Deciding to file for a divorce is never easy. It’s a very personal decision to make and knowing where to start might feel intimidating. It might seem like there’s no easy place to start but once you have made the decision to move forward, there are only five steps you need to take to get your divorce filed. Let’s break it down:
1. Start looking for an attorney
Ask friends and family for recommendations for attorneys. If your friends or family do not have recommendations, search for attorneys on the internet. You want to find an attorney that is experienced in family law and ideally one that practices exclusively (or nearly exclusively) in family law.
2. Complete at least 3 consultations with lawyers
It is critical that you talk to several attorneys to make sure that the one you choose is a good fit for you. Not all people need the same type of lawyer and not all lawyers are suited for your case. The two biggest things you should look for in a consultation:
- Is the lawyer someone you feel comfortable with talking to and taking advice from?
- Do you understand and are you comfortable with the fee arrangement the law firm offers? (In a future blog we will provide tips on questions to ask a lawyer during your consultation.)
3. Hire an attorney
After you decide which attorney you want to hire, follow the steps of the attorney to officially hire him/her.
4. Decide whether you need a preliminary hearing
At a preliminary hearing, the Court can determine issues including temporary child custody and child support, maintenance, possession of the marital residence, and payment of debts and liabilities. Not every case requires a preliminary hearing. However, the easiest time to request one is in the petition for dissolution (you can request one later if necessary), so it is best to decide if you need one before you file for divorce.
5. Review, approve, and execute the petition for dissolution prepared by your attorney
Your attorney’s office will prepare a petition for dissolution (with a request for a preliminary hearing if necessary) and file the documents in the appropriate court.
Cairns Rabiola Vance, LLC, practices exclusively in the area of family law. We’re a team of compassionate, experienced litigators ready to work with you during this time.
We know family law is complex and sensitive so we focus on the details so you can focus on your family. If you have decided you are ready to proceed with a divorce, contact us to schedule a consultation to see if our attorneys are a good fit for you!