For many people, divorce is a long time in the making. If you believe that your relationship is headed towards divorce, knowing when to consult with an attorney is almost as important as choosing the right attorney for your case.

If you are the person initiating the divorce, you should consult with an attorney before you speak with your partner. During your initial consultation, your attorney can advise you about any steps that you should take before informing your spouse of your impending divorce.

For example, you may be advised to make copies of financial documents, take photos of certain items of property, or begin saving up a certain amount of separate money. Once your spouse knows about your plans to divorce, you will lose the element of surprise. By speaking with an attorney before your divorce takes place, you can sometimes use that element to your advantage.

If you are not the one initiating divorce, you will probably need to play catch up. If your spouse has already hired an attorney and filed the initial paperwork, you will need to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Your spouse may have already taken an inventory of assets, debts, and personal property, and you will need to do the same quickly.

Additionally, when you are served with a divorce petition you only have a limited amount of time to file a response—usually around 20 days. Your attorney will need time to get familiar enough with your case to file a response or a request for additional time. Hiring an attorney soon after you are served with the divorce papers will prevent your case from dragging on unnecessarily.

No matter who begins the case, an attorney can help prepare both parties for the months between the initial breakup and the finalized divorce. This may include preparing temporary restraining orders that prevent both parties from spending joint funds or temporary parenting plans that dictate where the children will spend their time.

Whether you are preparing for a future divorce or were caught unaware by an unexpected divorce filing, Pacific Northwest Family Law can help. Our attorneys will make sure your future and finances are protected in your divorce case, and will help you negotiate a divorce agreement or parenting plan that fits your family’s changing needs.

To learn more about your rights and options, contact Pacific Northwest Family Law today and schedule an appointment by calling 509-572-3700.