A divorce is a major decision that affects the entire family. Once the decision is made, the right preparations can save heartache, time, energy, and money. It is an emotional time with an uncertain outcome, but you can take several steps to help get ready for divorce in Colorado.
1) Seek Advice: You should not isolate yourself during a divorce. Instead, seek advice from someone with experience. A family lawyer can help navigate the process even if you remain friendly with your spouse. The unraveling of a marriage has practical and financial consequences that require planning. Your support system can guide you through this process with perspective, wisdom, and insight.
2) Gather Documents: You should ask your lawyer what information they want for the consultation. For instance, if you bring pay stubs and statements from retirement accounts and bank accounts, your lawyer can give you a better estimate of domestic support obligations in your case.
The attorney’s website may also provide information about documentation you should gather in preparation. Staff at the firm can explain what to expect during the consultation. If you are hiring an attorney after a case has started, the attorney may have access to the court record, but you should still plan to bring any relevant documents that you possess. Please note that law firms are increasingly more flexible and technologically capable due to the prevalence of virtual proceedings during the CODI-19 pandemic.
3) Protect Yourself: Starting the divorce process can expose you to many risks. You should protect yourself by taking steps to safeguard information and ensure that you retain access to your home, personal information, assets, bank accounts, cell phone service, vehicle loans, passport, and other necessities. Explore the possibility of freezing accounts so that neither party can commit marital waste.
You should also have a personal safety plan to use when your spouse learns of the divorce. Seek assistance from a professional to ensure that your spouse’s reaction does not endanger you. Re-evaluate security systems, cameras, GPS, tracking apps for cell phones, and measures that could compromise your security. Also check your notification preferences and contact information for insurance policies, bank accounts and other important relationships.
4) Avoid Delay: Although you may need to gather a variety of records to prepare for a consultation with a lawyer, you should not delay the consultation. The most important thing you can bring is your questions. Keep note of any rumors that you may have heard, especially claims that your spouse used to threaten you, so you can address those with your attorney. A legal advocate can explain methods of ensuring that your spouse complies with the law and doesn’t abscond with marital property.
5) Share Openly: You should share several things with your attorney, including your short and long-term goals. If there is an emergency, the lawyer can help. Tell them what you anticipate from your spouse. Remember that the attorney-client relationship is confidential, and your attorney cannot act without your authorization or in a manner that is not in your best interests.
6) Consider Your Moves Carefully. While a divorce is in progress, your actions will be scrutinized closely. Keep in mind that your next moves can build your credibility with the judge; or destroy your credibility. Consider how things might look to a judge before you take certain steps.
7) Guide Your Children: If you have children in common, you should ensure their safety and ease their transition to a new living situation. Your children may feel lost and out of control. Make sure they can maintain their important relationships with teachers, mentors, coaches, and friends. At the same time, you should ensure that you have access to the children’s school and medical records, along with their insurance information. Plan for necessary changes in their care such as school transportation.
Parenting children residing in two different homes can be a challenge, but experts can assist with the adjustment.
8) Ask Your Attorney About Their Experience: Attorneys should be happy to share information about their recent cases, their published works, their educational background, and anything else that interests you. Before deciding if this is legal advocate you want representing you in court, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the attorney’ philosophy and office culture. You can learn a lot from the blogs and videos on an attorney’s website, as well as their social media posts.
9) Discuss Attorney’s Fees: Attorneys charge various rates. You can avoid headaches and delays if you ask realistic questions about affordability and expectations before selecting your attorney. Many attorneys will allow you to work with a guarantor who agrees to pay the attorney fees on your behalf without creating a second attorney-client relationship.
10) Rely on Experts: You can benefit substantially from the help of experts in areas such as home appraisals, therapy, small business valuations, vocational assessments, or other matters that could impact your divorce. Attorneys develop a network of trusted experts who can help guide you through an array of complicated issues. Of course, you can also work with your own experts such as financial advisors and counselors, but it can be helpful to share information from your advisors with your attorney.
Clients frequently benefit from taking these ten preparatory steps. If you need an experienced family lawyer in Colorado, the dedicated team at Jones Law Firm P.C. will fight to protect your interests. For a free confidential consultation, call (303) 799-8155 and start preparing for the next chapter in your life.