Preparing for Divorce Court So You Don’t Leave Anything on The Table
When facing off against a soon-to-be former spouse in divorce court, it is essential that you – the client – discuss with your lawyer what issues are most important to you so your lawyer can prioritize your objectives and build a winning strategy.
During a divorce proceeding, each side generally has limited time to present their arguments and evidence. Time shouldn’t be squandered on smaller items when bigger issues are at stake. Emphasis should be on more important matters such as valuable marital assets instead of spending valuable time arguing about how to divide the furniture.
Being clear about your main concerns allows your lawyer to focus on presenting the most compelling evidence that will ensure you have a successful outcome at trial or in settlement negotiations. Furthermore, when it comes to unearthing evidence that bolsters your position, you – the client – are often your lawyer’s best resource.
Divorce Cases with a Self-Employed Spouse
Consider a case in which you were the spouse who stayed home while your partner was self-employed. Often, it is difficult to get an exact amount of income in the case of an entrepreneur. In this instance, you may be helping your lawyer find evidence, such as your spouse’s spending, that gives a more complete picture of his or her income and could result in a higher amount of alimony or child support being awarded.
Divorce Cases with Marital Property or Inheritance
In another example, you may have inherited a substantial sum before the marriage, and what started out as separate property may have become commingled when some of the funds were used for a down payment on the home in which you and your spouse resided. Each side may be able to make strong arguments for and against categorizing the equity in the home as marital property. The outcome can depend on a number of factors, and your lawyer may rely on you to provide important information to support your arguments.
Divorce Cases & Debts
Debts are another area of concern. If you are worried that you will be saddled with your spouse’s tax debt or substantial student loans, your lawyer should highlight this issue for the court so you won’t be held responsible.
Custody battles – especially if both parents petition for primary custody – can be exceedingly complicated. If you are seeking primary physical custody but your lawyer does not ask questions about family routines or how involved you are as a parent, then the court might have enough information to award you the custody and parenting time you are seeking.
It is important that you provide insight and information to enable your lawyer to determine what evidence is needed to present your case.
Preparing Your Divorce Case for Court
Finally, when the trial is imminent, you and your lawyer will work together to prepare your case for court. While every case is unique, in the weeks leading up to your trial date, you can generally expect the following:
A month before a divorce proceeding:
- Your attorney will make sure all of your information is up-to-date, such as current bank and retirement account statements as well as the latest marital balance sheet that shows the assets and debts in the marriage.
The week before:
- Your lawyer will meet with you to prepare you to testify.
- Your lawyer will also discuss with you the evidence that may be used and witnesses who may be called to testify.
The day before the parties have to appear in court:
- Your lawyer will instruct you to arrive early to court, be appropriately dressed, and ready to testify.
- Your lawyer will remind you where to meet at the courthouse and go over any last-minute questions you may have.
By identifying and prioritizing the issues most important to you, your lawyer can determine what evidence is necessary to reinforce your arguments surrounding the division of marital assets, alimony, child custody and more. This approach can allow your lawyer to create a strategy that will ensure that nothing is left on the table.
If you’re in the process of divorcing your spouse or have questions about the division of assets in your divorce case, the experienced, compassionate team of Boyd Collar Nolen Tuggle & Roddenbery is here to be your advocate and fight for you while smoothing the path through difficult terrain.
Our Atlanta divorce attorneys are known not only for their abilities to skillfully litigate contested matters, but also for the most effective use of their experience, knowledge, and sound judgment to achieve negotiated settlements. For more information about how Boyd Collar Nolen Tuggle & Roddenbery can help you, please contact us at 770.626.7226 today.