Typically, when someone comes to my office it is because they have decided to separate from their spouse and want to move forward with the divorce process. However, you might be surprised to know that there are other reasons to meet with a family law attorney.
Someone may be experiencing a tough time in their relationship may simply want to know the answers to “what if” In other words, in addition to all of the other considerations, is it legally or financially better to separate? We often have clients come in, listen to the options, and decide to work on the marriage and stay together. We would never advise someone to stay in an abusive or high-conflict relationship simply to avoid the impact of a divorce, but once people hear the financial and more importantly, emotional, toll divorces can take, they are ready to consider other options such as marriage counseling or individual therapy.
Other times, people come in and want to know how to address a legal or financial concern while continuing to remain married. In these situations a post-nuptial agreement may be the right fit. For example, one spouse may be concerned about some debt the other spouse has accrued. While they still love their spouse and want things to work out, they also want the peace of mind of knowing how that debt will be treated in the event the parties separate.
Some people come to my office for resources while they are trying to figure out whether to stay or go and they want be educated and have access to professionals who can help them navigate the process to make an informed decision. We may be able to provide a good financial adviser referral who can give economic guidance regarding separating or staying together.
Family law attorneys often refer people to counselors that have had success in other cases: for couples or individual therapy. And we can point people in the right direction if they want a forensic accountant or a private investigator if they have a suspicion about something and want to know one way or the other where things stand.
If you have never been through the process before, meeting with an attorney can be a very scary thing, but it doesn’t have to be. We try very hard to put people at ease and worry less about being hired and more about educating our clients. You won’t regret spending some time learning about your options. What you would regret is going through the “what ifs” on your own without the proper knowledge and support.