Working with Your Divorce Lawyer
Helpful advice for maximizing your divorce results and saving yourself time, hassle and money.
You are working as a team with your lawyer and their support staff not only through the initial process of getting a divorce, but sometimes long afterwards as issues arise from time to time with the children and the maintenance issues. Be nice to their staff. They are an integral part of your team.
WHAT YOUR LAWYER NEEDS FROM YOU
1. Initially you will need to provide your lawyer with a summary of basic information concerning your family: your legal name, birth date, date of cohabitation, date of marriage, date of separation agreements, or court orders, the date of separation, names and birth dates of any children, with whom each child is living, the parental schedule, assets, debts and liabilities. Also, provide contact information, your telephone numbers at home at work or your cell phone numbers and your email address.
2. In any communications from your lawyer, respond to requests for documents and respond concisely to any questions asked. Remember you are paying by the minute for your lawyer to attend to your case. That includes reading your letters and talking to you on the phone. Provide accurate information and do not be long-winded.
3. Be clear with the lawyer on your ultimate goal.
For example : Is it to get a quick divorce? Is it to reconcile? Is it to have the children to live with you 50% of the time?
4. Bring copies of your signed Agreements and copies of all Orders to the initial consultation. At some point, you may have to bring your whole file to the lawyer. Try to deliver it in an organized fashion if possible.
5. Know your gross annual income and ideally that of your spouse. Bring your most recent income tax return and paystub if financial issues are in dispute.
6. Bring any court documents which have originated after your separation such as foreclosure documents, bankruptcy documents, criminal charges, bail conditions and/or Garnishing Orders.
EXPECTATIONS AS THE CASE PROGRESSES
It will benefit your case if you :
1. are organized and calm;
2. able to control your emotions during interviews and court appearances;
3. respond to your lawyer’s questions in a timely fashion;
4. follow their advice and ask questions as they arise if you do not understand any advice or court process ;
5. advise the lawyer of any changes in your employment circumstances , financial information and contact information as soon as the change is known;
6. let your lawyer know when you are away and can not respond to emails or phone calls such as when you are on holidays;
6. notify them if you are unable to pay their accounts in a timely fashion or if you are unable to provide a further retainer;
7. get counselling to help you navigate the emotional feelings surrounding your separation and family law issues;
8. be reasonable, practical, and fair-minded;
9. put your children’s needs first;
10. be willing to compromise when recommended by the lawyer.