New clients sometimes ask me about ways in which they can help ensure a good result in their divorce and/or custody cases. Most lawyers are busy people and will be happy when clients help them prepare and settle the case. Below are some things that you can do to help your lawyer get a good result for you. As it happens, many of these things will help you save money as well.
Be prepared. When the writing is on the wall and you know that divorce is inevitable, you should gather documents and information about important issues, such as your finances. You may be the spouse who has handled finances, so you will know exactly what assets are owned by you and your spouse. Or, on the other hand, you may be the homemaker who has never handled the finances. You may help your lawyer uncover unknown assets or you may just have documents that show the existence and values of assets. Either way, if you are able to assemble documents and information for your lawyer, this will help save your lawyer time. This, in turn, will save you money in the attorney fees that result when your lawyer has to conduct pretrial discovery to find assets. This may be a second marriage for you and perhaps also for your spouse. Therefore, one or both of you may have assets that will be considered “separate property” by the Court. Having evidence of the existence and value of these assets as well as information about whether they have remained separate and are thus usually protected from division in a divorce will help your lawyer evaluate your case and assess the potential for distribution. Here’s a link to a list of the types of documents that you should assemble. Documents to bring to your first consultation.