When you are heading to an initial consultation for a divorce with a New Mexico family law attorney, you might wonder what types of questions you’ll be asked. Your first meeting with the attorney is important as it will form the foundation for your case and your attorney’s approach to it.
It pays to have some idea of what you will be asked in advance so you will feel more prepared and get the most out of your consultation, and it is very likely you’ll be asked the questions covered below.
What Is Your Living Arrangement Right Now?
Couples divorce at their own pace and some people do decide to separate before actually choosing to file for divorce. Therefore, before you make some major legal decisions, the attorney will want to know whether you still live with your spouse or if you live on your own. It is also important to determine who–if anyone–currently lives in the family home if you do own one.
How Long Has Your Separation Been?
Your attorney will need to know if you and your spouse separated before you decided to divorce. An informal separation–you have separate lives but no formal separation agreement–might not affect your divorce much. A more formal separation, however, can have an impact on the divorce going forward. This is because what you have been doing since the separation might impact some issues, such as child and spousal support, child custody, and property division.
Do You Have Children With Your Spouse?
If you and your spouse have children together, you’ll need to work out a parenting plan. Child support and custody issues can be very complex and emotional. Naturally, your attorney needs to know if this factors into your case and what your wishes are as a parent so they can create a plan that will meet your needs.
What Is the Cause of Your Divorce?
You can file for a “no-fault” divorce in New Mexico, which means you don’t need to prove your spouse did anything wrong to get divorced, but your reason for the split may still impact the divorce process. If you discovered your spouse was wasting marital assets by gambling, for example, and that was part of your reason for divorce, this could come into play during property division.
Be very honest about the breakdown of marriage when talking to the attorney at the consultation. The attorney will need all the facts to give you a realistic idea of how your case may play out and to prepare a possible legal strategy. If you leave details out, your attorney will not be able to fully assess your case.
What Do You Consider “Must-Haves”?
It’s easier for your attorney to build an argument in your favor when they know exactly what your priorities are. For example, if your major goals in the divorce are to keep the family home and have custody of your kids, your attorney will work on a plan that prioritizes these goals over all others. Keep in mind that no attorney can guarantee an outcome in your divorce and that you will have to compromise on other things to achieve your main goals. The attorney will review your goals with you if you’re having trouble identifying your main objectives.
It always helps to be prepared before going to your first consultation with a family law attorney. You’ll also probably want to bring some questions of your own for the attorney, so be sure to make a list of those questions in advance so you don’t forget to ask something important.