Do you have a problem with your marriage that has caused the desire to get a divorce? If so, you'll likely need to hire a divorce lawyer so that you have the representation that you need during this legal process. Here are a few key things to know about your upcoming divorce and using a lawyer.
Retainers Are Paid Up Front
You'll likely meet with a couple of divorce lawyers before finally picking one that you feel is a good fit for you. However, divorce lawyers are quite different than other lawyers you may have worked with in the past. Unlike personal injury lawyers that work on a contingency basis, divorce lawyers often work on an hourly basis. Since it is unknown at the start of the process how many hours it will take to finalize your divorce, it is common for lawyers to ask that you pay a retainer upfront.
A retainer is basically when you pay money to your lawyer at the start of the process that will be used for their legal fees. The retainer may be enough to cover the entire divorce, or it could be enough to get you started. If the legal fees end up being less than the retainer amount, then you would receive the balance that is left from your retainer after the divorce is finalized. Retainers are used to ensure that your lawyer is able to be paid for their services.
Debts Will Be Split
Many people assume that the only thing that needs to be divided is a couple's joint assets. This is not always true, since any debt that a couple has will need to be split up appropriately as well. This includes credit card debt, student loans, medical bills, and even the remaining balance of a mortgage.
While it is common for debts to be split equally, that is not always the case for very large debts. For example, instead of splitting the debt of an existing mortgage, a couple may decide to sell the home and split the profits.
Divorces Do Not Typically Go To Trial
Don't assume that your divorce will go to trial like you typically see in movies and TV shows. Many divorces start and end in mediation, meaning that both spouses agree upon all of the issues surrounding their divorce. While some issues must be approved by a judge, such as child custody and support payments, you can make those decisions in mediation where it's an outcome that you agree to.
Contact a divorce lawyer for more information.