Sometimes people wait to consult with a family law attorney until after their case has progressed too far and there are less options for an attorney to use to help them. Obviously it is best that you speak with a family law attorney whenever you have questions about how the law might impact your family structure or family finances, but we recognize that this is not always possible. That said, there are circumstances under which you should make an extra effort to consult with a family law attorney. Here are a few circumstances under which we strongly recommend that you speak with a family law attorney if at all possible:
- Prior to Filing for Divorce: When you have decided that you want to end your marriage, or if you know the other party will be filing soon, speak with a family law attorney. An experienced family law attorney will advise you about what you should do in regard to your finances and your family as you prepare for the end your marriage and the transition into life as a single adult.
- If you are Starting to Suspect that Your Spouse Cannot be Trusted: If you are starting to suspect that your spouse is moving financial assets, planning on changing his or her employment or encouraging you to do so, or changing his or her involvement with the children, and you think their actions may relate to a potential family law case, it is important that you also prepare yourself for a family law case. If you are in this circumstance, make sure that you tell your attorney what your spouse has been doing that made you feel suspicious. Ask the attorney what the ramifications of these actions may be on a future family law case. Also ask what you can do to proactively remediate any damage it may cause to your case.
- Before you Sign an Agreed Order: Orders are hard to change after they are entered. Too often we have clients come into our office for the first time with an order signed by the court, that the client is hoping to change. While there are circumstances under which an order can be modified after entry, for the most part it is much more efficient to have the orders you need from the start. For most people they have only been divorced once, while we have helped hundreds of people transition out of their marriages. This means we are able to help clients envision what their lives will be like if they choose to sign the agreed order or what alternatives might suit them better.
It would be great if every person had unlimited access to family law attorneys for every family law question. In reality, people must balance their need for advice versus their ability to afford meeting with an attorney. That said, the repercussions of an unfavorable result in a family law case can have a large and lasting impact on a person’s family and their finances, and the expense is often well worth it. Even if you cannot afford full representation it is often beneficial to at least speak with an attorney to get advice on an hourly basis. (For low-income individuals there may be some free or low cost legal representation available through their county bar association or another organization.)
If you are in one of the above situations, or otherwise need the advice of a Seattle area family law attorney, please contact us today.