Imagine that you called our office to schedule a consultation and gave us a brief overview of your case. In order to obtain the best result possible, we need your help. Here are a few tips on how you can help your lawyer help you:
1. Be honest
It may be uncomfortable for a client to start divulging very personal and potentially embarrassing information to a total stranger. However, when speaking to your attorney, it is essential that you are honest about all of the facts of your case. Hiding embarrassing details will only hurt your case in the long run. Attorneys hate having to find out damaging information from opposing counsel. Remember that your communications with your lawyer will be kept confidential.
2. Gather documents and information
Divorce cases can involve complicated divisions of assets. You can help your lawyer by bringing financial documents such as pay stubs, W-2 Forms, tax returns, 401K information, car titles, mortgage documents, etc to your initial consultation. This will give the lawyer a better sense of what property is part of the marital estate and will serve as a starting point in negotiations with the other side. If there is a potential child custody issue involved, you can bring school records, health insurance information, etc. Your spouse’s lawyer will likely ask for proof of any claims you make. Having proper documentation will make your case stronger and save you time and money in the long run.
3. Don’t hurt your own case
Going through a divorce can bring out the worst in people. You may feel that this whole process is unfair, or may be very angry at the other party. However, don’t just take matters into your own hands and do things as you see fit. It may come back to haunt you later on in the case. Most counties in the DFW area have standing orders in divorce cases. This means that you are prevented from engaging in certain behavior regarding your spouse. For example, in Dallas County, you are prevented from making disparaging statements about your spouse in front of your children. Violation of these standing orders can result in contempt of court.
4. Have realistic expectations
A divorce is an adversarial process. The other side will be represented by an lawyer and have different goals. It is unlikely they will simply agree to everything you asked for. In reality, most divorces end up settling outside of court. This gives both sides the opportunity to negotiate a settlement that is agreeable to both sides. You will save money and stress by settling before going to trial. Your lawyer will do their best to achieve the result you desire. Following these tips will help your lawyer reach that goal while reducing stress for you.