Did you know that there are 876,000 divorces per year? If you’re in the process of divore you’re not alone.
In this article, you’ll learn what to discuss with your lawyer and what documents to bring. Read on to discover the essential divorce checklist, so you don’t miss speaking about these important topics.
What to Discuss with Your Lawyer
Making the decision to get a divorce is never an easy one and you want to be prepared prior to meeting with your attorney. It’s important to have a checklist for divorce ready to make sure the important topics and documents aren’t missed.
1. Child Support
When parents divorce, it’s a legal requirement to make sure the child/children are receiving financial support. How much a parent is expected to contribute will be stated in a court order or an agreement formed between the two parties.
The state you reside in will also be a determining factor as well for how much child support is received. There are 3 categories for the expenses of child support, controlled, variable, and fixed. Variable costs go with the child and only happen when the child is with their parent, including food and transportation.
Controlled costs are when the child is with the primary caretaker and includes entertainment, care, clothing, personal money, and other expenses. Fixed costs happen even if the child doesn’t live with their parent, and includes housing expenses such as the mortgage, rent, utilities, and household furniture.
It’s a good idea to compile a list of all your child’s expenses prior to meeting with your attorney. This will help your lawyer determine your child’s needs.
One of the main divorce questions to ask is about who will stay in the property. Whether you have vacation homes, your regular home, or investment properties, these are all important to find out about. Property can also include furniture, cars, and jewelry.
If there are certain items you’re really interested in keeping, speak to your lawyer about these items.
3. Child Custody
This is the most common disagreement during a divorce. Child custody is partially determined by the state you live in. Your child’s emotional and physical well-being will be taken into account as well. Legal custody could be joint, which means the parents split the time with their child.
If it’s decided a parent will have primary custody, the child will live with that parent, and see their other parent certain times. When it’s sole physical custody, the child stays with only one of the parents.
Different factors considered are:
- The child’s relationship with each parent
- The mental and physical well-being of the child
- The stability of the home environment
They could also look at the communication between the parents, and also the distance they live from the child’s school. Also, if your child has any special needs that will be factored in as well. The court could also take a look at both parents’ employment and the responsibilities required for each.
If you have a certain type of child custody in mind, speak with your lawyer so they can advocate for you.
4. Spousal Support
Spousal support is starting to decrease with time as it’s more common for both people in a marriage to be working. If one person in a divorce can’t financially support themselves, alimony is something that’s discussed. Alimony is the amount of money received for a given period of time.
When determining alimony, the courts might look at the couple’s age, length of the marriage, the physical and emotional health for the couple, and their standard of living. They might also take into account education, employment history plus how much they’ve earned and employability for the future.
There’s alimony that only lasts for a certain period of time, and there’s permanent alimony. Longer marriages are more likely to receive permanent alimony. When there’s an economic need, a spouse could qualify for alimony for a certain period of time.
The point of alimony for a limited time is it gives the spouse enough time to get financially established.
Your divorce lawyer can discuss this with you and go over the laws in your state.
Before meeting with your attorney, you’ll want to have all documents ready to bring with you. Bring any pre and post-nuptial agreements, wills, trusts, power of attorneys, bank statements, financial statements, mortgage information, loan documents, and tax documents.
You’ll also want to bring deeds and titles, along with credit card statements, utility bills, and insurance policies. Bring all documents you can think of and any you’re not sure whether to bring or not, it’s best to bring along. The more information you have to bring, the more your lawyer can build up a case for you.
Some other documents you’ll want to discuss are:
- Health and dental insurance for children
- College education
- Your child’s current residence information
- Professional degrees
- Stocks, funds, and bonds
- An estate plan
- Any hidden assets
- Any issues such as kidnapping or domestic abuse
- Health care costs that weren’t covered
- All property
- Business assets
- Any debt
Preparing Your Divorce Checklist
While divorce is an overwhelming process, having a divorce checklist handy will make sure you discuss everything with your attorney that is important. Make sure to bring all documents along, even ones you aren’t sure how important they are.
Are you ready to meet with a well-known and established divorce lawyer? Contact us today and we will make sure to cover everything, and you’ll be comfortable knowing you’re in good hands.
Angela Elliot Frazier is a Family Law Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. She graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law, and has been practicing law for 14 years now. Angela Frazier believes in helping you through one of the most stressful times of your life. Learn more about her experience by clicking here.