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Published August 15, 2013

If you are planning on a divorce then it is paramount to know how to work with a divorce lawyer. There are three important planning steps that you can use to make the process simpler and also try and keep costs down.

Get Organized – It is important that you get yourself organized. A lawyer is going to ask you for an inventory of all of your assets and liabilities. You can get all this information before you meet with the attorney. The attorney will need this information in the form of written evidence such as bank statements, credit card statements, etc. They cannot just operate on the work of their client in this matter. Understand that tax returns will likely be requested, also. Other items that come into play are 401K plan statements, pension statements, and IRA statements. Also, if you have wills or other documents that may prove that some of your property is separate and not community property. Separate property was either brought into the marriage or received in the form of inheritance.

Set priorities – Setting priorities can be vital in making sure that you do not get bogged down in the process. By priorities, I mean determining what is important for you. Remember that all the assets are going to be divided. You should figure out if you want to keep the house or not. You should then determine other material possessions and what is important for you. It is important not to get too carried away, because you may not be able to “keep everything”. Realize that your spouse will get things as well. If you have children, determine who will get custody. Then determine a proposed visitation schedule for the other spouse. Children and visitation are often the issues that bog down the divorce procedure.

Be reasonable - Being reasonable can help you get divorced so that you can get on with your life.
Think about what may be important to the other spouse. Sure you may hate him/her, but you still have to reach an agreement on separation of property, residence for the children, and visitation. A big part of getting through the divorce procedure is being prepared for negotiations. This way ahead of time you can have an idea of what you may give up and what your spouse may give up. As mentioned under the priorities section, these are the things that really matter. Don’t treat this like a contest. Generally, the people that win in a contest are the attorneys due to the high legal fees that can be incurred. Realize that it may be a 50/50 split in the end. Thus, being reasonable should help you contribute towards the other spouse’s 50 while getting you the things that are most important.

In summary, a divorce lawyer works for an hourly wage in most circumstances. Planning on your part can help keep these costs down and also speed up the divorce process.

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