You can have a better divorce and get more from your attorney by following this advice from award-winning author and divorce expert attorney Ed Sherman, founder of Nolo Press.
Start with the right information. Before your first visit with your attorney, find out about the rules and procedures for divorce. A survey of readers of Nolo divorce books shows that the single most important factor in a smoother divorce is starting off informed and having the control over your life this gives you.
Understand what kind of help you can get from an attorney, and the law, and what kind you can’t. Most problems in divorce are emotional, not legal ones, and the legal system has no solutions for anything but legal problems. Don’t expect your lawyer to solve your emotional problems–there are better ways to get this kind of help.
Be prepared! Organize your information and documents ahead of time and bring them to your first visit, so you can hand them over and not waste a lot of time (and money) on the facts. With good preparation, you will be able to ask intelligent questions. The lawyer will be very aware of dealing with a client who knows what’s what, and you will get better care and more respect.
Control your case. Client control of divorce negotiations is the most significant predictor of a good post-divorce outcome. Take responsibility for knowing what’s going on and for making your own decisions. Actively participate in your negotiations.
Keep business and personal matters separate. Many aspects of divorce are businesslike: money, property, procedures, negotiation and agreements, lawyers, and taxes. Business and personal/emotional matters do not mix well. The best way to reduce conflict and legal expenses is to keep them separate.
FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY ED SHERMAN shows you how to do all of these things and more in his book Make Any Divorce Better. With more than a million books sold, he has helped millions of people get better divorces. Full of practical advice and worksheets to help you get organized, his book can help you too. A family law attorney since 1970, Ed Sherman founded Nolo Press in 1971 with his famous book, How to Do Your Own Divorce.