What to Know About Divorce and Working with Your Divorce Attorney
Divorce rates high on the list of life's most stressful events. Everything that is familiar in your life is about to change dramatically. If you are not the party initiating the divorce, the stress is even greater. Your world is about to be turned upside down, and you need professional assistance to get through this crisis without losing everything that's important to you. A divorce attorney can guide you through the complexities of property division, alimony, child support, and custody arrangements. Don't attempt to try and resolve such critical issues on your own: you have too much to lose.Have the Right Goals in a Divorce
The goal of your divorce should not be to attack your spouse and make him or her as miserable as you can. If there are children, your attitude can help or hurt them as their lives are also being upended. Your goal is to get the very best result you can, and that is where you need to exert your energy. Don't send nasty emails, leave threatening phone messages, or text messages that will arm your spouse with ammunition to use against you during the divorce proceedings. Listen to your divorce attorney's advice. Remember, no matter how much you have been hurt, your goal is to protect your financial interests as much as possible.Working with Your Divorce Attorney
When you hire a divorce attorney to take care of your divorce, you still have a lot to do with its success or failure. Not every attorney has the same style, personality, or approach in representing your case in court, and you must trust him or her to make your case in the most positive light. Your divorce lawyer needs your cooperation. Provide all the documents you are asked for, any evidence you have (phone and text messages, emails, written notes, and similar evidence), financial documents, loans, investments, retirement funds, deeds, and all other assets. Don't keep secrets from your lawyer. When secrets come out in mediation or court, you place your divorce lawyer at a disadvantage. He or she cannot adequately represent you unless they have all the details, whether you are the victim or the defendant.Communication with your Divorce Attorney
Listen to the advice of your divorce attorney, and ask questions if you are uncertain about something. Communication is a two-way street, and it is critical if you expect to reach an agreeable settlement in your divorce. Your divorce lawyer represents you, and without communication and cooperation the results may not be what you want. Don't miss appointments, provide documents on time, answer his or her questions honestly, and listen to the instructions and counsel your attorney offers you. The stress that comes with a divorce makes it difficult to make wise decisions, and that makes your lawyer's advice so crucial. He or she is not dealing with the stress and emotional turmoil you are and can look at the facts in a critical manner before making decisions.Do You Need a Team in a Divorce?
If you are very wealthy and a lot of money and property are involved, you can authorize your accountant to work directly with your attorney to provide necessary documents. In some instances, you may need to hire a private detective to gather the evidence your attorney needs. Be sure all documents, good and bad, go directly to your attorney. He or she is the one handling your case and the only person that can determine what information should be used in your best interest.Who Gets the Dog in a divorce?
Most dogs, cats, and other pets are members of the family and will also experience stress from the changes that are happening. You can make your pet part of the divorce proceedings, or you can agree to let the pets stay where the children will have their primary residence. Pets will help the children feel more secure, and the dog or cat will feel better too. If you can't agree on the pets and they become part of the court case, the judge will be the deciding factor on your pet's living arrangements.Child Custody and Divorce
Child custody can be the stickiest and most painful part of any divorce. It is even worse when parents use their children as weapons against each other. Children can be hurt badly when parents fight over them and try to use them against each other. Some of the issues related to child custody might include the following:
- Non-custodial parent visitation
- Dividing school vacation time
- Child support
- Educational costs
- Medical insurance
- Decision-making responsibilities related to medical care, school programs, summer camp, sports teams, and various types of lessons, such as music, swimming, dance, and gymnastics.
Make these decisions based on what works best for the children and not yourself. If you can have a partnership in raising your children, forgetting how you feel about each other, your children will be happier, feel safer, and know they are important to both of their parents.Child Support and Alimony in a Divorce
Most states have devised a formula for child support based on income. If both parents work, the support may differ from an amount that would be awarded if only one parent works. When a large income is involved, your divorce attorney will advise you. The judge makes the final decision, so it is essential your attorney know all the costs related to raising your children without changing their lifestyle. If there was a prenuptial agreement, alimony may already be determined. If you are employed, your earnings will be taken into consideration when the judge determines alimony. He or she may rule against alimony. Be sure you have given your divorce lawyer all financial information including living expenses.
Divorce can be ugly. It's critical to hire an experienced divorce attorney to assure you are not financially taken advantage of in the process. If you have any questions concerning a divorce, call the Law Offices of Peter Van Aulen at (201) 845-7400 for a free consultation.