There is no class for “How to Get a Divorce,” but the right divorce attorney will walk you through the process so you feel informed and knowledgeable at every step. That said, there are also some things you can bring to the table – things that will help your divorce lawyer obtain the best outcome for you.
Be transparent about the relationship
You may be mortified to reveal the personal details of your marriage, but every matter is relevant – and confidential. Whether there was infidelity (on your part or your spouse’s), struggles with infertility, a non-traditional relationship, addiction, conflicting views on child-rearing, or financial woes, every facet of your union can impact your divorce settlement.
Be honest about your finances
Concealing assets is a big no-no. Don’t leave your divorce attorney in the dark. It’s their job to ensure that your financial future is bright and not bleak, and that begins with your being forthright about all financial matters. If you selectively reveal only some of your assets, you leave your attorney flying blind into a potential superstorm should your spouse demand an interrogatory under oath.
It’s your responsibility to do some leg work for your divorce, like gathering paperwork or evidence. Sure, your attorney could track some items down – but you’re paying for every minute of their time. Since the information you’ll need to supply can be overwhelming, get organized at the start by budgeting time, designating folders, or even hiring help to manage divorce responsibilities and daily life.
Your first meeting with a divorce attorney is an opportunity to gather as much information as possible about what’s to come. Take advantage of the free legal advice with one or multiple attorneys (no matter how many attorneys you interview, attorney-client privilege is in place, which means no one will be spilling your secrets). This initial meeting is also a time to see which attorney you gel with best. Your attorney’s job is to advocate for you, so choose a person you feel comfortable with and trust.
Divorce can be a heated battle for the less amicable couples. Nasty celebrity breakups make great tabloid fodder, but you don’t want to play out your personal version of the Charlie Sheen-Denise Richards divorce. Avoid allowing your emotions to influence the decisions you make about finances or your children. Making absurd demands out of spite could end up costing you more. And making choices with your heart instead of your head can cost you now and in the future, financially and emotionally. Divorce is no time for sentimentality.
Know what you want
Divorce is very much about the present, but it’s also about the future. You can easily get caught up in the divorce drama, especially with children to share and regular interactions with your ex. Give thought to what your future holds – a move out of state, remarriage, tax considerations, your child’s education. Don’t just consider the here and now, think about what you expect of your ex in the future, so your attorney can help you settle your divorce comfortably and fairly, with no regrets.