Once you have chosen an attorney, you should focus on additional aspects of preparing for a divorce. An experienced lawyer can help you navigate the legal angles of your case, but there are things you can do to increase your chances of receiving a fair settlement. Most of these will be easier to do while you are still married.
If you attend a meeting with your attorney and have not already determined your needs, your time will not be as productive. If you enter a courtroom without all necessary information and proof, you will likely cause delays or miss out on opportunities. Being as organized as possible can make the process easier and allow your attorney to maximize his or her time to get you the greatest possible benefit instead of spending it helping you get things into shape.
Be financially prepared
Often, most of the bill-paying responsibilities belong to one spouse in the marriage. This can be especially difficult during a divorce for the spouse who has not kept track of the finances and does not have needed information. Forbes suggests collecting the following documents before the divorce:
- Tax returns
- Credit card statements
- Year-end statements
- Bank account statements
- Mortgage information
You can then prepare a Lifestyle Analysis and detail what your standard of living was before divorce to help the judge understand what you will need and get you as close to it as possible. Opening your own bank account and applying for credit cards are also important steps to take while you are still married, because it may be more difficult to do when you are single.
Get emotional help
Divorce can be an emotional time for anyone. While this cannot be avoided, it can also potentially hurt your chances of receiving a fair settlement. Proceedings can drag on for months and you may be tempted to accept less in order to end it quickly, but this is a short-term solution that can cause problems for years to come. Instead, seek mental and emotional support from friends and family and consider enlisting professional help from a counselor. Staying in control of your emotions will allow you to think clearly and prepare more effectively for what can sometimes be a difficult legal battle.
If you or a loved one are currently going through a divorce or considering it in the near future, the best time to get prepared is now. Follow the steps laid out here and contact an experienced divorce attorney for additional help and guidance.