When you are first facing a divorce, whether you are the one wanting a divorce or not, the fear of the unknown can seem daunting to many. Common fears that come to mind:
- Will I lose the ability to see my children?
- Will I lose my pension?
- What about the house, who will get it?
Fears about divorce and speaking with a divorce attorney causes a lot of anxiety and people deal with that in different ways. Some get defensive, some turn to alcohol or drugs, and others “put their head in the sand” or suffer from denial. Divorce brings anger, confusion, sadness, and most of all fear. The more information you have, however, the less anxiety you should have. It is for that reason, that you need to talk to someone to educate you on the process.
It’s not unusual for people to be anxious or fearful to make the first step by contacting a divorce attorney. Suddenly it feels real. Many clients believe that by calling a divorce attorney, they have taken a step that compels them forward to a divorce. It does not have to be that way.
On some occasions, you just need information, and you should not be getting that information from your sister, your friend, or your neighbor who just went through their divorce. The first contact with a divorce attorney might instill fear or anxiety, but once you finally make the call, you will be glad you did.
3 Tips to Follow When It’s Time to Consult With a Divorce Attorney
1. Choose a Divorce Attorney Who Only Handles Divorces and Pick and Be Sure the Attorney is Experienced.
Lawyers are not trained in law school to deal with the emotions divorce cases bring us, so much of that training comes from the experience the attorney has dealing with thousands of divorce cases. For that reason, you should choose an attorney who not only concentrates in divorce or domestic relations law but has also been practicing for a long time. As divorce attorneys become seasoned, we learn how to spot certain anxieties and potential problems that you may not even know about yet. In over 20 years as a divorce attorney, I think the biggest fear people face is the unknown. No one knows how their divorce case is going to end which naturally leads to anxiety.
2. Be Prepared When You Meet with the Your Attorney
Lawyers will need documents from you, so try and gather as many as possible when you meet with your attorney. Find your credit card bills, your mortgage bill, and any other document in your possession. Try and obtain bank account statements, pension statements, and other retirement and investment accounts. If your spouse is in charge of paying the bills, it is likely harder for you to find this type of documentation, but once your attorney can review your financial picture, you will obtain more information about what your potential settlement will be. Being armed with information and learning about the process of your divorce and the likely outcome can still be painful, but at least with some information, you should feel better about the process.
3. Work with Your Attorney to Prepare Your Divorce Strategy
After gathering your financial and marriage-related documents, you and your lawyer can plan your strategy to get the divorce over with, but also to ensure you get your fair share. You may elect to mediate your case at this point or litigate it. Do you want a strong presence who will fight for you, or are you looking for someone who will be reasonable and attempt settlement over litigation? The answer to those questions unfortunately can depend on the way the divorce is presented to you initially.
If you are meeting with a divorce lawyer because you were served with an order of protection and you have been removed from your house, the strategy you implement may be to fight back. Your case has already started in a highly litigated mode and taking a less aggressive stance will be unlikely. Your lawyer will need to know how aggressive your case should be presented. Most lawyers can wear many hats and are trained in trial strategy as well as negotiation. Every case will be different but you will need to figure out how your case will be presented.