No one gets married planning to divorce in the future, but once it becomes obvious that your marriage is over, it is time to prepare for divorce. A strong preparation is the only real way to position yourself for the best possible outcome in your case. You must know what assets are going to be in play, what issues might impact your child custody case, and how you plan to approach other matters such as child or spousal support.
Of course, divorce prep is easier said than done, and it’s wise to work with an experienced divorce attorney during this time. However, there are things you can do now, on your own, to prepare for your divorce settlement negotiations (and for a trial if you are unable to settle the divorce outside of court).
What is Your Marital Estate?
To ensure you are going to get your fair share of assets, you must know what those assets are. You may think you know exactly what you and your spouse own, but divorce can be messy when it comes to property. Sometimes, an angry spouse may try to hide or squander assets. Do a little research into your finances now. If you spot any irregularities or red flags, you can let your attorney know so they can review the issue.
What Does Your Spouse Want and Need?
You probably already know that you must decide exactly what your must-haves are in order to approach the negotiations from the right perspective. However, you should consider what you believe your spouse’s must-haves will most likely be. When you have an idea of what your spouse will be after, you can find more ways to leverage them for what you really want.
What Evidence do You Need?
You can’t sit down to negotiate or approach a judge with just arguments. You must have real evidence to support your side of things. Go through your spouse’s social media and take screenshots, get your financial documents together, and keep all messages, voicemails and emails between you and your spouse as this may help your case. At the same time, you must be aware of any evidence that your spouse could use against you and how this evidence could come up during your negotiations or at a trial. When you know where your “weak spots” may be and can share that information with your attorney, they will be better able to develop counterarguments that minimize any damage.
What is Your Attorney Capable of?
Not all divorces go to trial. In fact, despite what you may have seen in the media, most divorces are settled outside of court. This is normally the faster and less expensive route. However, you may end up in a situation where your divorce simply cannot be settled outside of a trial. To that end, you want to make sure you have a family law attorney who is experienced in these sorts of trials and isn’t afraid to go there if necessary in your case. An attorney who is apprehensive or hesitant about going to trial may suggest you take an offer that isn’t the best for you, so you need to have an attorney who is capable and willing to go to trial for you if that is what it takes to fully defend your interests.
Begin preparing your divorce as soon as you possibly can. While it may seem difficult to focus on additional tasks during this time, the outcome will be well worth it. If you are not sure what else you need to do, consult with your attorney.