As Taproot continues to redefine “general practice”, we are building a community with people who support our clients in other ways. Through our series, Green Space, we will feature interviews with people in our community that relate to what we’re writing and thinking about from week to week. To kick off our first interview, I spoke with Attorney Marybeth Marin who is a divorce and custody attorney in Marquette!
Taproot provides joint divorce services, mediation, and coaching in divorce cases. Through coaching, I work with the client to determine if a traditional divorce attorney is necessary or more appropriate. In those cases, I help the coaching clients understand the overall framework of the divorce process and help them create a plan for hiring a traditional attorney like Marybeth. Here’s My conversation with Marybeth!
Erica: What can people do to prepare for their first meeting with their divorce attorney that will help them get the biggest bang for their buck?
Marybeth: Be prepared to discuss your financial landscape in detail. Examples of questions you should be prepared to answer are:
- What bank accounts do you have: are they individual or joint?
- Do you have individual and/or joint debts?
- What is the value of your retirement account?
- What was your and your spouse’s gross income for the preceding year?
Custody aside, divorce is really a division of the couple’s finances, and I am better able to tell them what to expect from the divorce if I know what there is to divide.
Erica: What is something that people don’t tend to think about early that would help them in future divorce litigation?
Marybeth: It’s important to understand that divorces are hard and expensive. Most people want to focus on WHY they are getting a divorce rather than HOW the divorce can fairly happen. It’s natural, but it increases expense and disappointment in the process.
I need to understand someone’s story to give me context of what got them there and strategically separate the family. WHY is not usually a priority in the “eyes of the law” and there are a few realities that could better set client expectations. A few examples are:
- If you have children, you will not see them every day.
- You are going from a two-income household to two separate households with separate incomes.
- You will, more likely than not, walk away with less than you had.
Next week, we are talking about cohabitation and business/financial agreements between UNMARRIED romantic partners, and I will interview Amanda Knaffla, JD, CTFA. Amanda is a lawyer and a Chief Trust & Wealth Management Officer at a bank in Marquette. She’s also a lawyer who had a private practice in elder law for years before taking this position. I’m looking forward to catching up with Amanda next week, and have a great weekend!