Nov 22

Headed for a Divorce? Legal Terms to Know Before Talking With a Lawyer

Written by: Megan Dell


The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year. Except for those who are on the verge of a breakup and might be headed towards a divorce. For those with turmoil in their marriage, holidays can quickly become the most stressful time of the year! When kids are involved, holidays are even harder to get through. 

After the winter holidays comes January, which is frequently referred to as the “national divorce month,” as many couples file for divorce in January each year. Ultimately, it’s up to you to make a decision on when to talk to a lawyer and file for divorce! When you do, it’s best to be prepared. We’ve put together a glossary of divorce legal terms you might want to take a look at before talking with a lawyer.

When You Decide It’s Time to File for Divorce

No matter how long you’ve been married, you deserve to be respected and happy in your marriage. You deserve a spouse who does not commit adultery, does not abuse you, and does not habitually use alcohol or other substances to excess.

However, you know better than anyone else whether your marriage can be repaired. Only you can know when your marriage is truly over. Only you can decide it’s time to pursue a divorce.

Once you decide to divorce, here are some tips to prepare for the legal process.

What You Need to Do Before Talking With a Divorce Lawyer

Once you decide it’s time to divorce your spouse, you will start to wonder how your current circumstances will change and what you can expect for the future. To get the most out of your divorce consultation, before the appointment, you should:

1 Prepare a timeline. 

This timeline should include major events in your marriage, including the date you were married, dates any children were born or adopted, approximate dates when law enforcement has been involved with your family, and other significant events.

2 Collect financial documents. 

The most important financial documents for most divorces are pay stubs, tax returns, statements from checking accounts and savings accounts, retirement account statements, and statements for any debts (including credit cards).

3 Prepare emotionally. 

No one gets married with a plan to get divorced. It is normal to feel anger, sadness, and grief. It is also normal to feel anxious about the future. The process of getting divorced is not always easy, and you should prepare for the challenges ahead. One way to get emotional support is to begin seeing a therapist regularly.

divorce legal terms

What You Need to Know Before Talking With a Divorce Lawyer

A divorce lawyer’s job is to design a strategy based on your priorities. But you should be aware that most divorce cases involve some balancing of three factors: getting the right result; getting the result quickly; and getting the result inexpensively. Understanding how to balance these factors is key for feeling empowered during your divorce.

1 Divorce is Easier if You Have Clear Goals.

The hardest divorce cases are when neither spouse knows what they want to achieve at the end. The best direction you can give your divorce lawyer is identifying your top 3 priorities in order of importance.

2 Divorce Can Take Time.

Unfortunately, South Carolina Family Court often moves slowly. There are limitations on how quickly your divorce attorney can make your case progress, even under the best circumstances. Unless your case is completely uncontested, then you should expect your case to take 9 to 20 months to be resolved.

3 Divorce Can Be Expensive.

Because each divorce case is unique, it is impossible to specify how difficult or time-consuming the services might be. The total cost of your divorce may depend on circumstances outside your control, such as the decisions of the Family Court or the actions of your spouse or their attorney. However, there are ways you can reduce the cost of your divorce. And, based on experience, we have developed a tool to estimate the cost of your divorce.

A Divorce Legal Terms Glossary: The ABCs of Family Law and Divorce

Divorce is a legal process. You are probably unfamiliar with many of the terms used. Below, we’ve put together a list of some common legal terms used in divorce cases.

A is for Alimony

B is for Bankruptcy

C is for Child Support

D is for Discovery

E is for Experts

F is for Financial Declaration

G is for Guardian ad Litem

H is for Habitual Drunkenness

I is for Imputed Income

J is for Joint Custody

K is for Kinship Care

L is for Legitimation

M is for Mandatory Mediation

N is for Name Change

O is for Orders

P is for Parental Alienation

Q is for Qualified Domestic Relations Order (“QDRO”)

R is for Rule to Show Cause

S is for Subpoenas

T is for Temporary Relief

U is for Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (“UCCJEA”)

V is for Visitation

W is for Wiretapping

X is for tax eXemptions

Y is for “Your Honor”

Z is for Zipper Clause

Scheduling a Consultation with Dell Family Law PC

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