Guest article by Houston divorce lawyer Scott Morgan. He is board certified in family law in Texas and has represented divorce clients since 1994. He is the founder of the Morgan Law Firm which has offices in Houston and Austin.
It’s official, you’re getting divorced. The first thing you should do is retain an attorney that you feel comfortable working with. Your attorney is your guide through the divorce process – it is a process that can be long and complicated, so it is important that you develop a strong working relationship. If you will follow a few simple guidelines you greatly aid your attorney in helping you to achieve your objectives and your case will go much more smoothly.
Tip #1 – Be Honest With Your Attorney
Lying is the quickest way to ruin your attorney-client relationship and case. Your attorney depends on the information you provide to create a strategy for your case. The more thorough, accurate information you can provide, the better your attorney can help you reach your goals.
Tip #2 – Be Realistic About Your Objectives
Your attorney cannot predict the specific outcome of your case, but they can give you a general idea of what to expect and how the court system often proceeds in similar situations. You will only hurt yourself and your relationship with your attorney if you continually ask your attorney to do things that are not within the realm of realistic divorce proceedings.
Tip #3 – Be Organized
Get your ducks in a row, and keep them that way. Your attorney will ask to see a lot of financial documents, and may also seek school or medical records, emails, etc. It is a lot of paper work to get in order, but it will be so critical to your case that it is very important to follow your attorney’s instructions in providing this information. The better you can organize your documents, the less time (and money!) your attorney will have to spend on it.
Tip #4 – Be Unemotional
Divorce is not easy on the emotions, but the more you can keep your emotions out of your decision making, the better your attorney can serve you. The court system does not favor those that are trying to ‘get even’–if you find that you cant get past your emotional pain, it is a good idea to hire a therapist to help you with those issues so your attorney can focus on the legal issues.
Tip #5 – Be Willing to Follow Your Attorney’s Advice
Your attorney can not work on your behalf if you are unwilling to follow his instructions. There is a method to the madness of divorce and the more you are a willing and compliant participant, the less time your attorney will spend spinning his wheels to help you accomplish your goals. If your attorney asks you to do something–or to refrain from doing something–do your best to comply in a timely manner.
Your attorney is your ally in the divorce process, but he is not a magician. He will do what he can to help you navigate the proceedings, but he cannot do so effectively unless you are an active partner.