By Justin Sisemore
In my last blog post, How to have an Affordable, Cost Effective Divorce, I talked about ways you can save money as you’re going through the divorce process. Not necessarily unrelated to saving money in a divorce is being a “good client”, which can not only assist in keeping costs down, but can help the process run as smoothly as possible.
Missing deadlines, forgetting to provide financial statements to your lawyer and essentially not having your ducks in a row can cause the divorce to drag on (and costs to escalate), which nobody wants. The more you work with us, the better equipped we are to go to battle for you.
So if I could wave a magic wand and create the perfect client, these are a few of the things I’d ask for:
Timeliness and Responsiveness
I’m a big deadline person. During the course of divorce in the state of Texas, there are several deadlines that you’ll have to meet. We rely on our clients to get their information and documentation together so that we can meet these deadlines.
We usually only have 14 days to get your summary together. In other forms of litigation, you might have six to eight months for this part of the case, so we have to move quickly.
During the discovery phase of the divorce, we’re going to need a lot of financial information from you such as bank statements, tax returns, home appraisals, and retirement assets. To help your case move along speedily, we’ll need this documentation ASAP.
It’s very challenging to form a good divorce case without comprehensive information. In divorces, there is so much emotion and focus on the other person involved, which is part of the reason many clients don’t do a good job of getting their information together. It’s just not something you want to deal with.
We understand this is a hard time for you, but the more information we have, the easier it is for us to effectively prepare your case.
Prior to meeting with your divorce lawyer:
- Write down the immediate issues you’re having with your spouse.
- Determine your divorce goals.
- Make a list of questions you have about the case.
- Compile asset and debt information.
- Be prepared to provide copies of any financial statements you might have.
When you meet with your attorney, be sure to use your time wisely (which can help keep your divorce costs down). You’re going to be inundated with information, and divorce is stressful. Be sure to take notes in your meetings with your divorce attorney so you don’t forget the advice your lawyer provides, and what is being requested of you.
After you meet with your family law attorney, keep a list of the questions you have following the meeting rather than calling with one question at a time.
Stick with the Process
I’ve done 4,000 divorce cases. The frustrated clients are the ones who want to change my process. Divorces can take time and can be excruciating slow, but we will help you get through it. You have to follow the process and listen to us.
Have Realistic Expectations
Your significant other wronged you and now you want it all – the house, the car and the dog too. But try to be reasonable and manage your expectations. You might not get the exact child custody arrangement you hoped for and you might have to give up the car and half of your bank account. We’ll fight to get you what you deserve, but we’ll also be truthful about what you can expect out of your case.