Your life can become hectic after you file for divorce. While you’re preparing for a new life, you’re also putting in time at work, getting the kids off to school, helping them with their homework, and running household errands like cleaning and grocery shopping. Sometimes it feels as if you don’t even have time to organize your thoughts, let alone help your divorce attorney during your case!
The good news is that you can provide valuable assistance in ways that don’t require you to make more room in an already-busy calendar. When some effort is needed, you’ll find that it leads to hope and even excitement about the new possibilities that await you. Let’s take a closer look at 4 ways that you can help your attorney get you ready for your new future.
1. Keep your expectations realistic
You should maintain realistic expectations about what your attorney can and cannot do. They will explain how Washington’s community property and child custody laws work, advocate for your fair share of the marital estate and help protect your rights as a parent. What your attorney won’t do is share any hostility toward your former spouse and help you “get even.”
Remember: divorce is your chance to realize the happy and prosperous life that you and your children deserve. Instead of holding onto grudges from the past, work with your attorney to end your marriage with dignity and respect.
2. Always be honest
When you withhold information from your attorney, either out of embarrassment or a desire to hide evidence of poor decision-making, you impair their ability to advocate for you. They make strategic decisions and recommendations based on the information you provide to them, so being less than honest can harm both your case and your relationship with your attorney.
3. Organize your paperwork
This part will require some effort, but the time you set aside to collect and organize your financial information will be worth it. Examples of necessary paperwork include:
- Income-related documents, such as pay stubs for a minimum of six months, income tax returns for the past three years including W-2 forms, and any statements of net worth made to secure bank loans and other forms of credit. Try to get copies of your spouse’s income information too.
- Documents related to real estate holdings owned separately or together, such as your current mortgage statements, deeds, current market analysis/ appraisal reports and refinancing documents (if applicable).
- Financial documents such as bank statements for the past two years, retirement and investment account statements for the past year, stocks and bonds, held separately or together.
- Information about marital debts, such as mortgage statements, credit card bills, lines of credit, auto loans and any other divisions to take into consideration.
- Legal documents such as copies of wills, trusts, powers of attorney, prenuptial or post-nuptial agreements, marital contracts or the like (if applicable).
Collecting and reviewing this information will give you and your attorney a clear picture of your assets and your debts so you have a better idea of what to expect. If you and your spouse desire mediation or a collaborative approach for your divorce, with your attorney’s help, you come to your own agreement regarding how the divisions will be handled.
4. Provide requested information in a timely manner
Your attorney will request information from you at various times during the divorce. Sometimes they will need additional documents while other information can be provided verbally. A prompt response enables the divorce to proceed more efficiently.
No one will ever tell you that divorce is easy, but there are various ways that you can make it less stressful. Having reasonable expectations, communicating promptly and honestly with your attorney, and being kind to yourself will all go a long way in keeping your eyes on the future. At Bliss Law Group, our skilled and compassionate divorce team will help you get there. For more information, please call 253-844-4412.