When you’re looking for the best LGBT divorce lawyer to handle your case, you need to know where to start and what to ask. This guide will put you on the right track.
How to Find the Best LGBT Divorce Lawyer for Your Needs
Every divorce is different – what worked (or didn’t work) with your friends, family members and acquaintances might not be the same for you. It’s important that you find the best LGBT divorce attorney for your specific case, whether you have children, lots of assets or debt, or you’re looking for a simple, uncontested divorce.
Related: How to have a successful divorce
Here’s how to find a LGBT divorce attorney and what to ask before you make a hiring decision.
How to Find a LGBT Divorce Attorney
The best way to find an LGBT divorce lawyer is to ask friends and family for a referral. You’ll be able to get a first-hand account of how well the lawyer performed and what her communication skills are like – and you can rely on your friends and family to only refer you to someone they trust. You can also begin your search online as well – make sure you’re looking at reviews from real people.
Once you’ve zeroed in on one or two attorneys you think you’d like to work with, call and ask questions. Most LGBT lawyers are happy to answer your questions and can give you case-specific advice during your consultation.
What to Ask a LGBT Divorce Attorney
When you find an attorney you think you’d like to work with, the questions you need to ask are:
- What is your fee structure?
- How long do you think my divorce will take?
- Will I be eligible to receive (or will I have to pay) alimony?
- What about child custody?
- How are our marital assets divided?
What is Your Fee Structure?
One of the first questions you need to ask an LGBT divorce attorney is, “What is your fee structure?” You need to know what her retainer fee is, how much working on your case will cost per hour, and how frequently she sends bills.
Remember, the more you and your spouse can agree on important issues, the less time (and money) you’ll have to spend with your attorney.
How Long Do You Think My Divorce Will Take?
No two divorces are exactly the same, but based on what you tell your attorney during your initial consultation, she should be able to give you a ballpark time frame. Contentious divorces – those in which the spouses fight over every last detail – take a lot longer than those with couples who negotiate.
Will I Be Eligible to Receive (Or Will I Have to Pay) Alimony?
In California, some people must pay alimony to a former spouse who is entitled to receive it. Anyone has the right to ask the court to award alimony, and the courts consider several factors when determining who is entitled to it. The judge in your case will look at both of your assets, your debts and your financial needs according to the standard of living you established during your marriage. He or she will also consider how old each of you are, how long you were married, and whether the asking spouse is lacking marketable skills.
What About Child Custody?
In the vast majority of cases, it’s best for the parents to decide how to share child custody. You and your spouse know what’s best for your children – and while the judge in your case will step in and make a decision if you can’t agree, it’s easier to arrive at a solution on your own than it is to have your hands tied by a judge’s decree. Most parents choose joint custody in California, because ultimately, it’s what’s best for the children whenever possible.
Related: California child custody laws
How Are Our Marital Assets Divided?
California is a community property state, which means the assets and debts you acquire while you’re married belong to both of you equally. However, some property – the things you brought into your marriage, inheritances and some other types of property – is considered “separate.” That means it belongs to one person alone.
You and your spouse are free to agree to your own property settlement, but the judge in your case will only sign off on it if it’s fair to both of you.
Do You Need to Find the Best LGBT Divorce Lawyer for Your Case?
We’ll be happy to discuss your case with you. Call us at 209-546-6870 to schedule your consultation with a compassionate, caring LGBT divorce attorney today.