Are you ready for some Legal Speak? One of the hardest lessons during divorce besides the emotional ones, are the legal ones. If you’ve never had to hire a lawyer or deal with any legal issues it can be an eye opener. I was a real newbie in the legal arena. I had no clue the costs involved, the time involved nor any handle on the legal vocabulary. Initially, finding the right lawyer was a lesson in itself. My naivete allowed me to believe that the first lawyer was suitable regardless of any variables. I didn’t realize the importance of personality in matching a lawyer with me and my situation. So, first step is to ensure you are finding a lawyer to best suit your needs and that will ensure a terrific start to the process. Also, make sure you have a lawyer that specializes in Family Law. I know that sounds obvious but if someone recommends a lawyer because he’s a brother of a friend be forewarned, if he doesn’t practice family law he won’t be as efficient for your case. Check out my Legal Tips for more information on how to find the right lawyer for you. Let’s say you have a comfortable relationship with your lawyer, here are my 5 Tips to an Efficient Divorce;
1. Be Patient– realize that you are not your lawyer’s only client so it may take days for them to return a phone call. If it’s taking weeks, that is wrong but knowing this ahead of time will save you some frustration.
2. Prepare questions for your lawyer prior to your meetings or telephone conversations. Every minute costs you money so use your time wisely. Take notes or record meetings (with their permission) so you don’t forget any points. Their advice is expensive so why not have it recorded word for word so you can always check back when in doubt?
3. Know that the lawyer follows your instructions and with that comes responsibility. After advising you your best course of action to take it is ultimately up to you to decide how to proceed. Make sure you consider all the facts and given serious thought to your decisions.
4. Before signing any legal documents such as an Affidavit or a Consent Order ensure all statements are absolutely true and that you fully agree. You don’t want to sign a legal document with incorrect facts or consent to a legal arrangement you don’t understand.
5. Keep a Legal Binder for organizing paid bills, unpaid bills, receipts, memos, emails, affidavits, orders. You can claim any costs you have incurred in pursuing child support or spousal (alimony) as a tax deduction on your income. All you require is a brief letter from the lawyer’s office attesting to the amount of money spent. All law offices provide these to their clients upon request.
These tips will help you proceed efficiently and maintain some control over the legal process. In my book I devote a whole chapter to legal issues including a comprehensive glossary of legal terms. I recommend my book if only for that chapter which I titled “Legally Blind” because that’s what I was when I started. (Return to the home page for purchase) This will be a difficult legal experience and the more you know, the easier it becomes.
What has been or is your legal experience? Do you have any tips to share with readers?
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