When you go into divorce, you'll do better if you're prepared and knowledgeable. Your attorney is there to do the heavy legal lifting. However, you should understand what your rights and limitations are under your state's family laws. It's also important to know what both you and your spouse want so that you can better negotiate a fair settlement.
Know Your Financial Situation
One of the first things your attorney will ask you to do is get your financial and tax documents in order. You need to know what assets and debts you have individually and with your spouse. Your spouse will be required to present his or her financials as well, but it's best to go in with as much information as you rightfully have access to.
It is also essential to determine whether you will need spousal support or how much you can afford to pay if your spouse will be seeking it. The same is true if you'll be negotiating child support. To do this, develop a budget as soon as possible. Once you know how much you require for necessary expenses that you need to maintain a comfortable life, you can more effectively negotiate how much to ask for or offer to pay.
Know Your Legal Rights and Responsibilities
Know what requirements you and your spouse have under the law, such as providing complete and accurate information to each other and the court. If you have children and you're going to be negotiating for custody and visitation, it's essential to know what your rights and responsibilities are to your children and your co-parent.
A parenting plan is always recommended for parents. In some states, it's required to ensure that children get time with both parents.
Understand What Your Spouse Is Seeking
If you still have an amicable relationship and can discuss what you both want and need from the divorce, that's great. However, even if you don't, if you understand what is important to him or her, you can more effectively negotiate for what's important to you.
Finding an experienced family law attorney who understands what you want from the divorce is an important first step to getting a fair settlement while minimizing the conflict, cost and length of the process. Don't hesitate to ask questions of your attorney so that you can be better informed. Good attorneys appreciate clients who want to be as knowledgeable about the process as possible.
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