Unfortunately, contested divorce cases can be compared to war, with ex-spouses battling it out in the courtroom for child custody, financial support, and the distribution of assets. The best way to prepare for the fight is to devise a winning divorce strategy, which will allow you organize documents, outline your needs and desires, and to become familiar with the court process.
What Kind of Case do you have?
Determining what kind of action you have prior to filing is crucial to tailoring your strategy to fit your individual needs. Do both parties agree to the divorce, and the terms of a settlement? What about an agreeable custody arrangement? If there are any disagreements, then the divorce is going to be contested, which will often lead to intense settlement negotiations or courtroom litigation.
Knowing what kind of battle you are facing will help you decide what kind of attorney can best represent you. Contested matters will not benefit from a lawyer who favors mediation and quick settlements. Alternatively, uncontested divorce actions can face disastrous results if you retain a bulldog family law attorney who prefers to litigate cases. The right attorney can help you craft the appropriate strategy.
Consult with (and Hire) an Attorney
Many law firms, including Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C., offer free divorce consultations. Meeting with an experienced lawyer is the first step to creating a winning divorce strategy. While preparing for your initial consultation, it is recommended that you draft a list of questions to ask the attorney, as well as provide a brief relationship history and any events that may have lead up to your decision to divorce.
While you can’t put a definite price on solid and competent representation, you should have a general idea of your budget for a retainer fee, as well as any costs that you may incur once the retainer is depleted. If you cannot afford to pay the initial retainer deposit in full, ask if you are able to enroll in a payment plan. You cannot hire a divorce or family law attorney on a contingency fee basis, so keep that in mind before retaining representation.
The attorney or firm that you hire should be experienced and have a thorough understanding of the court system. Given the strategic nature of divorce and family law matters, it can be extremely helpful if your representation is familiar with the opposing counsel and judges. Divorce has serious, long term consequences, and having a team of knowledgeable lawyers advocating for your best interest can give you a leg up on your ex-spouse.
Familiarizing yourself with your family’s financial situation is one of the most important strategic preparations you can take. Being unfamiliar with assets, debts, or other joint property and accounts can result in an unfair financial settlement. Furthermore, remaining oblivious to your spouse’s financials can make it easier for them to hide assets or be dishonest on their Statement of Net Worth. These lies can lead to lower amounts of money being paid in child and spousal support, as well as an unequitable distribution of assets. Parties to a high net worth divorce matter must spend time reviewing their financial portfolios during the duration of their case.
To make preparing and organizing financial documents and information easier, Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. provides all of their clients with a free Financial Checklist. The checklist is tailor made for contested, high net worth New York State divorce cases, but can be beneficial to anyone facing a divorce action. Compiling necessary financial documents in the beginning stages of your divorce will help your attorney during the discovery process, and allow them to point out any discrepancies in your spouse’s Statement of Net Worth.
Stay Focused on Your Kids
A successful divorce is a child centered one. While you may have disagreements or tension with your ex, it is important to not let your children get involved in arguments. Shielding them from negativity will help to prevent parental alienation, and allow them to transition into a new lifestyle more easily.
The idea of losing residential custody of your children is scary, but purposefully making false allegations against your former spouse can be detrimental to your case. Lying in court documents, or during trial, will always come back to bite you. Remain a prominent feature in your children’s lives by attending school functions and extracurricular activities, staying up-to-date with appointments, and just spending time with your kids. Not only will doing so have a positive impact on your children, it can strengthen your relationship and make you a better parent.
Avoid Emotional Pitfalls
The emotional and mental pitfalls of divorce may not be the first thing on your mind when you prepare to file a case, but creating ways to avoid them needs to be a prominent component of your winning divorce strategy.
Divorce is an emotional roller coaster, and without realizing it, it is possible to get overwhelmed during the ride. Allowing your emotions to dictate your actions during divorce can have a major impact on your case. You will end up fighting your spouse just for the sake of hurting them, which will result in higher legal fees and a longer divorce. When you get angry or frustrated, you need to take step back from the situation and really think about your course of action.
Retaining experienced counsel to fight the legal battle for you will provide you with the time to invest in your well-being. Leave the arguing to your attorney, and focus on your mental and emotional health. Spend time with friends and family, immerse yourself in a beloved activity, or learn a new hobby. Divorce is tough, but doing things that make you happy will make the process a little more bearable.
Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C.
For the last 26 years, Brian D. Perskin & Associates P.C. has represented New Yorkers in all kinds of divorce and family law cases, focusing on contested and high conflict divorce matters. This wealth of experience provides the attorneys with the ability to craft customizable divorce strategies for their clients, helping to ensure a beneficial settlement is reached. For more information, or to get started on preparing your winning divorce strategy, contact Brian and his team today!