Picking an attorney is your first step in preparing for a divorce. The relationship between a family law attorney and his client is different than the relationship between attorneys and clients in any other litigation cases. Their relationship truly is both business and personal. You should walk out of the initial consultation feeling that the attorney will advocate for you in your case, is somebody you can trust, and will not give you false expectations. You have to feel comfortable with the legal advice as well as the accuracy and level of communication. Building a personal relationship of trust between the attorney and client is very important.
Early on in the divorce case, your attorney will ask you to gather any and all relevant documents. Cases often start with a volume of email and texts back and forth between the parties. Start gathering and copying all of those documents—including bank statements, broker statements, deeds on houses, or communication between the parties. Then your attorney can help devise a plan of action that is best for you to succeed at the end of the divorce process. You can also be prepared by coming up with a budget to have your attorney advise on, identify any community assets that are subject to division, and putting together documents to prove any separate property that might not be subject to division.
Possibly the most important thing to have is an exit strategy for leaving the relationship. It’s one thing to decide that you’re going to get a divorce, but it’s another to have a plan about moving forward. You need to think about where you’re going to live and what is best for your children if there are any. If there are children between you and your spouse, it is important to prepare to help your child through this process. All too often, parties use their children as pawns in a divorce case – and in the long run, it’s going to do damage to their children. Kids are sponges: they hear things, they see things, and they pick up vibes from their parents. You’ve got to do whatever you can to insulate your kids as much as possible from the issues going on between parents in a divorce. Be honest with them in an age-appropriate manner. Be aware of your children and how they respond to the divorce process.