Divorce 1st Call & Questions – Tonya MacBeth

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You don't need to have everything figured out on day one.


People often wonder what is the most daunting part about initiating a divorce process, and it has to be that first call that someone makes to a potential attorney. I know that this is a very personal and deeply significant decision that is causing them to reach out to me, and I respect that it's important for that person to know that it's my job to guide them through the process, to let them know what are the hard and fast rules, and where the gray areas are in the law. But that ultimately the decisions we make as we move forward belong to the client, not to me. I don't decide how things move forward.

It is that planning that we do together that brings forth a very important message: you do not need to have everything figured out on day one. That is a process that we will go through together. Some changes will come in our plan of action as more information might come forward, and in how things are proceeding in the court system itself.  But keeping that in mind that you don't have to know everything on day one is crucial. 

Now people also want to know what certain common terms mean, what to expect financially, what to expect interpersonally, what they should expect as it pertains to their children, but these things are individual that we can discuss both on the first day, and as we move through the process together. Not everyone calls me about divorce though. A lot of people call because they've already been divorced and they need to enforce or modify a provision of their divorce decree or of their parenting plan, but as we discuss what the options are the path may be vastly different. It's deeply personal very individual and the goals and tone remain that of the client.

Some of the big questions people bring to me in that initial consultation, or that they ask me at the coffee shop, is how much spousal maintenance and support can I expect to pay or receive, do we have to sell the house—is it required, how will my retirement account be affected, how am I actually going to pay for the divorce itself, and what will happen to the business. Businesses are often community property and big changes can happen. 

Here at Burch & Cracchiolo not only do we have my resources and training as a divorce attorney, but we also have very skilled business law attorneys that I can turn to to ask some very detailed and specialized questions, and it's wonderful to be in such a broad supportive law firm that will allow those questions to be explored with a wide range of voices. And people also want to know how do we handle holidays and parenting schedules, and I hope to address these questions in our upcoming videos.

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