Talking about divorce is tough. While it gets easier as time goes on, when you are still in the process of considering your options, it can tough to admit to anyone that you are thinking about bringing your marriage to an end.
But, when it comes to speaking with your lawyer, it is important to be as open as possible. This is why we strongly recommend choosing a lawyer with whom you feel comfortable discussing your personal, family, and financial circumstances. In order to provide accurate advice and help you avoid mistakes that could have a detrimental impact on your divorce, your lawyer will need to have a clear understanding of all of the information that will play (or that has the potential to play) a role in the process.
What Your Lawyer Needs to Know: 7 Key Pieces of Information
With these considerations in mind, here are some of the key pieces of information your lawyer will need to know:
1. Your Current Assets and Income
Early in the divorce process, both spouses are legally required to exchange information about their respective assets and income. If you withhold information – accidentally or on purpose – this can have potentially significant ramifications for your divorce. In order to prepare the necessary disclosures, your lawyer will need a comprehensive picture of your current financial status.
2. You and Your Spouse’s Separate Property
Under Ohio law, only spouses’ “marital assets” are subject to division during their divorce. Any assets that you or your spouse owned prior to the marriage will generally be excluded (although, there are certain exceptions, and certain assets acquired during the marriage – such as those received as a personal gift or inheritance – can qualify as separate property as well). In order to help you accurately assess your options with regard to the equitable distribution of your marital estate, your attorney will need to know which assets are (and are not) on the table.
3. Current Child Custody and Child Support Arrangements
If you have children from a prior marriage or non-marital relationship, your current child support and custody arrangements could potentially impact the determination of child custody, visitation, child support and alimony in your divorce. Of course, the same holds true for your spouse as well.
4. Steps in Anticipation of Divorce
Have you or your spouse moved out of the family home? Have you had any discussions about the possibility of getting divorced? Any steps that you and your spouse have already taken could have an impact on the rest of the process, so you will need to make sure your lawyer is fully up to speed.
While most divorces are filed on a no-fault basis, Ohio law still recognizes infidelity as a form of marital “fault.” Even in a no-fault divorce, infidelity can play a role in certain aspects as well.
6. The Current State of Your Relationship
Are you and your spouse able to have productive discussions about your relationship? Are you at least on speaking terms? Or, have communications broken down entirely? While there are ways to get combative spouses on board with mediation or the collaborative method even under highly-contentious circumstances, your attorney will need to understand the current state of affairs in order to determine the best path forward.
7. Your Goals Regarding the Outcome of Your Divorce
Finally, when preparing for a divorce, it is important to think critically about what you hope to achieve from the process. What are your goals regarding child custody and visitation? Are there specific assets you want to keep? Will you need to seek alimony? The more you can share about what you want, the more-effectively your lawyer will be able to represent your interests in your divorce.
Speak with a Cleveland Lawyer at Laubacher & Co.
If you live in the Cleveland area and are thinking about filing for divorce, we encourage you to contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation. To speak with an experienced Ohio lawyer in confidence, please call (440) 336-8687 or request an appointment online today.