Your Divorce: Begin with the End in Mind

“It’s not the will to win that matters—everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.”

— Paul “Bear” Bryant

One of the most important things for your divorce lawyer to know in the very beginning of your case is your expectations and your desired outcomes of your divorce case.  Would you rather have sole custody or share custody with your spouse?  Would you prefer permanent periodic alimony paid monthly or a lump sum paid all at one time?  If your divorce lawyer doesn’t know what you expect, he will be left to make assumptions for you based on his experience and the types of expectations other similar clients have had.

It is extremely important that this information be shared with your attorney up front.  This may not be something that you discuss at the initial consultation just because of a time issue, but once you have retained your attorney, you need to make sure that your desired outcomes are clear.  Now, this is also a time where your attorney will tell you about your chances of reaching these desired outcomes.  Depending on the facts of your case, some options may not be available and it is important that you know that up front.

The lawyer will take the information that you provide him and prepare a “theory of the case.”  This theory can be thought of as your story.  There will be a clear theme and everything should revolve around that theme.  If you don’t take the time initially to plan for what you are shooting for then you won’t have any clear direction in your case.

When meeting with my clients and prospective clients, I ask them to create an “autobiography” that I use to learn more about their background and the marital history as well as to help me prepare affidavits for the temporary hearing.  Part of this process asks the client to identify their goals and desires for this litigation.  If your attorney asks you to prepare this information for him, please do not take it lightly.  Not only will it help the two of you to get on the same page strategy-wise, but it will help your attorney understand what is important to you and to plan your case out.

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