Divorce litigation is overwhelming, and everyone copes with the stress differently. Some clients take the litigation in stride; some allow the litigation to consume their every thought; and some clients bury their heads in the sand and come up for air when they think the storm is over. With that said, below are some tips on client expectations during divorce litigation:
1. Know your and your spouses finances. Be able to summarize income from all sources and identify all assets and debts.
2. Prepare a realistic monthly budget. This budget should include your and your children's expenses.
3. Obtain copies of all financial and property records. This may include bank statements, deeds, titles, tax returns, business records, life insurance policies, credit card statements, loan documents, appraisals, etc.
4. Open your own bank account in case of an emergency and/or your spouse cuts off access to funds.
5. Keep a journal of important events, as well as the dates and times you and your spouse spend with your children.
6. Communicate with your attorney and do not procrastinate. If you are difficult to reach and/or you wait until the last minute for everything, it stalls the case and reduces your attorney's trust in you. It also sends the message that you do not think your case is important.
7. Be truthful and tell the whole truth. When you are not completely truthful, it may cause your attorney to waste time and resources on the wrong theory or strategy, and it may give your attorney a false impression of the strength of your case.
8. Be prepared to provide proof to support your allegations. It is not what you know. It is what you can prove.
9. Change your passwords for all accounts, especially the e-mail account you use to communicate with your attorney.
10. Be aware that anything you post on social media or on a public forum may be presented as evidence in your divorce litigation.
11. Listen to your attorney's advice. You did not hire an attorney to tell you what you want to hear. You hired an attorney to deliver the good, the bad, and the ugly.