When someone starts considering divorce proceedings, it is natural they will have a lot of questions. While not every possible question can be predicted, below we present some of the more common questions people have about their divorce, as well as answers to those questions. Of course, every situation is different. Your specific case may have additional facts that may change or modify the answer to a particular divorce question in your particular case. As always, it is a good idea to consult a lawyer to discuss fact-specific questions.
Divorce Question: How long will this take?
Unfortunately, there is no single answer to this question. There are a number of factors that can have an impact on the length of time a divorce takes. Some of those factors include:
- Whether the divorce is based on grounds such as adultery, conviction of a crime, cruelty, desertion, insanity, or voluntary separation
- The number of issues that cannot be resolved without the court
- Each party’s willingness to work towards a divorce resolution
- The approach of the lawyer representing the other party
- The Judge’s calendar and availability.
Depending on these and other factors, some cases can be resolved in a matter of months, while others drag on for years. Once your divorce proceedings begin, an experienced family law attorney will have a better idea of how the proceedings may go, however, some variables cannot be predicted.
Divorce Question: How much will this cost?
The cost of divorce proceedings also varies based on a number of different factors. Some of those factors, such as each party’s willingness to work towards a divorce resolution, and the number of issues that can be resolved without turning to the court for a decision, impact both the time a divorce will take and the cost of the divorce. Other factors, however, are specifically related to the situation of the parties involved.
Family law attorneys charge by the hour. The longer the divorce takes, the more the divorce will cost. However, this is not the only thing that will impact cost. For example, if your divorce attorney asks for a document, and you don’t provide it, your attorney will have to ask for it a second, third, and possibly even fourth time. If you call your divorce attorney every time a question pops into your head, your bill will go up. If you choose to fight over every stick of furniture, this litigation will cost more than a global resolution regarding the cost of furniture replacement.
Finally, some divorce cases require the use of experts. Depending on the facts of a given case, it might be necessary to hire any of the following types of experts:
- Child psychologist
- Child therapist
- Medical expert
- Forensic accountant
- Property expert
- Vocational expert
- Other financial experts
Obviously, these experts cost money. This can increase the costs of the divorce, however, the investment typically is worth it in the long run.
Divorce Question: What happens between the time we separate and the time we divorce?
Good question. Typically, a court will sign a separation agreement, which details the terms and conditions the couple agrees to live by during the pendency of the divorce. This agreement may have limitations on buying or selling property, discuss child custody and child support, and may call for one party to the divorce providing financial support directly to the other party. These decisions are temporary. They may or may not reflect the final disposition of the case.
Divorce Question: Are my conversations with my attorney confidential?
Attorney client privilege makes attorney client communications confidential. It is essential that a client be honest with their attorney about their concerns, their financial situation, and other factors that could impact divorce case resolution. When the privilege attaches, the attorney is not permitted to discuss what a client has told them.
Divorce Question: Can I bring someone with me to attorney meetings for emotional support?
While there is nothing in the law that prohibits one from bringing a friend or family member to a meeting with a divorce attorney, this does impact the attorney client privilege. The privilege only applies to communications made in confidence. If there is a third party present, these discussions are not “confidential” as there is a witness to the conversations. As such, it is generally not a good idea to bring a third party into the room while having discussions about an ongoing divorce case.
Divorce Question: What do I have to do to get the kids full time?
Generally speaking, one party does not get the kids full time while the other party does not have any access to the children. There are exceptions, of course, in certain cases of abuse or where a party is serving time in jail or prison. However, as a general rule, both parents are expected to have access to, and responsibility for the care and raising of the children. This amount of time each parent has with the children can be agreed to by the parents. If the parties cannot agree, the court will make a determination about parenting time for each parent.
Divorce Question: Can I get (or will I have to pay) alimony?
There are different kinds of alimony in the state of Maryland. Whether one is entitled to receive some type of alimony, or must pay some type of alimony, is fact specific. Only an evaluation of each individual case will provide an answer to that question.
If you are considering a divorce, contact the family law attorneys at Fait & DiLima. Our attorneys focus exclusively on family law cases. We can help you with your divorce, child custody, child support, property division, and alimony issues. Call the office today at (301) 888-6384. Let us put our experience to work for you.