If you know you are ready to file for divorce, the first step to take toward ending your marriage is to find a qualified divorce attorney to represent your case. For many, this first step involves typing “divorce attorney near me” into a search engine. This will bring you the names of various divorce lawyers in your area, but your search will not end here. The next step is to determine which of the attorneys on your list is the best fit for you.
Divorce attorneys represent their clients through each step of the divorce process and in some cases, through legal issues related to their settlements that arise after they are divorced. The divorce process can vary widely according to a couple’s circumstances and can include mediation sessions, court hearings, meetings with outside professionals, and orders like Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs). Your divorce attorney can assess the factors present in your marriage to determine what you can expect from the divorce process, then help you prepare accordingly.
You should look for the following in a divorce attorney:
In any divorce, the couple’s property needs to be divided. In Michigan, divorcing couples’ property is divided according to the doctrine of equitable distribution, which means that the property is divided according to each partner’s financial and personal needs following the divorce. For example, the partner who will be the children’s primary caregiver may be given ownership of the marital home while his or her spouse receives a larger share of the couple’s savings in exchange. The more assets a couple has, the more complicated this process can be, especially if those assets are not easy to quantify. Small businesses and high-risk investments can both be difficult to value and divide equitably.
If a couple has children, a child custody arrangement must be developed. This is the parenting plan that the couple follows in order to facilitate consistent relationships between the children and both parents. A child support order may also be developed to ensure that the parent with the majority of the time with the children can afford the expenses that come with this, such as higher food and energy bills and the children’s personal needs, such as clothing and school supplies.
In couples where one partner opted to stay home to care for the children and household or take on lower-paying work than he or she would otherwise be able to attain, that partner may seek spousal support. Spousal support, formerly known as alimony, is money paid from one partner to the other to help him or her avoid financial distress while taking steps to become self-sufficient financially. In rare cases, an individual can receive spousal support payments for the rest of his or her life.
To learn more about the divorce process and how you can get yours started, contact our team of experienced divorce lawyers at Iafrate & Salassa, P.C. Contact our firm today to schedule your initial consultation with us, during which we can answer your general questions about divorce as well as any questions you have regarding specific issues in your divorce, such as your income disparity or your child’s special needs.
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