If you are debating whether or not you should hire a divorce lawyer in the Fort Collins area, there are many factors to consider, such as the complexity of your case and your budget. However, before you make the decision to go it alone, you should also consider how a divorce lawyer can assist you through the often stressful and challenging process of getting a divorce.
When you hire a divorce attorney, you should expect that your attorney will help you through your divorce in the following ways:
Explain How the Law Applies to your Case
Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of hiring a divorce lawyer is that a divorce lawyer has studied and understands Colorado divorce law. However, knowing what the law says is only the first part of the equation. Your divorce lawyer is also trained to analyze the specific facts of your case and explain how the law will likely apply to your situation. For example, if maintenance (spousal support) or child support are contested issues in your case, you may think that you can simply go online and look up the maintenance and/or child support formula for Colorado and plug in numbers, and therefore you don’t need an attorney. However, if you meet with a divorce attorney, you will likely find that there is a significant amount of grey area and room for argument with regard to the data that you put into the maintenance or child support formula, which could greatly alter the outcome. A good divorce lawyer will help you to understand what the law is as well as how the law is likely to apply in your situation.
Help You to Understand Your Financial Picture and Create a Budget
When you are going through a divorce in Colorado, you are required to exchange certain financial documents with your spouse. The list of documents that you must provide is extensive, and often times can be overwhelming. It is a divorce attorney’s job to walk you through the financial disclosure process to insure that you are fully complying with all court rules and orders. Additionally, once all financial information is exchanged between spouses, a divorce attorney will compile that information and assist you in understanding the big picture of the marital estate. It is critical that you understand what assets and debts the marital estate is comprised of before you can start discussing how the martial estate should be divided pursuant to the divorce.
Additionally, when two people are divorcing and each person is establishing their own separate household, it is important to understand that your budget will likely change. After all, you are going from your income(s) supporting one household to it now supporting two households. A divorce lawyer can help you to understand what your income (including child support and/or maintenance) will likely look like after the divorce, as well as what expenses you will likely incur so that you can create a budget for after the divorce is complete.
Evaluate Whether an Expert is Needed
In cases where a spouse owns a business, there are certain types of retirement benefits (such as military retirement), or the parties own real property, it may be necessary to hire an expert to provide an opinion as to the value of that property. Experts may also be needed to help determine if an asset is marital property or separate property, and if there is a dispute with regard to children, a child expert may be needed to help determine your children’s best interests. A divorce lawyer is skilled at spotting when an expert may be needed and has a network of experts to help you pick the right person for your case.
Brainstorm Settlement Possibilities
Once all financial information has been exchanged and all property has been properly valued, a divorce lawyer will work with you to brainstorm settlement options. These brainstorming sessions may happen in preparation for a mediation session or simply if you desire to make a settlement proposal to your spouse. On the flip side, if your spouse has provided you with a settlement offer, a divorce attorney can help you analyze that offer and, if necessary, come up with a counter-offer.
Prepare your Case for Trial
If your case does not settle, you will have to prepare to take your case to court for a judge to decide. A court hearing/trial can be intimidating to someone who does not have experience in the courtroom. There are many rules and procedures that must be followed before the day of court, as well as rules of evidence that must be followed during the trial. When you hire a divorce lawyer, you do not need to worry about complying with these rules and procedures, as your lawyer will handle that for you. Your divorce lawyer will also prepare a strategy for your case that is based on legal argument.
If you are unsure whether you need a divorce lawyer or not, it is best to at least consult with a lawyer that you trust to discuss the specifics of your case. Are you in Fort Collins or Northern Colorado and looking for an attorney? Contact us and we’ll let you know how we can help with your separation or divorce.