Getting Ready to File for Divorce? The Financial Ins and Outs of Setting Yourself Up for the Future

If you are getting ready to file for divorce in Georgia, setting yourself up for financial stability and success should rank high on your list of priorities. A divorce involves some of the most important financial decisions you will go through in your lifetime, and many of these decisions cannot be changed in the future. There will be a laundry list of things you need to do before you can really begin the process. At Dreyer Law, we know that getting your list together can sometimes feel like a full-time job. You juggle dozens of things simultaneously, including making sure you are taking care of yourself, your children, your investments, and your future. At the same time, many people do not want to destroy their partners, but they do want to financially set themselves up for the future. Although it is difficult to table emotions that can sometimes cloud your judgement, divorce is usually best handled like a business transaction, where you divide assets and debt and find parity in the dissolution of the marriage for the benefit of both parties. 

If you want to give yourself the best chance to come out the other side with minimal damage and financial stability, you should start by taking the following steps: 

Be Confident This Is What You Want to Do 

Divorce is traumatic even in the most amicable of situations. You need to be 100% certain that this is what you wantthere is no turning back or do-overs. While you can come back from this, it is a mental hardship that will take a long time to get over – and this is just for the two of you. Add in your children, the in-laws, friends, coworkers, and anyone else, and it gets messy. Before you begin dividing assets and financially disentangling from one another, be confident divorce is your best option.  

Get Financially Organized 

Divorce is complicated, so you will need to have information readily available or attainable because you will need to make hundreds of small, but significant, decisions that will impact both you and your family. You need to be extremely organized when it comes to your finances, including assets and debts. For some families, it is productive to work together with your spouse to ensure that you have a complete list of your debts, assets, property, financial statements, tax returns, bank accounts, credit card accounts, insurance policies, mortgage statements, car loans, retirement accounts, and anything else that seems applicable.  

Check Your Credit Score 

Credit will be a key factor in setting yourself up for a stable financial future following your divorce, so you must protect it. Moving forward, your credit score will help you rent a new place, obtain a mortgage, get your own credit cards, and more. If you are going to need to apply for these things, you will need to have a good, healthy credit score of your own. If you know your credit is somewhat low, begin trying to repair it as soon as possible.  This may also give you insight into assets and liabilities about which you may not have been fully informed by your spouse.   

Understand Your Debts 

Especially if you were not the breadwinner or the financially savvy half of your marriage, you need to start understanding the debts that the two of you hold. From credit cards, to mortgages, to car loans, to anything you owe the banks, you absolutely need to understand what you need to pay and how to split up that debt fairly. Debt does not just vanish into thin air during a divorce. 

Pick Your Battles 

To say divorce is not easy would be an understatement. It is a “give and take” battle, and you are going to have to concede some things. So, how do you handle this? It is best to sit down and really think about the things you want to fight for. Maybe it is the business that has been in your family forever or maybe it is that vintage car that is in both of your names. It is best to prioritize the assets you want to fight for, know your finances and what you can afford, and come to grips with the reality that you will have to give some things up. 

Know Your Financial Limits 

Pushing emotions to the side and being financially smart in your divorce can truly make or break your outcome. Part of determining what to fight for means thinking about what you can realistically afford. If you cannot afford certain living expenses, it probably makes sense to fight for more money instead of possessions. Be smart and assess your situation thoroughly to fight for what benefits you most. 

Work with a Lawyer Who Understands Your Situation 

Even if you both want out and your divorce seems like it will be completely amicable, you need to work with an experienced divorce attorney who can handle high asset or complex financial circumstances and will have your best interests at heart and fight for the things you want most. Your ex-spouse could turn on a dime and having a knowledgeable divorce lawyer will ensure your rights and assets remain protected. 

While you are getting ready to file for divorce in Coweta Georgia, you need to be prepared and ensure that you check every box. Luckily, you do not have to fight this battle alone. At Dreyer Law, our experienced legal team can help you build a strong case that works best for you and your family. Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation.  

Frequently Asked Questions about Child Support

Child support cases can be incredibly complex and overwhelming, which is why we have compiled and answered some frequently asked questions. To learn more about child support, read on. 

How much will I pay in child support? 

Child support payments vary on a case-by-case basis, so the amount you pay depends largely on your income. The court will determine a fair child support obligation based on several factors, including the income of each parent, each parent’s employment status, health insurance premiums attributed to the child/children, health care costs, special expenses for the child/children and other child support obligations each parent’s tax obligations. The child custody arrangement will also play a part in determining how child support will be paid. 

What is the average child support payment in Coweta County? 

As stated above, several different factors determine how much a parent must pay in child support. There is no standardized payment in Coweta County, so determining an average is quite unlikely. However, it is helpful to consider the factors the court will examine when deciding on an appropriate payment. 

If I do not pay child support, will I still be allowed visitation? 

Parents often wonder if they are legally permitted to deny their ex visitation rights if he or she refuses to pay child support. In short, no. As the saying goes, two wrongs do not make a right, and just because one parent breaks the rules, that does not mean the other should as well. In fact, denying visitation, regardless of the circumstances, can result in serious repercussions. If your ex does not pay child support, make sure you report this issue to your divorce attorney so that you can determine your next move. If the case is extreme, you can bring the matter before the court, at which point the judge may decide to alter the visitation schedule. 

Do I need to pay child support if I am unemployed? 

Because child support is determined by a parent’s income, the court will at least impute minimum wage to that parent for the purposes of determining child support. However, a parent cannot simply stop making payments just because he or she lost a job. Instead, an unemployed parent should go through the Georgia legal system and ask the court for a modification to the existing child support agreement. The court will see the change in income and adjust accordingly. Typically, this means the court will grant a temporary freeze for child support. 

What if my child support payments are more than I can afford? 

When financial circumstances change, it is extremely important to take action within the Georgia court system in order to adjust your child support payments. If your child support payments are more than you can afford, you do have options to decrease payments. However, you cannot stop making payments without seeking an official modification. 

What can I do if my ex stops paying child support? 

If your ex stops paying child support, you should start by contacting him/her directly to ask about the missing payments. Hopefully, there will be a simple explanation, such as a bank error, or maybe your ex simply forgot. However, if your ex chose not to pay support, or if he or she is unable to afford it, you will need to take action through the court. If your ex cannot afford child support, he or she should petition for a modification, and until they do so, they will be required to continue making the predetermined payments. If they miss payments, they can face serious repercussions in court, including the withholding of tax returns, licenses, being remanded to the custody of the sheriff until payments are made, or other remedies. When missing payments becomes a true problem, you should contact your attorney immediately and discuss the details of your situation, what you have done to solve it, and your legal options going forward. 

Need help with a child support issue? Our experienced attorney can help you find a workable solution for your current family law predicament. We have handled countless cases in Coweta County and beyond, and we know how to handle complex, challenging cases both in and out of the courtroom. 

Things You Should Never Do During a Divorce

Are you worried about what you should or should not do during your divorce? The divorce process can be complex, stressful, and intimidating. Determining the right choice at every crossroads can be exceedingly difficult. Between child custody battles, spousal support negotiations, and property division, you will certainly have your hands full once everything is underway. Thankfully, there are several things you can do to improve your circumstances and protect your interests. 

  • Do not Hide Assets. 

You may be tempted to hide some of the assets you feel belong to you, but doing so could lead to serious legal penalties. It is always best to negotiate over these properties in court. 

  • Do not Neglect Your Finances.

Divorce can be expensive, so make sure you keep an eye on your finances and budget accordingly. Spending frivolously could come back to bite you.   

  • Do not Rely on Joint Accounts. 

Now is the time to establish your own, independent accounts. That way you can build your own credit and avoid any complications that might arise if your spouse is spying on your finances. And talk to your attorney about other steps to protect your financial future. 

  • Do not Rely on the Advice of Family and Friends. 

While they mean well, your family members and friends are not legal experts, and their advice should not be your go-to source of information. Instead, seek the guidance of legal professionals and rely on your family and friends for emotional support and stability. 

  • Do not Take to Social Media. 

It might feel cathartic to release your anger on social media, but anything you say or do online could hurt your case in the long run. Instead, the safest option is to avoid social media altogether until the divorce is finalized.  

  • Do not Put Your Children in the Middle. 

Every parent wants the best for their children, but determining what that looks like during a divorce can be tricky. During this stressful time, focus on making your kids feel heard and important, and avoid putting them in the middle of your conflicts.  

  • Do not Be Overly Contentious. 

Argumentative couples usually deal with longer, more challenging divorces. Instead of fighting over every little thing, try to focus on the common purpose and choose your battles carefully. It may be frustrating in the moment, but focusing on positive, constructive conversations could help save you time and money. 

  • Do not Go Without an Attorney. 

In an age of DIY, it can be tempting to try to go through the divorce process independently. When it comes to legal matters though, it is always best to work with an expert.  

Dreyer Law has extensive experience with a wide variety of divorce cases. We can help create a customized legal approach that works best for you. Call us today to set up a free consultation. 

Who Has Child Custody When Parents Are Unmarried?

Ending a relationship is always challenging, especially when you and your significant other share children together. Unfortunately, figuring out how to divide parenting time is not nearly as easy as it is to determine who gets to keep the silverware or the furniture. If you are dealing with a child custody issue after a break-up, you must consider each parent’s parental rights, their relationship with your child, and several other factors. 

If you are trying to figure out what will happen to your child custody arrangement after a break-up, make sure you know which factors the court considers before making any custody orders. 

Establishing Parental Rights 

For married parents, determining parental rights is usually very straightforward, but when a child’s parents are unmarried, it can be much more difficult to determine parental rights. And, in order to obtain any type of custodial rights, you must first establish that you have parental rights to the child in question.  

Without establishing paternity and legitimation, an unmarried father will not automatically receive parental rights, even if he is the child’s biological father and has assumed a paternal role in the child’s life. A biological mother, on the other hand, is automatically granted parental rights. Likewise, if a married woman gives birth, her husband is presumed to be the father and he receives parental rights automatically.  

In order to establish parental rights, a father must file an action for legitimation. In that same action the court can make a determination of custody, parenting time and child support. Unfortunately, the law does not provide for any temporary parenting rights unless the mother consents. That may mean in some cases that you cannot visit with your child until you get a final order. 

Once a father obtains paternal rights, he has the right to pursue custody in the same way a mother would. Both mothers and fathers have equal rights to child custody. 

How Is Child Custody Determined? 

Child custody is determined on a case-by-case basis, which means there is no standard arrangement that all unmarried couples use when they break up. Parents have the option of setting a parenting plan through mediation or outside of court, but if they are not able to reach an agreement on their own, they will have to bring their case before a judge. 

In court, the judge will consider the following factors before determining child custody: 

  • The child’s relationship with each parent; 
  • Each parent’s health and ability to care for the child; 
  • The child’s relationship with each parent’s community, household, and other family members; 
  • If one parent acted as the child’s primary caregiver in the past; 
  • The child’s wishes, if the child is deemed mature enough to express an opinion; 
  • Any history of domestic violence or abuse; and 
  • Ability to provide for the needs of the child. 

What Are Our Custody Options? 

Depending on each of these factors, the judge may decide to grant joint or sole physical custody. In a joint physical custody arrangement, the parents will share parenting time equally. If one parent is granted primary physical custody, the other parent will be scheduled specific visitation time with the child on a regular basis. In rare cases, usually when child abuse has occurred, the court may grant one parent sole custody without allowing the other parent any visitation rights, or only supervised visits with a social worker present. 

Let Our Child Custody Attorneys Help You 

If you and your child’s other parent are no longer together and you are concerned about the next step, our firm is prepared to help. Dreyer Law has extensive experience working with unmarried parents in a variety of complex or problematic custody situations. If you need help with your custody case or modification, we can help. 

What you need to know about Mediation

When dealing with a child custody issue, trying to reach an agreement through mediation could be a great alternative to traditional court litigation. When you work with a mediator, you and the child’s other parent will be able to negotiate the terms of your custody agreement in a way that best suits your lifestyles and the needs of your child. However, when you do not know what to expect from the mediation process, it might feel a bit daunting. 

If you will be handling a child custody case through mediation, make sure you know what to expect from the process and how to make the most of it. 

How Mediation Works 

Through mediation, parents can negotiate a child custody agreement with the help of an unbiased third-party mediator. The mediator can help settle arguments, offer potential resolutions, and notify each party of the child custody laws applicable to their case. Each party may also bring their respective divorce or family lawyers to their mediation meetings. However, because the mediator is not invested in either side, he or she can help both parties reach a fair agreement based on what is best for the overall situation. 

The goal of mediation is to facilitate a useful discussion where both parents work together to make the arrangements that work best for their child. Mediation does not encourage contention, but focuses instead on peaceful, productive negotiations that benefit everyone involved. 

The Benefits of Mediation 

Mediation can be used to help with a variety of family law issues, including divorce, spousal support modifications, child support modifications, visitation issues, and child custody. Mediating child custody can be extremely helpful because it helps you and your co-parent to work together and find a solution that works for each of you and, most importantly, what is best for your child. 

Benefits of Mediation for Child Custody Include: 

  • Quicker than litigation 
  • Typically less expensive than the litigation process 
  • Encourages negotiation rather than contention 
  • More private than litigation 
  • The parents are in control of their own parenting plan 
  • Both parties are free to find creative, personalized solutions 

Making the Most of The Mediation Process 

If you and your co-parent will use mediation for your child custody case, make sure you know how to make the most of your situation. For this purpose, you will want your own family lawyer to assist you with the mediation process. A knowledgeable lawyer can inform you of your legal rights and help protect your interests if your ex becomes argumentative or manipulative. Also, if your ex has a lawyer, being the only one without legal representation could put you at a significant disadvantage. Even though a mediator will be there to remind both parties of their options, the mediator is unbiased and will not prioritize your interests like your attorney will. 

Give Dreyer Law a call for all your family law needs. We are here to be your legal representation.  

3 Ways Divorce can Affect your Career

A divorce is more than just a personal change, it can alter your professional life as well. While you might be focusing primarily on the emotional pressures and personal issues that come with divorce, there are several practical concerns that require your attention. Often when a person leaves a marriage, this change also means you might have to rethink the way you currently work. For instance, if you work full-time, you might have to adjust to a new role as a single parent by cutting hours. Alternatively, if you were not working during your marriage, you might need a job to help support yourself. 

Changing Your Priorities At Work 

While you are going through your divorce, you are going to be busy. Between meetings with your attorney, conferences with your financial advisor or tax accountant, court dates, and gathering information and documents, you will have your hands full. Unfortunately, some of your divorce tasks might require week-day work. You might receive calls from your attorney or bank while you are in the office, need to make an appointment over lunch, or go to court on a workday. For this reason, you will likely need some flexibility while you work these details out. Do not be afraid to be open about your needs but be practical about balancing work and your personal life. 

Cutting Back Hours Or Increasing Hours 

The divorce process can be expensive, especially if you pay for your own residence now, or if you pay alimony to your spouse. In either case, you might need to increase your work hours to earn more. Alternatively, if you have a child, you might need to cut back your hours as you adjust to life as a newly single parent. On days when you have custody, you may need to leave early to pick up your child from school. 

Re-Entering The Workforce
Many stay-at-home parents must reenter the workforce after they divorce to pay for their new home, food, clothes, and other essentials. While a stay-at-home spouse may receive spousal support as part of the divorce settlement, it may be temporary or may not be enough to allow that person to remain unemployed. Even going back to work part-time can be challenging, especially if you have not worked for an extended period. If you have a degree or past career, this might be easier, but in any case, it might be wise to consider educational courses to refresh your skills.  

 

Start Preparing Early
Depending on your situation, there are several ways you can make this new transition easier on yourself and your family. If you have children, do not be afraid to ask relatives and close friends for help, at least in the beginning as you and your ex-spouse get the details figured out. Childcare can be expensive, so figure out what you can do to accommodate your children while you work. 

Even if you do not have kids; you could benefit from looking into your budget and figuring out where you stand. 

  • Do you need a higher paying job to support this change? 
  • Do you need to put in more hours? 
  • Are you going to need to cut back on hours to stay home more? 
  • Will you need to pay for childcare? 
  • Will you need to find a job? If so, do you need training? 

Call Dreyer Law today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your Family Law needs.  

Child Support During the Covid Pandemic

This is a hard time economically for everyone. Even if you are able to work, you may be facing cuts, loss of benefits, or the anxiety of worrying about the sustainability of your job if this lasts for months into the future. Some people have lost their jobs completely and are now spending days on end trying to obtain the federal and state benefits they may be entitled to as relief. If you are the person paying support, you are worrying about your ability to do so; if you are the person receiving support, you may be needing that support more than ever. We can all understand both sides of this issue. The bad news is that your current path to relief may be a bit more difficult than with other family law issues, at least through litigation. The good news is that attorneys can work together or with alternate dispute resolution to come up with a solution that addresses the specific issues of your case. 

You Can Not Pay 

If you have less income, or none at all, you may not be able to make your current support payment. However, you are still obligated to pay your court-ordered support. If the state is enforcing your support order, you may be able to contact them to find out if there are any steps towards relief. Your ability to seek relief through the court will be determined by your court’s current emergency response situation and if they deem your case to be enough of an emergency to move forward before opening up to all cases.  

You Are Not Receiving Your Court-Ordered Support 

Unfortunately, the primary issue for the receiving parent remains the state or court’s current capability to hear any cases that are not considered an emergency. I would suggest that the ability to pay or receive support for children is a personal emergency for the family involved. The issue is simply the capacity of the courts under current COVID restrictions to help. If you are in the position of not receiving the support you need for your children, be sure to keep track of all of the funds that are past due and any and all receipts or other documentation you can gather to show amounts due under your current order. You will likely use that information once the courts open in some form of contempt or enforcement action to recover past due support. 

Negotiation And Alternate Dispute Resolution 

Nobody enjoys giving out the advice that we have to wait an unknown amount of time before seeking relief for our clients. Child support is another area that is seeing more use of direct negotiation and use of alternate dispute resolution resources such as mediation and arbitration. Attorneys are able to help craft solutions that speak not only to their client’s particular needs, but to the objective issues of the day. A general example would be an agreement where the parties acknowledge the temporary nature of this economic emergency and review their current finances. They can then come to an agreement to allow for temporary monthly payment and adjustments for current child care and other expenses, and create a jointly agreed path forward to move back into the current order and pay any arrears as able. Of course, any agreement should be looking not only to the parents’ economic status and ability to receive COVID-related benefits, but towards making sure there is as little as possible economic detriment to the children involved. 

For some people, the concept of negotiating temporary child support issues will seem relatively straightforward. For others, they may find that the conflict level in their case results in even objectively understandable concepts being difficult to apply to their lives. Others will try to take advantage of the situation by delaying their return to work to lessen on-going support obligations. 

RegardlessDreyer Law can help determine how much facilitation our clients may need. Give Dreyer Law a call today to discuss your child support needs. We are here to help you through this pandemic as best as we can.  

Can I Date While I am Going Through a Divorce?

Choosing to date before your divorce is finalized can be a tricky call, especially because you are not necessarily right or wrong one way or another. Everyone moves on in different ways and at different speeds, and some people take longer to get back out there than others. However, it is important to be mindful of how quickly you do decide to move on because dating during the divorce or separation process can bring about additional problems and challenges. 

If you are considering dating during your divorce or legal separation, make sure you know how it may affect you in the long run. 

The Legal Aspects: Potential Implications 

During a divorce, much of your private life becomes part of a legal proceeding. Your personal life will be scrutinized by attorneys and possibly before the court. This means your actions during your divorce can affect the way in which your divorce is settled, especially regarding child custody, child support, spousal support, and property division. Although the law does not outright disfavor you if you are dating before your divorce is finalized, your love life can have a more subtle effect on certain legal outcomes. 

If you date during your divorce, your spouse could claim that you are not paying as much attention to your children, especially if you spend time with your new partner while you have custody of your children. As a result, their testimony of your role as a parent could harm your child custody case, resulting in a child custody outcome that is less favorable to you. If you spend a lot of money on romantic partners, your spouse could also claim that you are spending marital assets. Additionally, if you move in and combine households with a new partner, you could become exempt from receiving spousal support, or you may be awarded fewer assets during the property division. 

Your Feelings Could Be Compromised 

You know your own needs better than anyone else, but that does not mean your well-intended decision now will not hurt you later. Some people may find that dating immediately after the end of their last relationship is a freeing, necessary step to help them move on. It is important to consider how this decision could jeopardize your own emotions or affect your decision-making process during a legal proceeding. A divorce is a hefty life choice and the decisions you make during a divorce can affect your life many years into the future, from your financial well-being to your relationships with your children. Consider how combining the emotional toll and stress of a divorce with the feelings brought about by pursuing new relationships will affect your ability to handle the life-altering decisions you will need to make as your divorce progresses. 

If you can wait to reenter the dating world until after the papers have been signed, you will face far fewer risks of negative repercussions. Dating during your divorce is not against any rules, but it can complicate the divorce process and might make things more difficult for you, both emotionally and legally.  

To learn more about the divorce process, call Dreyer Law to set up a free consultation.  

Tips for Parenting Plans Involving Babies & Young Children

Creating a parenting plan is never easy, especially when your children are still young. Older children are often better equipped to handle divorce and separation issues, or they are at least able to grasp what is going on. Babies and young children, however, do not understand what is happening and ideally should be receiving attention and care from both parents during these early years. For this reason, it can be particularly difficult to create a schedule for a baby when the parents live in different households. 

Sync Your Parenting Schedules and Routines 

Keeping children on a schedule is extremely important, but when it comes to babies and toddlers, this step is crucial. For babies, everything is new, and keeping them fed and well rested is key to ensuring they grow and develop as they should. Toddlers are not quite so delicate, but they also thrive under a set schedule and known routines. Switching from home to home can be hard on children of any age, but if both parents are able to stick to the same schedule and routines, it can provide the children with a sense of normalcy and steadiness. 

In order to sync your schedules, you need to come up with a consistent parenting plan. To which that both parents can strictly follow. Changing things week-by-week can be extremely challenging and could be stressful for your children, so make sure you find a custody arrangement that benefits everyone in some way. Keeping a steady day-to-day plan can also help significantly. Get together with your co-parent and settle on a shared schedule that includes nap times, feeding times, bedtimes, and other important daily events. 

Keep Visits Short 

Young children are particularly sensitive to their caretakers and they do best when they are able to spend time with both parents on a regular basis. Older children are usually more capable of balancing time with either parent and could do well with switching off between parents every week or every few days. Young children, however, typically need to see each parent every couple of days. For this reason, most child psychologists and other experts suggest that parents who share custody split their parenting time in 2 to 3-day increments. Or, if trading off parenting responsibilities every couple of days is not an option for you, consider scheduling visits with the other parent in between custody switches.  

Communicate About Milestones 

Young children hit new developmental milestones almost daily, and when parents share caretaker responsibilities, both are bound to miss certain achievements. If the two of you are amicable, try sending photos or videos of these moments to one another; it could help you cope with the time apart from your child. 

Even if you cannot communicate this well with your ex, you should at least tell them about any new developments that could affect your child’s care. For example, if your child learned how to crawl out of the crib, make sure your co-parent is aware so that he or she can take the necessary safety precautions. 

Creating a parenting plan is never easy, but with the help of an experienced child custody attorney, it is certainly doable. If you need help with a child custody or visitation issue, or if you need to modify an existing parenting plan, Dreyer Law is here to help. We offer free consultations for all Family Law needs.  

Getting Divorced While Pregnant

When a couple has decided to divorce, pregnancy can be incredibly stressful. While some couples may choose to postpone the divorce until after the child is born, others feel waiting is not an option. 

Although the courts cannot prevent you from divorcing simply because a spouse is pregnant, you may encounter some legal issues as you begin the process. 

In Georgia, all children born in wedlock or within the usual period of gestation thereafter are legitimate, and deemed the legal children of both spouses. If one of the spouses is not the biological parents of the child, it must be indicated in the Stated in the Petition for Divorce or challenged in the Answer and Counterclaim for Divorce and in the Final Decree of Divorce. If there is a disagreement regarding the parentage of the child, there are several possible outcomes, such as: 

  • If the pregnant woman believes her spouse or partner is the parent, she can allege it in court. 
  • If the spouse or partner believes he is the parent, he can admit parentage. 
  • If the pregnant woman believes a third person is the parent of her child, she can sue that person to establish parentage. 
  • A potential father may step forward and attempt to establish his parentage. 
  • A spouse may challenge paternity.  

legitimation action is separate from the divorce case and will determine the legal parentage of a child, as well as child custody, parenting plan details, and child support. 

Dreyer Law has provided exceptional legal counsel and support to families throughout Coweta Judicial Circuit (Coweta, Carroll, Meriwether, Heard and Troup counties) for over three decades, handling all matters of family law, such as child custody, child support, and divorce. We are well-equipped to handle all divorce and family law matters, no matter your circumstances. Contact us to schedule an initial consultation.