questions to ask a lawyer when considering legal separation

by Elouise Dicki DDS 10 min read

First, ask yourself: Are you sure you actually need an attorney?

  1. Ask them to describe their approach to the divorce process. Each lawyer you speak to should have a slightly different answer to this. ...
  2. Ask about communication. How will they check in with you throughout the process? ...
  3. Ask how you’ll be able to monitor the status of your case. Many lawyers are incorporating technology into their practices – which is a good thing for you. ...
  4. After you lay out your case, ask where they see things potentially going off track. This is a good chance to get help thinking ten steps ahead. ...
  5. Talk about payment.

Full Answer

What questions to ask a divorce lawyer?

Below is an exhaustive list of questions that you should ask the divorce lawyer you meet with before seeking legal advice. Feel free to skim and take the ones you want! Have Other Questions To Ask A Divorce Lawyer? How do you charge for your services?

Do lawyers like to do the questioning?

Lawyers like to do the questioning--but when choosing one, make sure you ask a bunch from the start. Choosing the right lawyer is a very important decision—whether you were in a car accident, have a medical malpractice claim, or find yourself the target of a criminal investigation.

What questions should I ask when hiring an attorney?

If the attorney or law firm you intend to hire does not have a specific and secure method of storing and transmitting that information, you should ask yourself what else are they not diligent about. 2. How will I have access to my file?

Is the divorce process the same for every lawyer?

Each lawyer you speak to should have a slightly different answer to this. Sure, the divorce process is the same, in terms of paperwork, but your lawyer’s approach will differ. This open-ended question will give you some insight into the strategies they might employ to get you to the finish line.


What should a woman ask for in a divorce settlement?

You can ask for life insurance, a smaller share of your accumulated debt, more of the family heirlooms or jewelry, or a higher percentage of the retirement funds. Just like women, the men can ask for whatever they feel like they're entitled to within the divorce.

What questions should I ask when getting a divorce?

Questions to ask a divorce attorney on the first visit about communicationHow often will we communicate about my case? ... How will we communicate with each other? ... What communication should I have with my spouse about the issues you and I discuss? ... How can I keep communication between my spouse and me amicable?More items...

How do you play dirty in a divorce?

Top 10 Dirtiest Divorce TricksServing Papers with the Intent to Embarrass. You're angry with your spouse, and you want to humiliate him or her. ... Taking Everything. ... Canceling Credit Cards. ... Clearing Our Your Bank Accounts. ... Starving Out the Other Spouse. ... Refusing to Cooperate. ... Jeopardizing Employment. ... Meddling in an Affair.More items...•

How much does a divorce lawyer cost in South Africa?

South African Divorce Lawyers charge hourly rates of between R800 and R4000 per hour. Unopposed divorces are often charged at fixed prices which varies between R10 000 and R20 000. Divorce Lawyers are not allowed to work on divorce matters on a contingency fee basis.

What can be used against you in a divorce?

Spending marital money on extramarital affairs. Transferring marital funds to another person before a separation. Spending unreasonable amounts on business expenditures. Selling marital assets below the market value.

How do you calculate fair divorce settlement?

How the court decides what is a “fair divorce settlement” depends on a number of factors, including:Each partner's individual assets.Contributions to the marriage or civil partnership, both financially and emotionally.Time out of the workplace.Earning capacity.Standard of living before the break-up.More items...•

How do you fight a narcissist in a divorce?

Divorcing a NarcissistDon't Even THINK That Your Divorce Will Be Amicable. ... Get a Strong, but Reasonable, Divorce Lawyer. ... Get a Therapist. ... Assemble Your Support Team BEFORE You Divorce. ... Get EVERYTHING in Writing! ... Stay Out of Court as Much as You Can. ... Find Ways Your Narcissistic Spouse Can “Win” ... Pick Your Battles Wisely.More items...

Why does a narcissist drag out a divorce?

Knowing that you are able to move on without their influence can be unbearable for them. They crave your dependence and loyalty above all else. Without you, they will feel the need to act in an aggressive or jealous manner. This can make a simple divorce case quickly turn into a drawn out affair.

What happens to money in divorce?

State laws are relatively consistent, holding that marital property is subject to division in a divorce, and includes all money earned during the marriage, even if it is in an account solely titled in your spouse's name.

Who pays for divorce in South Africa?

The court will issue an order confirming who pays what. If the two parties can't agree on payments, then the court will rule on their behalf. How property and other assets will be divided. Generally, assets and debts are shared when you get divorced, unless a premarital contract was agreed.

How do you become legally separated in South Africa?

Legal separation does not exist in South Africa even if you are no longer living with your husband and not divorced. According to the law, you are still married. You can divorce in either the Regional Court of the Magistrate Court having jurisdiction in your area or in the High Court.

How long does a divorce take in SA?

An uncontested divorce can be finalized in as little as 4 weeks. If a divorce is contested it may take between 2 - 3 years, but most contested divorces do settle long before they go on trial.

What time do you call a lawyer?

( Required field) Morning (8:00AM to 12:00PM) Afternoon (12:00PM to 5:00PM) Evening (5:00PM to 9:00PM) Other. AM PM.

Can you have a substitute executor in your mother's will?

Your mother's Will should have named a substitute executor. If it did not, you and your siblings can ask the court to appoint one. The lawyer who represented your stepfather may be willing to represent you.

What is the goal of hiring an attorney?

For many women, the ‘goal’ of hiring an attorney may simply be “get me outta this marriage!” But honing in on what you want your life to look like after the divorce dust has settled can be a useful tool for identifying how you want to work through the process of ending your marriage.

How long did it take Elizabeth to get divorced?

Having this goal in mind helped keep things moving, and as a result, her divorce took 364 days between her initial filing and final judgment.

Is it a good idea to talk to a lawyer about divorce?

If you’ve made up your mind and there’s no alternative but divorce, talking to at least a few lawyers is always a good idea. The first consultation is usually always free, so you’ve got nothing to lose. But, you can gain a lot of information during attorney interviews if you head into the conversation armed with the right questions.

Can you represent yourself in divorce?

Most states allow individuals to represent themselves in the divorce process. And, it’s more common than you think: 80 percent of divorces involve at least one party representing themselves. Lots of people go this route – which means you can, too.

How to prepare for alimony?

Alimony is a numbers game. Sometimes the best way to prepare and present the back alimony case is to play the numbers game using experts. For example, forensic accounting experts and vocational rehabilitative experts can help support or defend an alimony claim.

What is a good deal in a case?

Even if your case does not step foot in a courtroom, it’s good to have an understanding of how the law works to get a basic idea of what is a good deal in your case. Of course, a good deal also accounts for subjective things like your particular needs or your spouse’s particular needs.

What is the greatest tragedy in divorce cases?

The greatest tragedy in divorce cases is when a custody battle spirals out of control for months or even years. The attorneys have a lot of say in controlling or mitigating some of the emotional responses in these cases and keeping things under control.

What is single pot divorce?

Divorce cases are ”single pot” cases, where the monies spent on the case can correspondingly lead to a decrease in money available for the parties. Cost-benefit analysis is required at every stage of the game.

How to know if you're getting a reasonable deal?

This requires a lot of trust, so the best thing you can do is check the attorney out thoroughly at the beginning of the process, so you understand how you guys will work together.

Can you get child care tax exemptions in divorce?

However, the parties in a divorce can always agree to do whatever they want with the tax exemptions. It’s important to address tax exemptions as early as the first divorce consultation in your case.

Is divorce easy?

Divorce is not easy , and the vast majority of the people that we consult with are not emotionally ready to pull the trigger. Often a driving force is that there are assets, other financial obligations, or even relationships with children that need to be protected, and the jurisdiction of the court needs to be invoked.

Why is it important to ask an attorney about a complaint?

One of the biggest complaints lawyers get is that their clients feel that they often don’t know what is happening with their case. That is why it is important that you find an attorney you will feel comfortable communicating with. Here are some of the most important questions to ask your attorney when you meet for the first time: 1.

What to do if you have a negative feeling about your spouse?

Even if you have negative feelings about your spouse, it is better to try to deal with those issues on your own instead of fighting them out. Your attorney will work to help you get a fair settlement and protect your interests while you work on moving forward with your life after your divorce.

What is the discovery and disclosure phase?

You will have to go through a discovery and disclosure phase, where you have to find and turn in all your personal financial documents, such as tax returns and bank statements. You may also have to answer questions related to your personal life. Hopefully, you can work out an agreement and avoid court intervention.

What happens when you are amicable in a divorce?

When parties are ethical and open about their financial worth during an amicable divorce, each party will know what debts and assets that the other party has. During a contested divorce, some parties may try to hide their assets. Financial professionals may be needed to track down hidden assets.

Can an attorney see you when you are not at your best?

Your attorney may end up seeing you when you’re not at your best, which is alright if you have a good attorney-client relationship. Experienced family law attorneys understand how difficult divorce is and will help you see past your immediate problems so you can envision yourself moving on and starting over again.

Can you keep an inheritance sole?

If you receive an inheritance, it is best to seek legal advice immediately. It is fairly simple to keep an inheritance sole and separate property but it is also fairly simple for an inheritance to become community property. 8.

Can you have a trial after a judge orders a reconsideration?

Hopefully, you can work out an agreement and avoid court intervention. If not, you may have to have a trial to protect your interests. After the judge enters their final orders, it may be appropriate to file some motions to reconsider or an appeal in your case but that will be discussed with your attorney at that time.

How to feel comfortable with an attorney?

You should feel comfortable from the beginning of your attorney-client relationship that you will be able to have regular communications with your counsel. Make sure that you exchange contact information and agree on the ways that you will stay in touch.

What should a lawyer review with their clients before trial?

Every lawyer should review with their clients the possibility of a negotiated resolution prior to trial. In criminal matters, for example, you may be able to get a good plea bargain. In civil cases, your lawyer might propose mediation, a settlement negotiation process involving a neutral third-party.

How can a lawyer save you money?

Your lawyer can often save you money by delegating routine tasks to firm employees who charge a lower hourly rate. However, your lawyer should be involved in all key aspects and decisions of your case, or should explain to you why a colleague can handle some important part of the matter just as well.

What is the importance of having a lawyer?

Getting a lawyer with the right legal background is essential, but it is also important to know whether your attorney has experience with the judges who will likely preside over your case. If yours is a criminal matter, it is important to know if your lawyer knows the local prosecutors. This courtroom experience can greatly enhance your lawyer’s ability to evaluate the likely outcomes in your case and give you advice that you can rely on.

Why is it important to choose the right lawyer?

Choosing the right lawyer is a very important decision—whether you were in a car accident, have a medical malpractice claim, or find yourself the target of a criminal investigation. Referrals from friends or co-workers can be great, but you need to do your homework to make sure you have the right attorney for the job.

How to discuss case strategy?

In discussing case strategy, your lawyer should give you an estimate of how much time it will take to get to a resolution. Keep in mind that your lawyer does not control the pace of the process and cannot make any promises about when it will be over.

What is a conflict in a lawyer?

If the lawyer’s representation of prior or existing clients would limit the attorney’s ability to represent you, there is likely a conflict. For example, if you want to sue a hospital that the potential lawyer regularly represents, there would be a conflict. A conflict might also arise if the attorney you are interviewing has already been hired by ...

What is Essential in Your Marriage?

When it comes to the decision to divorce, only you know the answer. You’ll feel it in your guts, in your bones. Nancy says that, in her practice, she’s noticed that people don’t choose divorce because they feel optimistic about their post-divorce future, but rather, they feel overcome by their present.

What is Your Pain?

Now, we get to the heart of your considerations. Nancy says to ask: “What is the real suffering that is bringing me to this question of divorce?” If you’ve arrived at the point of considering such a life-changing rupture, you’ve got a serious wound. Probe your feelings to identify the real source of your pain.