Before you do anything new, you ask a lot of questions. Before you book a vacation to a new resort, you ask your travel agent. Before you open a new investment account, you talk to an account manager. Before you buy a house, you talk to a realtor. Before you enroll your child in a daycare or summer camp, you talk to the enrollment coordinator. Before you have surgery, you talk to a doctor. Before you get a divorce, you talk to a Virginia divorce attorney.
Right? I mean, it makes sense. Still, for some reason, for some people, talking to a divorce attorney is a scarier first step than talking to a professional in another line of business. I mean, yeah, when it comes down to it, I’d rather talk to a travel agent, too—and not just because that would mean that we’re getting ready to go on a vacation. But, still, when you experience something new, there are lots of things that you don’t know you don’t know—and you know it would behoove you to get an answer from a professional who knows all those things you don’t already know.
Of course, you can learn. You will learn. But, like anything complicated, there’s a pretty stiff learning curve. When you’re talking about something that divides all the assets and liabilities you’ve accumulated in your marriage –which, for most people, includes real estate, retirement accounts, and custody of minor children, at least – you realize that you don’t know? You talk to someone who DOES know. In this case, we’re talking about a Virginia divorce attorney.
Talking to a Virginia divorce attorney can help you begin to plan how to move your case forward. In a lot of cases, I feel like the decisions that people make at the beginning of their cases are some of the most important anyway, because they have so much to do with the overall trajectory of their case. You definitely can’t underestimate the importance of having a clear understanding of the law and the choices you’ll have to make from the get go, because those choices can have a lot to do with how your case starts. And how your case starts can have a lot to do with how your case finishes—it can set you up for good results or bad results. It can certainly set you up to spend more or less money on your case, too, so it’s important to have a good idea both of where you are and also where you’re planning on going. By working closely with a Virginia divorce attorney, you can make those choices together, and ensure that you get to where you want to go in the long run.
It’s a good idea to start thinking about that now, too. Like everything else, divorce is, in a lot of ways, a compromise. You probably already know that you won’t walk away with everything; if you didn’t know it yet—well, now you do. I mean, if you really think about it, it makes sense anyway. Obviously, you can walk away with everything, because then he’d walk away with nothing. And while there may be many reasons why he deserves to walk away with less, chances are that neither he, his attorney, or the judge will agree with you.
Legally, marriage is a partnership, just like a business partnership. The two of you are responsible for everything that was earned, purchased, or acquired during the marriage. The two of you will take those things after the marriage, too—only you’ll divide them between the two of you, since you can no longer share them together like you did before. So, all that to say that, eventually, you’ll walk away with less.
But you do have a say in which portion you’ll receive, so it’s a good idea to start prioritizing now. Start thinking about what things mean the most to you, and what you most want to walk away with. Knowing the answers to those questions can go a long way towards helping to clue a Virginia divorce attorney into what things are most important, so that we can start to plan our strategy accordingly.
What you want may or may not be something that the court could award (like, for example, if you’ve been married for three years but you want spousal support for life), but figuring out what you want and working backwards can be a helpful exercise, too. Just as what you are entitled to receive can be an eye opener, what you are not entitled to receive can help you begin to get your mind right when it comes to your divorce. Like I said, planning is incredibly important, and a Virginia divorce attorney can definitely help you there.
So, maybe it’s 3am. Maybe you’re at work right now. Maybe your husband is in the next room, and you can’t pick up the phone. For whatever reason, you just can’t call.
If you could talk to a Virginia divorce attorney right now, what would she tell you to do first?
1. Request a free copy of our Virginia divorce book.
If you’re military (including retired military), get this one; if you’re civilian, get this one. You don’t need both, because they cover the same basic topics—one is just specifically targeted to military folks.
Read the book. I mean, obviously. It’ll help educate you about what to expect in the Virginia divorce process, and begin to answer those things that you didn’t know you didn’t know. It’ll help you come up with a list of questions to ask, too, which can go a long way towards helping you prepare for what to expect. It’ll probably also ensure that you know more than your husband, which is a pretty nice place to be, too.
2. Attend one of our monthly divorce seminars.
For most women, a seminar is the first step. It’s kind of a softer option than coming straight in for a consultation with one of our Virginia divorce attorneys (sorry, spoiler alert, that’s point number 3). It’s a great way for you to learn about the divorce process and even to ask your general questions directly to one of our licensed and experienced Virginia divorce attorneys.
If you want to know more or find out about our offerings, click here.
3. Schedule a consultation.
I know. You were hoping NOT to do this, probably. If you’re like most people, anyway, you were hoping not to. But there’s only so many places that you can get information before you wind up meeting with an attorney. Of course, talking to someone and asking questions doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get a divorce; plenty of people come in and then reconcile later (and, also, plenty come in and do go forward with their divorces).
Still, eventually you’ll need one on one, specific advice tailored to your situation, and the best way to get that is by meeting with a Virginia divorce attorney.
You’re on the right track, and you’re definitely asking the right questions. For more information or to schedule an appointment with a Virginia divorce attorney, give our office a call at (757) 425-5200.