For federal employees who are seeking a divorce, the division of assets can be very complicated. With several different federal benefits systems and unique rules governing how pensions are divided, these cases require specialized knowledge and experience to navigate successfully. Outlined below are some tips for choosing divorce attorneys for federal employees.
Before contacting potential attorneys, be sure you have all of your paperwork collected in order to be prepared to answer their questions. You will need all of the documents pertaining to your federal pension and other retirement accounts, including your Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) or Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) benefits and Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), along with your federal and state tax returns, mortgage statements, pay stubs, credit card statements and other documentation related to your assets.
It is useful to make a list of your current assets and debts to give your attorney an overview of your financial situation. A marital budget listing current monthly and yearly expenses can also be beneficial.
This may be time-consuming to generate, but it is the best way to ensure your lawyer is aware of all of the components that will be involved in your case. The process of gathering your information can also help you to identify which assets will be your biggest concern in the divorce so you can find an attorney with the appropriate experience to help protect what matters most to you.
Choose An Attorney With Experience In Your Area
Some attorneys may practice law in several states, but it is important to look for someone who has experience in your geographical area. An attorney who has recently relocated to your state may be highly qualified and their track record may be stellar, but if they have never practiced law in your jurisdiction, they will not possess the insight necessary to help you navigate local laws.
Laws can vary not only at the state level but also at the local level, so look for someone who is familiar with the regulations in your area. It is also helpful to work with someone who has a familiar relationship with officials and judges in your jurisdiction as they will know the best ways to approach certain aspects of the divorce to improve your chances for a positive outcome.
Ask Prospective Attorneys About Their Experience With Federal Employees
Do not assume that every divorce attorney who advertises their services in areas with a high volume of federal employees will be prepared to manage your divorce. Of the attorneys you are considering for hire, ask how many cases similar to yours they have represented in the past and what the outcome was.
When asking general questions about the divorce process and the division of your federal employee retirement assets, look for someone who answers quickly and confidently. Although attorneys may not go into great detail on specific matters during initial consultations, steer clear of those who do not seem to have a clear idea of how these cases work.
Ask Coworkers For Referrals
It may be uncomfortable to bring up the topic of divorce with coworkers, but if anyone in your office has recently divorced, it is worth asking if they would recommend their divorce attorney. If they had a negative experience, that information can be useful in letting you know which attorneys to avoid.
Seek Divorce Attorneys With Experience In Your Areas Of Concern
If there is a specific area of concern in your divorce, it is important to choose divorce attorneys who are experienced in these types of cases. For example, if you have children and you are worried that there could be a custody dispute, you should look for an attorney with specific experience in child custody cases in addition to experience with federal employee divorces.
If you have a considerable amount of high-value assets, you will want to look for attorneys who have represented high-net-worth individuals in the past to ensure the best outcome for your case.
Meet With Prospective Divorce Attorneys
Once you have narrowed down the list of divorce attorneys to just a few names, schedule a consultation with each one. Divorce can be one of the most stressful experiences in your life, and your financial future, as well as that of your children, is at stake.
Therefore, you will want to choose someone who is patient and respectful with your concerns. You are also going to be talking to them about very private matters; if you do not feel comfortable with an attorney at this level, consider another attorney. If you do not believe you will work well together for any reason, you should take their name off your list, even if they are highly qualified.
Contact The Experienced Maryland Divorce Attorneys At SIEGELLAW
Dividing federal retirement assets is one of the most disputed aspects of a divorce. The family law attorneys at SIEGELLAW are experienced in representing federal government employees in divorce and can help you ensure a fair distribution. Contact SIEGELLAW today to learn more about how our services can benefit you.