How do I start the divorce process?

Maybe you decided… or maybe your spouse decided for you.  Maybe you choose to file the complaint for divorce to terminate your marriage, or maybe you were just served with those papers filed by your spouse.  Regardless, you are here: at the beginning of the end of your marriage.  Divorce is a termination of the civil contract of marriage between two people who once lovingly entered into it…until death do they part.  Yet, you and your spouse find yourself here, at this point, alive and at least one of you now wants to part.  Divorce is a process that can take you on a mental, emotional and physical roller coaster that can often have long lasting detrimental effects not only on the relationships you currently have, but also on relationships that you will form in the future.  Your divorce, like most of your life, will be defined by your perspective.  Your perspective will determine the actions that you take during this process.  And as one of the two people going through this intimate process, recognize- first and foremost- that your current ability to make decisions that are in your best interests is too subjective, emotional, and reactive.  What you need to do is to find someone who knows the landscape, who is compatible with you, and someone who will guide you through this process.  You need a lawyer.

So how do you find one?  The internet is great, but let’s be honest…this website is a marketing tool.  While you can find good information and good lawyers on the internet, perhaps the best way to find a reputable divorce lawyer is by word of mouth.  Afterall, reputation is earned, rather than neatly packaged on a glitzy website.  Once you have a few names, spend the necessary time, and perhaps even be willing to invest a little money, in securing a consultation with those lawyers who have been suggested in order to find the one lawyer that you feel has the requisite knowledge, temperament, and experience to be your guide and to advise you on what is in your best interests.

At Boyd, Fernambucq & Dunn, P.C., a consultation usually lasts approximately an hour, but the length usually depends on the complexity of each case.  Each of our lawyers charges a consultation fee that varies among the lawyers depending, chiefly, on their respective experience.  The consultation fee is communicated before the consultation occurs.  Payment of the consultation fee is expected at the time the consultation occurs.  So, plan ahead… you may not want your spouse to discover by a cursory review of joint banking or credit account statements that you have seen a divorce lawyer.

Before your consultation occurs, you will be asked to complete and submit a conflict check form that we will run through our database of clientele we have maintained since 1987, in order to determine whether your spouse or someone who may be intimately connected to your case has already consulted with, or even retained, one of our lawyers.  If no conflict exists, you will then be asked to complete and submit a consultation form designed to elicit pertinent information about your specific case.  These forms pertain to divorce actions, post-divorce actions regarding modifications or enforcement issues, appellate matters, and family court matters.  

At your consultation, the completed consultation form will be reviewed with the lawyer, who will then ask you questions designed to obtain both a clear understanding of the particular legal matter and of the current context in which it presents itself so that your case can be evaluated.  Because the consultation is designed to arm you with information, be prepared to ask questions pertaining to any area of concern, such as:

  • What are the grounds for divorce?
  • How does fault play a role?
  • What should I do if my spouse wants to pursue marital counselling?
  • What types of custodial arrangements are possible?
  • How will child support be determined?
  • What property may/may not be subject to division within the marital estate?
  • Is alimony a possibility and how is it determined?
  • Is my retirement divisible?
  • How are certain assets, such as business interests, valued?
  • What or how can I modify my divorce decree after it is entered?
  • How do I enforce the decree for divorce as it is written?
  • What happens if I don’t comply with the decree for divorce?
  • What should I expect to happen in this action?
  • How much will this cost, and who will be responsible for those fees?
  • If I’m dissatisfied with the divorce decree, how do I appeal?

The goal of the consultation is multifaceted:  1.) you should come away with much more knowledge of the process (and, perhaps, many more questions); 2.) you should have an inclination as to whether your expectations are reasonable and in-line with the law; 3.) you should have an understanding of what the clear expectations of both the lawyer and the client are; and 4.) you should know whether the lawyer you just met with will be a good guide to help navigate you through the process of obtaining a satisfactory resolution to these problems you never wanted.

Rest assured, there will be peaks and valleys along the way.  But there are sunrises and sunsets in your future… this we know.
If you would like to schedule a consultation with any of our lawyers to discuss any divorce matter, post-divorce modification or enforcement issues,  family law matters, or the possibility of an appeal from any final judgment, please contact the particular lawyer’s assistant with whom you would like to schedule an appointment by obtaining their email address here, or by locating this information under the particular lawyer’s attorney profile.

Our goal is to help people in the best way possible. this is a basic principle in every case and cause for success. contact us today for a free consultation. 

Contact Us

Newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter