How to prepare for divorce is a very broad question. In this article, we will emphasize attention mostly on the preparation for an uncontested, amicable divorce. However, some preparation is very general regardless of whether you have an uncontested or contested divorce and applicable in either of them. In some way how to prepare for divorce topic is a logical continuation of our previous blog post-divorce settlement.
How to prepare for divorce – GATHERING FACTS
We have discussed meeting with the client in last week’s post. After the first meeting with the client, the family law attorney should gather detailed facts from the client as the next step to resolving the issues in the divorce. Although the client is often the best source of information regarding all issues in the case, he or she may be unaware of the extent of his or her knowledge and insight regarding the issues.
The most efficient way for your attorney to gather information from you is to ask you to fill out a questionnaire on facts relevant to the case and to gather documents. The attorney should remind the client that considerable expense will be saved if each question is answered fully and accurately because the answers will ultimately form the basis for the disclosure required by Family Code 2100-2105.
If you are unsure about the answer to any questions, you should not hesitate to point that out to the attorney. The attorney should inform you that any document prepared for the client will be presented to the client in draft form for his or her review before signing.
How to prepare for divorce efficiently is a matter of how you can control yourself in a divorce stressful environment. Many clients are too anxious, uninformed, or disorganized to fill out a detailed questionnaire and should not be asked to do so. In this situation, the attorney’s initial fact-gathering may best be generated from the initial interview, coupled with limited tasks for the client to perform. For example, regarding the family residence, your family law attorney should ask you to provide the most recent mortgage statement, homeowners’ insurance statement, and property tax bill. Another example is credit card debt. Counsel should ask the client to provide, if possible, the most current statements for all credit card accounts, both joint and individual.
How to prepare for divorce – Developing Plan
Before the parties will be able to negotiate with each other, they must have substantial information regarding the issues in dispute. Their attorneys have a duty to collect and assess all relevant information to help them do so. Most attorneys begin with a discovery plan that identifies the information required and the potential sources and methods for obtaining it. This plan may contain elements of both formal and informal discovery.
The fair market value of a community residence. Each attorney may retain his or her own expert or the attorneys may agree to jointly hire the same valuation expert. One or both parties may want to use a recent appraisal, e.g., by a financing institution as part of a refinancing process. Some parties and attorneys may prefer to use real estate brokers or salespeople rather than certified appraisers; however, they should bear in mind that, if a negotiated settlement cannot be reached, the appraiser or broker must be able to testify and be cross-examined regarding his or her opinion at trial. A party also may offer a personal opinion on the value of his or her own residence at trial, but he or she must provide a foundation for that opinion, “of a type that reasonably may be relied upon by an expert in forming an opinion as to the value of property.” The value of a sole proprietorship. The type of professionals to be selected to determine the value of the business are, e.g., a certified public accountant, a business broker, a business appraiser, or a forensic CPA who specializes in divorce litigation.