always consult with your divorce attorney before making any proposals to your spouse.

Tax implications also extend to your retirement accounts. Joint accounts are subject to taxes if liquidated. However, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order allows your contribution plan administrator to pay money out of accounts. Always get a QDRO order.

#4: Underestimating Your Expenses

Being married changes your financial world. You’re used to having two incomes and a good amount of spending money. Getting divorced significantly impacts your financial situation. You need to start thinking about your new income versus your existing expenses.

Always make sure you’re negotiating for enough assets to cover your expenses. Remember, money can come from alimony or selling off assets. Held financial assets aren’t liquid and won’t help with your monthly expenses.

Your monthly expenses will likely change after your divorce. You might need a new car. Or a different house to live in. You need to account for any unexpected costs that arise from the divorce settlement. Be sure to update your expenses list while the settlement is evolving.

#5: Being Combative

Not all divorces are amicable. Many are tenuous at best, while others are downright nasty. No matter what happened in the marriage, being combative during the divorce proceedings will only lose your time and money.

Yes, you need to stand up for your rights. Your lawyer will ensure you’re getting your fair share. However, don’t start fights over the small things. Dragging out the divorce will only cost you time, which itself is far more valuable than money.

When Divorce Tips Aren’t Enough

The above divorce tips are only a few steps in keeping yourself financially protected during your divorce. Just because you know what to look out for doesn’t mean you’re reading to navigate a divorce alone. That’s where we can offer our help.

Hiring the best divorce lawyer possible ensures that you’re getting fair, strong representation. You need someone in your corner to help create a settlement that’s in your best interest.

Our professionals have years of divorce settlement experience. We’ve seen every type of divorce, from mean to nice and everything in between. We’re financially savvy, legally savvy, and emotionally savvy. Navigating a divorce takes all three traits.

If you’re planning on divorcing your spouse, or are in the middle of a divorce, get in contact with us for a consultation with an intake specialist. We can help you navigate the legalese and come away with a fair settlement that ensures you’re financially stable.

In family law situations like divorce or child custody disputes, it is integral that both parties speak to a lawyer.

Family law cases can be stressful experiences in and of themselves. Without a lawyer, you may have trouble navigating the legal process and protecting your rights. In most cases, it will be in your best interest to have a lawyer review your case.

Nonetheless, most people don’t know how to talk to a lawyer for the first time.

There are a few things you can do on your end to make an initial consultation smoother and more productive. Keep reading to learn how to prepare for your initial consultation.

Organize Necessary Documents

Before your consultation, you should make copies of important and relevant documents. Your lawyer will need these to give you proper advice about your case.

For a divorce consultation, for example, you may need the following documents:

  • Schedule of assets and debts
  • Income and expense declaration
  • Tax returns
  • list of facts about you, your ex, and your children (if you have any)
  • Any relevant evidence (such as text messages and emails)

If you’re unsure of how to obtain some of these documents, your lawyer can provide you with guidance. There may be other important documents to your case that are not on this list.

Be Honest

It’s your lawyer’s job to be an advocate for your rights. To do that, they need to know every detail of your case – even the details you aren’t necessarily proud of.

Being completely honest with a lawyer can be a challenge for many people. After all, this is someone you just met. You may be feeling scared, vulnerable, or hurt by your situation.

But remember that your lawyer is a professional who has plenty of experience with these types of cases. They’ve sat and talked with hundreds of people in your exact situation. Any and all information related to your case is pertinent to your legal strategy, even if it doesn’t paint you in the best light.

For example, it’s not uncommon for a judge to ask a parent to take a drug test during a child custody dispute. If you neglect to tell your lawyer that you use marijuana recreationally, there’s no way for your lawyer to prepare you for this situation.

If you’ve held a separate bank account from your ex or kept a separate property from them, your lawyer needs to know about it. If you don’t tell your lawyer, there’s no way for them to help you protect these assets during a property division case.

Your lawyer is not there to judge you. They’re there to fight for you and your family. Always tell the whole truth, from your initial consultation to the day your case is settled.

Ask Your Lawyer Questions

Come into the consultation with a list of written questions. Typically, the best questions to ask are those that relate to your case and the laws that apply to it. You can also ask your lawyer about their practice.

For example, in a family law case, you could ask your lawyer the following:

  • How long have you been practicing family law?
  • What is your success rate?
  • Is family law your primary focus, or just one of your practice areas?
  • Will anyone else in your office be working on my case?
  • What state laws apply to my situation?
  • What procedures will we have to follow for my case?
  • Which factors are important to child custody/alimony?
  • What strategy would you recommend for my case?
  • Based on what I’ve told you, how would you expect a judge to rule on my case?
  • Is there anything I can do keep the costs of my case down?

During your lawyer meeting, you may come up with new questions about your case and the legal process. Don’t hesitate to ask these questions.

Typically, a free consultation will last about a half hour. You may wish to have consultations with multiple lawyers before you decide to retain one.

Take Notes

If you sign up for a free consultation, you’ll want to make the most of it. After giving your lawyer all of your information, be sure to write down answers the lawyer gives to your questions. Any information you obtain during your consultation can help you during the decision-making process.

Discuss Your Lawyer’s Fees

It’s perfectly reasonable for you to ask your lawyer about their fees. You can also ask them how their pay structure works and the total you can expect to pay for your case.

Even a rough estimate can help you make initial decisions. However, your lawyer may not be able to give you a specific quote for your case. The cost may depend on how your case plays out and whether it goes to trial.

The trial process can be challenging for anyone, but they are particularly challenging for families. Trials are also expensive.

It’s usually in your best interest to avoid a trial if possible, even if you feel like you want your day in court. An estimated 95% of divorce cases are settled outside of a trial.

Typically, a divorce case will only go to trial when there is a major disagreement on child custody or finances.

Keep Your Lawyer Appraised of Any Changes

Should you decide to retain your lawyer, you’ll need to let them know if your situation changes. Any major life changes could influence the outcome of your case.

For example, if you’re in the middle of a divorce and decide to move out of the home you shared with your spouse, this could affect your financial situation. Major offenses, such as a DUI arrest, could greatly affect child custody rulings.

Talk to a Lawyer about Your Family Law Situation

It’s understandable if you’re hesitant to talk to a lawyer about your case. Obtaining a lawyer is a big decision. You may not even be sure if you need one.

But anyone facing a family law issue should at least have an attorney review their case. Consider a consultation. You’ll get some much-needed answers to your questions with no obligation to make a commitment.

The team at Ashby Law has years of experience practicing family law. Contact our Washington family lawyers today to schedule a consultation.

The divorce rate in the U.S. has actually gone down quite a bit over the course of the last decade. According to a University of Maryland study, it decreased by 18 percent between 2008 and 2018.

But there are still more than 800,000 couples who decide to divorce every year. And more often than not, they need to call on a divorce lawyer to help them through the legal proceedings associated with getting divorced.

Have you decided that you’re going to seek a divorce from your spouse?

If so, you should consider hiring a divorce lawyer today to make your split go as smoothly as possible. Divorce is never easy, but you can uncomplicate things just a bit by working with the right lawyer.

Here are 5 tips that will help you find the right divorce attorney in your area now.

1. Ask Divorced Friends and Family Members For Recommendations

Although the American divorce rate is falling, there is a good chance that you probably know someone who was divorced within the last few years.

Maybe you have a close friend who just put the finishing touches on their divorce. Or maybe your neighbor moved in next door last summer after their divorce was finalized.

Whatever the case, don’t be afraid to use your friends and family members as resources. They might be able to recommend a great divorce lawyer in town who can deliver superior services to you.

They also might be able to tell you which divorce lawyers to stay away from. There are many people who go through a divorce and find that they don’t like the way their lawyer does things.

You can get a lot of first-hand information from people who went through the process of getting divorced in the recent past. It’ll allow you to start to generate a list of potential lawyers for your own divorce.

2. Search for Online Reviews for Divorce Lawyers

If you’re lucky, you don’t know anyone who has gotten divorced recently. It’s rare to find someone who doesn’t know a single divorced person, but it does happen!

In this case, you obviously can’t rely on your friends and family members to provide you with the names of good divorce lawyers. But there is still a way that you can see what others think about the divorce attorneys in your area.

You can search through online reviews for divorce lawyers to see what kinds of reviews different lawyers have generated. You should aim to read both good and bad reviews for divorce attorneys so that you get a good overview of what they can provide if you agree to work with them.

Between speaking with divorced friends and family members and/or reading online reviews, you should be able to assemble a list of about 5 to 10 divorce attorneys who might be able to help you.

3. Look For Divorce Lawyers Who Can Cater to Your Specific Needs

In the midst of talking to your divorced friends and family members about divorce lawyers and reading through online reviews for them, there is one other very important thing you should keep in mind.

Not all divorce attorneys are going to be able to cater to your specific needs. There are some who specialize in certain types of divorces that might not be right for your particular divorce.

For example, some divorce lawyers work almost exclusively with couples who have children. They’re able to navigate through the different custody guidelines associated with divorces that involve kids.

There are also other divorce attorneys who work almost exclusively with couples who are going to be splitting large amounts of money, properties, investments, and more. They tend to know the ins and outs of these types of divorces and can help a person walk their way through one.

If your divorce could potentially be complicated by kids, money, or any other factors, make sure your divorce lawyer is up for the challenge.

You want someone who has plenty of experience dealing with whatever issue you’re going to face.

4. Interview Your Preferred Divorce Lawyers

At this point, you should have several divorce lawyers that stand out from all the rest on your list. It’ll be time for you to reach out to them and speak with them about handling your divorce case.

During your initial meeting with a divorce lawyer, you should interview them to find out more about them and their approach to handling divorce cases. Some sample questions might include:

  • “How long have you been a divorce attorney?”
  • “How many divorce cases have you worked on?”
  • “Do you specialize in any specific areas of divorce law?”
  • “What is your personal philosophy for dealing with divorces?”
  • “What makes you different from all the other divorce lawyers?”

While speaking with divorce attorneys, you should also see how each one makes you feel as you speak with them.

You don’t want someone who is just going to tell you whatever you want to hear. But you do want someone who makes you feel comfortable while you discuss personal details about your life.

5. Avoid Allowing Your Emotions to Impact Your Decision

There are a lot of people who allow their emotions to get the best of them when searching for a divorce lawyer. They feel angry, frustrated, lonely, demoralized, and discouraged with their regards to their divorce and channel those emotions into their search.

Try your best not to do this. While it’s impossible to avoid dealing with some of those emotions, you need to make a levelheaded decision when looking for a lawyer for your divorce. It’ll increase your chances of having a good experience overall with the lawyer you choose.

Find the Right Divorce Lawyer Today

There are thousands and thousands of divorce lawyers scattered across the country right now. Some are really good and attentive to their clients, while others only seem to work on divorce cases for the payouts associated with them.

Weed through the bad lawyers to get to the good ones and find the good divorce lawyer that you like best. It’ll make your divorce a little less painful and allow you and your soon-to-be-former spouse to part ways on better terms.

Contact us to see how we can help you work your way through a divorce case.