FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS IN SC FAMILY LAW AND DIVORCE

COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS IN STARTING A DIVORCE:

How do I get started?
Do I have to have a lawyer?
Can my spouse and I share a lawyer?
Do I have to pay for a consultation?
What should I bring to my consultation?
How much will my divorce cost?
How long will it take?
Should I move out?
What happens after I hire an attorney?

  • How do I get started?

Prior to discussing a divorce or separation with your spouse, you should speak to an attorney.   A uniformed decision early in your process could set the course for your entire divorce.  Call the office for a personal consultation. I will help you determine your best options. There is certain preliminary information we must have and we must determine if there is any conflict that would prohibit us from representing you.  If we can meet with you, we will schedule a consultation.

  • Do I have to have a lawyer?

You do not have to have a lawyer to get a divorce.  You can find useful resources to file for divorce on you own.  But that is not often the best course of action.  You should at least consult with an attorney to understand what is best for you and whether you will need legal representation.

  • Can my spouse and I share a lawyer?

No.  You and your spouse cannot rely on the same attorney. Every divorce is between two adverse parties even if they are amicable and agree to divorce.  The Rules of Professional Conduct do not allow the same attorney to represent adverse parties.  Besides, practically speaking, it is not in either spouse’s best interests.

  • Do I have to pay for a consultation?

You are paying for the advice and counsel of an experienced attorney without any obligation to hire them to represent you long term.  You are expected to pay for this service and the attorney’s time.

  • What should I bring to my consultation?

After you schedule a consultation, my paralegal will send you a questionnaire that will help you organize your thoughts and information so that you can get the most out of your consultation.  If you have been served with a suit or presented with an agreement, please bring those documents with you AND ADVISE our staff of any court date that has been set.  If we are not available for the Court date, we will give the names of other attorneys to contact.

  • How much will my divorce cost?

There is no way to anticipate the final cost in your action because each case is unique and there are so many factors, including who your spouse hires. During a consultation, I will advise you as to what I will require as a trust retainer to secure payment of hourly fees in your case.  I charge by the hour and the rates vary for staff which may assist me.  I can give you a range of where I think we need to start, but your case costs can exceed your initial retainer or in some cases, take less.  Your money is held in trust and is not distributed until actually earned.  If there is money left in trust, it is returned to you.

  • How long will it take?

There are no general rules on this and each case will take its own time depending on the issues and facts of the case.  Even an uncontested Divorce on the Grounds of one year’s separation cannot take place until a minimum of thirty days after the action is filed.  A fault-based divorce can’t be granted until ninety days after the action is filed.  And issues of property, alimony, custody or child support can take a year or more to be ready for trial.

  • Should I move out?

This depends on the circumstances.  Often there is no consequence to being the one to leave the marital home.  It does not affect your right to have your interest in the home and it does not necessarily mean that you cannot move back in.  But it does need to be discussed prior to your move as you may not be allowed back in the home and here could be complications with accessing your property or your children.

  • What happens after I hire an attorney?

This will depend on your situation.  One factor is whether you have been served with an action.  Temporary hearings can happen very fast.  But your respective issues will determine the pace of your case.  No two cases are exactly alike.

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