If you’re getting divorced or have concerns about your marriage during your marriage, I want you to speak to an experienced family law lawyer.
You may only need to speak to the lawyer for an hour or two, but speak to one nonetheless.
Why do you need a divorce lawyer during marriage?
Marriage is a legal contract governed by state law and people don’t realize, or are in denial, that being legally bound to another in holy matrimony, without a prenuptial agreement is risky.
In California, very risky.
An example, if your spouse is taking equity out of your community property home or using a community property margin account to do almost anything like, starting a business or playing the stock market, and he or she looses the money, that loss will be considered a community property loss. Meaning your one-half is gone too unless your spouse agrees otherwise in writing or on a family court’s record.
Another example, if your spouse is running up credit card debt during marriage and you don’t have a prenuptial agreement, the debt will almost certainly be yours to share even if you were frugal and saved every penny you earned during marriage. “For richer and for poorer.”
If you speak to a family law attorney during marriage you can gain an understanding of your situation and make educated choices. You also can ask your spouse to sign a postnuptial agreement to assume all or reduce your liability or you can make a decision to separate or divorce.
Scientia potentia est – knowledge itself is power.
Why do you need a divorce lawyer during divorce?
Unless you’re a divorce attorney, mediator or family law judge, you probably aren’t aware of all the legal issues, options, solutions, risks and pitfalls in divorce, legal separation or the dissolution of a domestic partnership.
An experienced attorney can open your eyes to those things you don’t know but should. He or she also can help you identify solutions you may not know exist and strategies for achieving your desired results.
An attorney also can ensure all of the substantive and procedural issues in your case are resolved correctly and in entirety.
Divorce Judgments and/or agreements are legally enforceable court orders that are usually very difficult, if not impossible to change once they are entered into or made. So you want to be sure that a.) the choices you are making are the choices you want to make and live with, and b.) your legal court forms or pleadings accurately reflect the agreements you’ve made or orders the Court has issued.
You don’t want a defective Judgment to come back and haunt you.
You aren’t required to hire a divorce lawyer to get divorced, legally separated or dissolve a domestic partnership in California, but I believe it’s in your best interest to do so, especially if you have assets and debts and/or children.
What kind of lawyer do you want to speak with?
In my opinion, the best lawyer to speak with about your case is:
- Licensed in your state
- Has the right type of experience to meet your specific needs
- Is most interested in helping you quickly and efficiently resolve your case
- Is realistic, dependable and likable
- Comes recommended by someone who had a divorce experience you’d like to emulate
If you’re wondering if you can get answers to all of your questions from a mediator, self-help staff member or do-it-yourself divorce book, my response is probably not.
Divorce mediators, who are third party neutrals, usually don’t and won’t conduct discovery, research facts and/or provide a thorough legal analysis of each spouse’s options and arguments. In mediation the onerous is on you to get advice about your rights, obligations and possible actions.
Courthouse self help staff usually are not lawyers and/or may not give legal advice. They can help you with forms, procedures for preparing and filing forms, running child support and temporary spousal support calculations, but but that’s it. Also due to government cut backs, many self help centers have been closed.
Do-it-yourself divorce books can provide a great deal of information about the issues you to consider in your divorce, but most don’t address complex issues and if they do, it can be difficult to learn and apply quickly.
Believe it or not, even if your situation is relatively straightforward and not considered complex, failure to complete your divorce correctly can cause problems in the future. For example, if you do not get legally divorce then marry another person, the new marriage will not be valid and all kinds of issues can arise as a result.
So, the moral of the story is: spend an hour or two and approximately $400 – $1,000 to speak with a divorce lawyer about concerns during your marriage, separation or divorce.
Not sure which type of lawyer you should speak with? You can begin by speaking with me. Schedule a consulting session.