It could be a bombshell revelation or it could be something you knew was coming for years. Either way, you are now facing a separation or a divorce and you need legal separation advice.
It is very difficult when you are in the middle of one of the most horrible experiences in your life to focus. You are overcome with emotions, from sadness to anger.
Once you have retained your attorney, you have a million questions ranging from will I get child custody to should I stay in the marital home?
The first thing you should do is trust yourself. You hired your divorce lawyer because you found something that they did or said compelling.
Trust that your attorney will be acting in your best interest. Also trust that your attorney is listening to you and taking notes. You are being heard. Emphasizing the points you are concerned about is helpful to your attorney.
However, trust works both ways. Don’t lie to your attorney. All it does is cloud the issue and make it more difficult for your attorney to work on your behalf.
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Also, be forthcoming with issues that you know may affect the outcome. Tell your attorney that you have a prior felony conviction or that you have a girlfriend. These are things your attorney needs to know in order to best represent you. Not having all of the facts can make the difference between you getting full custody of your kids or just visitation time.
Don’t worry what your attorney thinks of you as a person. Decisions and actions have already been done to get you to where you are today. So, yes, you were not the most attentive husband. Yes, you may have worked longer hours and not called home as much as you should. But, changing the past won’t change the present. Before meeting with your attorney after your first initial consultation, think about what your priorities are for your divorce and think about divorce questions to ask to get the information you need. Is your priority making sure all the debt is paid? Or is it to make sure you don’t pay child support?
Utilize the time you spend meeting your attorney. Sit down and think about what you need to know or ask before you call or meet with them.
Utilize your words. Don’t tell your attorney you will give her the house if you don’t mean it. Making promises you know you won’t keep does not help speed your case along.
Remember that you have to abide by the order you receive from the court. Your attorney can only act on your behalf if they know what is most important to you. It also helps to write down what you need to know and then writing down the answers. If you don’t remember, then e-mail your attorney later that day. Having the answer gives you satisfaction on two different levels.
First of all, it reminds your attorney know that this is an issue that you are concerned about. Secondly, it reassures you of what the possible outcomes could be of this issue. It is your right as a client to call and talk to your attorney when you need to. However, always remember that your attorney is not your therapist. They can listen and be sympathetic, but they are not your therapist. They are qualified to deal with your legal issues.
Your attorney is not your friend. They want the best outcome for you legally. They have not been hired to preserve your family unit or help you get back together with your wife. They represent you, not you and your wife, or you and your children.
If your attorney advises you to consider counseling, consider it. A counselor will have different objectives than your attorney does. Your attorney operates in the legal world. They know what you should wear to court. They know how judges treat alimony. The know the statutes.
Trust your attorney to tell you the truth. Also trust your attorney to give you the correct advice. Keep the lines of communication open both ways to increase your chances of success in your divorce case.