When Should I See a Lawyer?


A new client, I’ll call her “Diane”, asked me the other day, “When is it appropriate to see an attorney if you think you might be headed for a divorce?” She also wondered if coming in to see a lawyer would automatically mean she would get a divorce. Many of our clients ask this question and the answer is whenever you begin to worry that your marriage may not last, this is when you need to know your legal rights and your legal responsibilities. It does NOT mean that just because you interview one lawyer, that your marriage automatically will end in a divorce. In fact, knowing what might be ahead of you, if you and your family go through a divorce might be a very motivating factor to continue to work on your marriage.

Knowledge about what is realistic in a future divorce situation is good not bad. We all have had situations in which had we known what was ahead, we would have done something different. Divorce advice can be very important in building realistic expectations of the future.

Pre-divorce planning is also a tool that can help a client reduce the impact of a divorce in his/her life. If you sense that the marriage may not last much longer, knowing what the long term effects of decisions you are currently making may be, is really smart. Do you buy a new house, boat, car? Do you take a job out of state? Do you seek counseling and what is the goal of the counseling? All of these are important questions and arranging to see a lawyer well in advance of the divorce becoming a reality is an intelligent thing to do and should not be held against you.