Contemplating Divorce is a scary place for most anyone. The process is something with which most people are completely unfamiliar. What are the steps? How long will it take? How much will it cost? These are common concerns, but not all questions have a definitive answer. With consultation and guidance from an attorney, you will be carefully guided through the Divorce process, step by step. Predicting the approximate cost or time to resolution is not so cut and dry.
In general, the parties need to eventually meet in the middle. A series of negotiations lead to the ultimate goal of an agreement regarding parenting, the division of marital assets and debts, and the issue of maintenance and child support. As it may seem, negotiations which include mutual motivation, self-control, cooperation, communication, and concern for the well-being of the children will generally progress faster and will cost less. On the other hand, a series of contentious exchanges will likely lend itself to additional Court dates, longer negotiations and more money spent. It’s nearly impossible to predict the total cost and time spent in the process. We simply do not know how the opposing party will act and react and how the negotiations will unfold. We can, however, encourage our clients to control what he or she can control…oneself.
We offer the following pointers to help get you from start to finish in the Divorce process:
Cooperate- Understand that your attorneys have your best interests at heart, and trust their guidance. Upon request to produce certain documents, please do so. The quicker they can be evaluated and presented to the Court or opposing counsel, the better.
Stay Organized- Time is money. Keep a list of concerns or questions. When it comes time to talk with your attorneys, you can stay on task and remain brief. Whenever possible, duplicate your own documents and deliver them to your attorneys for efficiency sake.
Communicate- Communicate your wishes and concerns to your attorneys. Help them understand what points of negotiation are the most important to you. During stressful moments, don’t run away from the process. Stay in touch with your legal team to make sure you are doing everything you can to understand the pending issues.
Understand your Family Finances & Income- Make your best effort to locate bank statements, investment documents and details regarding family debt. If you can produce the related documents, it will be a great start to financial disclosure. In the long run, it’s imperative to have a complete understanding of all assets, liabilities and income before your case is resolved. It is crucial to work together with your attorneys to find all related financial information prior to resolution and closure of your case.
Keep Calm- Find ways to keep a level head. Spending time on general arguing will only prolong the process and stall negotiations. Focus on the tasks at hand, and check them off one by one. Remember to use your resources such as friends or counselors to help get you through the emotional ups and downs. Try to view your decisions as business transactions.
Look at the Big Picture- Stay focused on real issues. This is important. If there is a pending issue with the care and/or safety of your children or a problem splitting retirement funds, you will feel it’s critical to address and so will your attorneys. Those issues are guaranteed to get the attention they deserve. If you find yourself upset with the concept of losing a certain piece of furniture or conceding an extra half-hour of holiday time, we will ask you to reconsider the level of importance. Remaining fair and focused will help get you through.
Be Parents First- Keep your kids’ best interests in mind. Always. Understand that they need both parents. Above all else, resist the urge to get caught up in the fight, and do not put your kids in the middle. As far as the Courts are concerned, if two parents cannot come to agreement regarding the care of the children, the Court may appoint a Guardian Ad Litem or a Child’s Representative for them. This will substantially increase negotiation time and legal fees.
It is always our goal to reach a timely and reasonable resolution for each client. We commit to help each client from consultation all the way to resolution. It is advisable for you, as the client, to also help yourself along the way. For more information regarding Divorce and the best ways to get through the process, please contact our office for a free consultation.
This is a legal advertisement from Sterk Family Law Group. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be construed as such. This article is for informational and educational purposes only.