10 Tips for Divorce and Family Law Matters

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By JohnBarnes

10 Tips for Divorce and Family Law Matters

Any spouse can find it difficult to deal with the complex issues of Divorce, Family Law and other Family Law issues. While lawyers and judges have experienced almost every form and variation of divorce, the learning curve for spouses is steep.

It would be impossible to summarize such a personal and unique experience into general guidelines. But here are some tips that will help. It’s not surprising that the focus is on what you can control, even though many things are out of your reach.

Don’t believe everything you hear

Family, friends, coworkers, fictional television, and literary characters will all share their opinions. You can take all that “legal advice”, and reduce it to writing. Don’t place any prophetic value on their specific outcome. Lawyers often hear from clients that “my friend received $10,000.00 per month in support spousal, so why can’t we get it?”. Oder “My cousin got sole custody, so I want it the same.”

It is possible to be disappointed by allowing someone who has gone through a divorce/separation process to set your expectations regarding legal entitlements and obligations.

Every case is unique and must be analyzed in light of its particular circumstances. These include the income of the particular couple, their assets and liabilities, and the best interests for the children. No one-size fits all approaches or templates are acceptable in Divorce or Family Law matters. A spouse’s legal outcome may not be applicable to another. However, it is important that you listen to what they have to say about the process. It is totally relatable.

Assist Yourself with a Reliable Support Network

You will need to be supported throughout the divorce process, including financial and emotional support. Professional counselling, online support groups or just a group of close friends can provide emotional support. You’ll likely feel as though the walls are closing in. It will help to have people who will listen when you are struggling. It is recommended to seek out other forms of emotional self-treatment as you will never be able to find your happy place.

Legal fees for contested Divorce & Family Law issues can be very difficult to manage. It is important that you have a financial plan for financing the fees of any lawyer you select.

Find the Right Lawyer

It is important that the lawyer you choose can meet your needs. You should consider your spouse and the issues. Choose your lawyer according to the complexity, style and pace of your Divorce/Family Law matter. Divorce Lawyers have different backgrounds and experience. However, they also have distinct styles. You might want to hire a lawyer who can handle high conflict cases if you’re convinced your spouse will be narcissistic and aggressive. You might benefit from a collaborative approach if your spouse wants to maintain and grow an amicable marriage.

The War: Distinguish the Battles

Divorce or Family Law issues that require immediate attention are of higher importance should be addressed. There are some issues that can be quickly resolved by removing the “low hanging fruit” so everyone is satisfied with the outcome. These should be addressed immediately, even temporarily, until a final decision is made.

Your lawyer will discuss your priorities and help you triage the problems accordingly. The genuine impediments should be discovered sooner than expected, providing you are clear about their merits, urgency, priority, and when they need to be resolved. It is up to you to decide how to get them out of your way.

Look for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

Court is not always the best option. Contrary to popular belief, court should never be considered the only option. Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), which is rapidly growing in popularity, is rightly so. This forum is commonly known as “mediation” and provides a way for divorcing and family law parties to reach an amicable, economic, and more emotionally healthy resolution.

ADR can be applied in any way you like. It’s a good option, regardless of whether you are dealing with parenting issues, child/spousal/property division.

Get Organized

A high level of financial transparency is required between spouses when resolving money issues in divorce. This includes property and support division. It is expected that the spouses exchange information such as income tax returns, pay slips, bank statements, and monthly budgets.

It doesn’t matter how friendly the financial matters are between you, your spouse, or anyone else, truthful, honest, and complete financial disclosure is essential to a successful divorce. Start collecting your financial documentation. It will be very useful.

Rediscover Your Marriage Contracts

Take into account any cohabitation or prenuptial agreements that you may have made before marriage. Many of these documents are hidden away in filing cabinets and safety deposit boxes. However, their importance cannot be understated. They could be partially or fully predetermined the outcome of your divorce proceedings.

Communicate with your spouse on social media and in person

Divorce and Family Lawyers are familiar with the many instances of spouses challenging their position on social media and in written communication with their spouse. It could happen by shamelessly expressing their resentful and abusive comments in order to show that they are the “unfriendly parent”. You might also post immodestly photographs of your spouse’s newfound wealth, amid accusations of them under-reporting their income. It is likely that your spouse will use this information to strengthen their position, and decrease yours. Favorable outcomes in Family Law or Divorce can be made more difficult when your spouse is literally the “author” of your misfortune.

In divorce proceedings, sensible spouses must be disciplined and responsible with their use of social media. Be sensible.

Think about the Need for Experts

A good lawyer-client relationship is the most important tool to help move Divorce & Family cases forward towards resolution. The constant exchange of instructions with clients and legal advice is not without its limitations. External professional opinions and advice may be required at some point. This should be delegated only to those who are uniquely qualified for these roles. Certain parenting issues may call for the retaining of Counsellors/Parenting Experts. Forensic accountants and income analysts might be needed for some financial issues.

Everyone should be in their own lane. Let the lawyers handle the legal matters. Let the Counsellors provide the counselling. Let the accountants handle the accounting. It is not a good idea to force anyone to go beyond their limits or do anything that isn’t necessary.

It is important to consider the costs of expert fees. While it may seem appealing to have each spouse supported by their own multidisciplinary Dream Team of favourable specialists, it is not practical for most. When possible, experts should only be selected where they are most important. You may consider having your spouse retain an expert in order to reduce costs and create a pathway toward agreement.

You should be prepared for the possibility that your Divorce may not be a one-off event.

Every spouse who is divorcing wants to end their marriage with a quick and easy divorce.

It is impossible in all circumstances. If facts change, it may be necessary for issues to be revisited as they evolve. Formal arrangements regarding parenting time, decision making for the children, child maintenance, and support for spouses are only as good as the facts. These facts can change and the arrangements should also be updated. Each year, support should be reviewed in light of changes in income and employment. Monitoring parental matters is essential to ensure that children are being cared for in the best interests of their children.

It is not a good idea to have a Family Lawyer working on your payroll. Divorce is more due to the unpredictability in life than to unscrupulous lawyers trying to milk the system.

ADR was once again presented as a way for spouses to manage ongoing fluid situations cost-effectively.

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