Preparing For Your Divorce
Once you've decided that divorce is the best course for you to take in dealing with your marital issues, it's important that you begin planning ahead. Make sure you're fully informed about what's to come, and you'll be less likely to end up caught off-guard. Knowing where your resources are, and how to choose a lawyer can also help you prepare for the worst possible outcome.
Build Your Case Early
Even before you speak with a lawyer, reach out to your county court clerk or reference library to find out about specific statutes in your area. You can also use this time to start gathering any necessary forms or documents, and establishing your goals for the divorce to come. This should include custody of children, division of property and the division of any financial accounts you control jointly with your spouse.
As you begin building your case, it's also a good idea to make plans for the eventual outcome of your divorce, and any separation period that precedes it. Speak to friends and family, or make arrangements quietly in order to set up separate living conditions, especially if you're renting your current home. While your initial separation agreement or later divorce may not require you to move out of the marital residence, planning for that possibility can save you a great deal of stress.
Finding the Right Representation
When looking for a divorce lawyer it's always a good idea to take advantage of any free consultation being offered. Meet with several attorneys, and compare their attitudes toward your case. Avoid attorneys that make overly grand promises, or who you believe may resort to less than honest methods.
As you evaluate the attorneys you've met with, take a solid look at their track record and how many divorces they've helped with. Determine how many ended up being contested versus uncontested, and ask direct questions about those that didn't end in favor of their client. Be aware though, there is only so much that a good attorney can share with you in these matters, due to attorney-client privilege. Ask about their preferred strategies in contested divorce proceedings, as well as what support they offer for child custody.
While no divorce is ever easy, taking these steps in advance can help make the process more painless. With the right lawyer and time to prepare yourself you'll be able to weather the divorce and come out the other end in good shape.