5 tips you can do NOW to prepare for your divorce.
- Prepare your “Marriage Story”: When you hire an attorney to represent you in your divorce, your attorney needs to have a good grasp of the issues within your marriage and how those issues arose. With this background, your attorney can fiercely advocate your case to a judge, mediator, or the opposing attorney as needed. Because you know your marriage better than anyone else, take this time to write a timeline with important dates and facts that your attorney will need to know. Your timeline should include any and all events that you think are relevant to the issues in your marriage.
- Get Familiar with Family Finances: In any litigation process, documents are exchanged between the parties and their attorneys to fully disclose all finances. Now is the time to familiarize yourself with your household’s income, expenses, debts, investments, and tax statements. As attorneys, we understand that households handle family finances in different ways; so, if you already have a good understanding of the finances, that is great! Your focus can be gathering the last twelve months of statements for all of your accounts.However, if your spouse typically handles the finances in the family, use this time to become intimately acquainted with your household’s financial status. For example:
- Gain online access to bank, credit card, and investment accounts so that you can print and save statements
- Contact your accountant for copies of any financial records
- Go online to retrieve your tax transcripts for tax records
- Locate records related to any property that you and your spouse own
- Compile Potential Evidence: When custody is involved in a divorce, never assume that either parent will be allowed more time with the children simply because of their gender or financial status. In court, it is extremely important to provide evidence of your role in the children’s lives and how the children are currently faring. For example:
- Gather text messages and/or emails between you and your spouse about the care of the children
- Gather school records
- Gather medical records
- Gather the names and contact information of potential witnesses who have personal knowledge of your relationship with the children.
- Think about the Future: Where will you live when you and your spouse separate? What type of schedule will work best for your children to see both parents? How much money will you need each month to live on your own? Have you created a budget for yourself for life after divorce looking at your own personal expenses and child expenses? A budget will be required as part of the divorce process so it is good to think about this ahead of time. Think about these questions now so that you and your attorney can strategize on the best possible outcome to help you meet your goals.
- Consult with an Attorney via Phone or Video: The divorce process can be very emotional and challenging to navigate on your own. The attorneys at Smith & Lake are available remotely to guide you through these tips and begin drafting your initial paperwork, so that once you are ready, we can get the process started in a seamless, organized fashion.
If you have specific questions, please feel free to contact one of our attorneys.
Dawn Smith firstname.lastname@example.org (404) 909-8300
Kristen Files email@example.com (404) 909-8300
Laura Sclafani firstname.lastname@example.org (404) 909-8300
Smith & Lake is a law firm dedicated to assisting individuals and children obtain fair and favorable results in family law matters. Our lawyers bring decades of experience to the issues facing today’s changing families. In addition, the attorneys are seasoned Guardian ad Litems, mediators and state registered arbitrators. Learn more at smithlakelaw.com