Am I Ready to File for Divorce?
Take the following simple quiz to help you determine the answer.
Have you unsuccessfully suggested and/or attempted marriage counseling?
Have you unsuccessfully tried to discuss the possibility of divorce?
Is your spouse unwilling to communicate with you?
Is your spouse addicted to drugs and/or alcohol?
Does your spouse have a problem with gambling or pornography?
Has your spouse been emotionally and/or physically abusive? Click here for more information on domestic violence.
Is your spouse controlling about finances or your whereabouts?
Answering “yes” to more than two of the questions above may mean that seeking a divorce is in your best interests. Read below for answers to frequently asked questions.
How Do I Choose the Right Attorney?
Obviously, hiring the right attorney will greatly impact your case. It is imperative that you interview several attorneys before you make a final decision. Ask family, friends, and your local bar association for a list of referrals. Look through the phone book or on the Internet. Remember, the attorney you choose works for you.
In order to make an informed decision, ask the prospective attorney the following questions:
- Do you specialize in family law? Many attorneys practice several areas of law, while others focus solely on one or two. At Woll & Woll, the practice is solely devoted to family law.
- Ask the prospective attorney if the court in your county has a separate family law bench. Ask the attorney to tell you what judges are currently handling family cases in their county, and perhaps a little about each one’s work style.
- Will you be exclusively handling my case? You want to learn how the firm will handle your case. Make sure the attorney you think you are hiring is in fact the attorney who will primarily handle your case from beginning to end.
- What if my spouse is critical about my choice in representation? Once you have chosen an attorney that you feel confident about, do not let your spouse break that confidence. When your interests are as adverse as those in a divorce or custody action, it is not uncommon for a spouse to tell you that their attorney is better or disparage your attorney. Remember, if you trusted your spouse, you probably would not need an attorney in the first place.
How do I Tell My Children that My Spouse and I Have Decided to Divorce?
There is no one way to best tell your children the painful news that you and your spouse have decided to divorce. A unified parental front is typically the best way to handle this delicate situation. The most important thing to stress to your children is that you love them and that the divorce is not their fault. In addition, it is important to note that your children’s ability to go on and foster healthy relationships of their own is based upon the quality of the treatment each parent bestows on their children and not necessarily how each parent treats one another. If both parents are loving and supportive of their children, the children will be able to go on and establish healthy relationships of their own. Of course, children will have an easier time through the divorce process, and later in life, if both parents attempt to keep their relationship with each other cordial. In the vast majority of cases where two parents will no longer be parenting from one household, they will always be co-parents, raising their children, together.
Should I Involve a Therapist?
If you decide to proceed with a divorce action, this is the time to ensure that you have the support necessary to help get you through this difficult process. Assess your support network of family and friends. Additionally, a therapist may be an integral part of your support network, as a therapist’s perspective may help you develop a fuller understanding of the issues of the case. It is best to interview several therapists to ensure you find one to best suit your needs.
In addition to private therapy, there are other avenues for help. Several area community colleges offer seminars and workshops for individuals going through a divorce.
Try to have your support network in place before you file or as close to the filing of your action as possible.
What is Mediation?
In most divorce cases, a mediator is appointed to assist the parties in reaching a settlement prior to the scheduled trial date. The mediator is usually chosen by the attorneys or by the judge assigned to the case. The mediator is a neutral third person, who has expertise in family law as well as alternative dispute resolution. Reaching a settlement at mediation is voluntary and usually requires compromise from both sides in order to settle the case. If a case is settled at mediation, the mediation agreement is reduced to a judgment of divorce and the case does not proceed to trial. Most cases settle at mediation.
What is Arbitration?
Arbitration is a binding process that takes the place of a trial. The advantage of arbitration is that the parties, with the assistance of counsel, are able to choose their own person to resolve the case instead of the judge that is assigned to the action. If you place your case in arbitration, all disputed issues, which could include such issues as custody, parenting time, child support, retirement, spousal support, debt and division of property will be decided by the person that you and your spouse appoint as arbitrator. The arbitrator’s decision shall be binding.
The disadvantage of arbitration is that each party’s right to appeal the decision of the arbitrator is much more limited than a party’s right to appeal the decision of a trial judge.