Monday, August 12, 2013, AM | Leave Comment
Divorce can be a bitter disagreement between the two parties in a marriage. While it is true that some divorces are amicable, the vast majority are hard fought cases that require some kind of mediation to get settled.
An attorney is vital to get the best settlement in a divorce proceeding, and there are a number of things that you can do to make sure that you make the case go as smoothly as possible.
A little preparation on your part will go a long way in making the case move quickly and making the settlement more favorable.
In the age of no-fault divorce, proof is not as vital as it once was, but if you initiated the proceedings because of something that your spouse did, then bringing proof of the wrong doing to your attorney will go a long way.
If your spouse committed adultery, or alienation of affection, bring evidence of the adulterous act. Any time the police had to be called because of domestic violence, bring a copy of the police report. These things can have a great impact on the settlement of the case and the distribution of assets, so bring all evidence that you have.
Here is where you need to have a list of all of the things that you and your spouse own, from before and during the marriage, even if a prenuptial agreement was signed. Assets are anything of value that the two of you will need to divide as part of the divorce settlement, including homes, vehicles, bank and retirement accounts and anything of value inside the home.
Make sure that you have some idea about which items are the most important to you. Your attorney will do his or her best to get those items for you in the divorce settlement, but if you do not present a list of the things that you want the most, the attorney will be unable to assist you.
Financial data is the last thing that you will need to bring. This will include tax returns for the last several years and a list of all current accounts and debts that you owe as a couple. Just like assets, debts have to be divided, so the more information your attorney has about the debt, the better the attorney will be able to make arguments about the distribution of debt.
The attorneys will also be able to make a better argument about spousal support and child support if they are able to see the full financial picture of the couple.
No matter what you do, do not try to lie to your attorney. Your attorney will do whatever he or she can do to get the best settlement for you, but if they are blindsided by the opposition because of a lie that you told, they will be on very shaky ground.
If you have hidden assets stashed away somewhere, or undisclosed income, be upfront with your attorney. If it comes out later that you tried to hide money from the courts, all of the goodwill that you may have generated in other areas will vanish and your hopes of getting a beneficial settlement will vanish.
I am Daniel Prout and I am writing this article as a recently divorced man. I tried to hide an account from my ex-wife and it came out during the negotiations. The judge punished me with a fine and a night in jail for contempt of court. I did not contact a lawyer in Lititz PA until it was too late, and I wound up losing almost all of my assets. Once I had an attorney, things turned around and I was able to get back some of the assets I thought I had lost and get the spousal support payments reduced. I highly recommend at least speaking to the attorneys at www.gardnerstevens.com when heading in to divorce proceedings.