Preparing for a divorce is never an easy undertaking. But, as with any other major life change, it’s best to be prepared.
It is a given that the complicated process of divorce can cause extreme anxiety and emotional stress. Lawyers who are used to seeing people under these circumstances agree that being well prepared is a tremendous help.
Keep an Open Mind and Be Frank
An attorney might advise that the more willing you are to compromise, the simpler it will be for them get a fair resolution. The more accurate and honest you are about your history, goals, and needs, the more your lawyer can help resolve these issues.
Acting efficiently will also reduce the time you spend with your lawyer, help reduce your legal expenses, and may reduce stress. You may want to consider working with a divorce coach that will listen to you and help keep you calm as well as be prepared for visits with your attorney. From attorneys themselves, here are some guidelines you can use in preparing for your divorce:
Make a list of detailed questions to ask your lawyer. Lawyers typically bill by the hour, at minimum, even if your time is less. Make use of your valuable time by covering all of your bases in as few appointments as possible. Be sure to take note of the answers to your questions as well, in case you need to reference them in the future.
Provide Thorough Information
Even in your first meeting, it pays to provide your lawyer with a formal list of information pertinent to your divorce case.
At the top of the list are the basics. This includes both your and your soon-to-be ex-spouse’s names, home and work addresses, phone numbers, places and dates of births of your children (if any), social security numbers, health information and other applicable details.
Next would be the relevant facts about the history of your marriage (state and date of marriage, defining moments in the relationship, etc.), information about any previous marriages, and details regarding pre-nuptial agreements, etc.
If you have children, tell your attorney your exact position on issues such as custody and visitation. Be sure to also include any and all discussions with your soon-to-be ex-spouse on these matters (if relevant).
Be straightforward in informing your lawyer of any criminal records for either you or your soon-to-be ex-spouse, any spousal or child abuse, and whether or not it has been reported to authorities.
Inform your lawyer of your assets and liabilities. Be sure to supply copies of documents such as tax returns, mortgages, income statements, and others. Also notify him or her if you have pending lawsuits, bankruptcy proceedings, etc.
Know Your Expenses
Ask your lawyer to brief you on how your legal expenses are calculated; your lawyer’s billing and collection policies (or those of his firm), the rates, retainer figures, and other additional expenses.
Don’t hesitate to ask for an estimate of your legal costs. During a divorce it’s important to keep a good eye on your budget.
Be A Good Client
Staying one step ahead of the game will work to your advantage. It isn’t easy during such a trying time, however, preparing yourself and your lawyer for your case will relieve some of the stress of a divorce. It may be work, but you’ll thank yourself (and so will your attorney!) when all is said and done.