Divorce First Steps?

  Posted on January 5, 2015

stressDivorce first steps? If you are divorcing, your emotions may have best of you. Feeling scared and wanting to be protected are common "knee jerk reactions". As a result of the emotions, the first thing most divorcing spouses do is hire a divorce attorney. However, if a client does not address their own emotional needs, hiring a divorce attorney won't help their feeling of being out of control on an emotional roller coaster.

The first step in divorce should be to hire a therapist rather than an attorney. A therapist is the professional best able to help you deal with the myriad of emotions you are experiencing. Weekly meetings with a therapist can do wonders to settle emotions and provide clarity. Divorcing spouses who work with a therapist also typically spend less on attorney fees because the client is more in control and able to focus.

The centered client is better equipped to have productive meetings with their attorney and provide requested information to the paralegal or office staff. Efficient meetings with the attorney helps the case run smoother and also decreases unnecessary legal fees. In fact, attorneys often tell me they routinely encourage clients to work with a therapist because it makes the attorney's job easier when the clients are calm.

If you are divorcing, before you interview attorneys, it is very helpful if you have gathered and organized financial information. Otherwise, how can they attorney give you any meaningful legal advice if they don't have any information? The relevant financial information includes: a list of the marital assets and debts with approximate values and a worksheet with a list of your monthly living expenses. You should have about 140 items on your expense worksheet including expenses for housing, transportation, children, personal, medical and tax expenses.

Only after the attorney has the financial information can they really begin to work on your case or outline a fair settlement. Attorneys are not magicians, they cannot read minds or leap tall buildings in a single bound. They are not therapists or financial professionals. They are however the professional best suited to address the legal issues of divorce. Because divorce attorney hourly rates are much higher than hourly rates for therapists or financial professionals, you will get better value for your money spent when you work with three separate professional rather than just with one divorce attorney.

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