Lauren Fields Aug. 9, 2021

        Just like every marriage, every divorce is different. The process depends on many different legal rules, as well as personal aspects of the divorcing parties’ lives, including the cause of the breakup, whether any children were born during the marriage, and both joint and separate financial information. To best navigate the intricacies of divorce, you should seek the help of a knowledgeable attorney. However, even with the assistance of legal counsel, you can—and should—take further individual action to increase your likelihood of achieving your desired divorce outcome. Listed below are just some of the ways you can get the best, and likely the cheapest, service from your divorce lawyer.

Be transparent and realistic.

Divorce proceedings inherently involve personal details of the lives of both parties involved, in addition to the lives of some of the people closest to them. Unfortunately, while some may not wish for all of those details to be shared, the information may be relevant to a divorce case. From the first day you hire your lawyer, remember to answer any and all of her questions thoroughly and truthfully—even if your answer is embarrassing or seemingly unfavorable to your case. Moreover, be sure to disclose relevant information even if your attorney does not directly ask for it. Whether the details help or hurt your case, your attorney needs to know the information so she can bolster her arguments for you and prepare for your spouse’s arguments against you.

In addition to disclosing evidence, you should also be continuously transparent with your lawyer regarding your goals for your divorce. At all times, you should both understand exactly what you anticipate from your attorney and from the proceedings themselves. However, do not expect your lawyer to work unrealistic or financially implausible miracles. Expect to encounter some bumps along the way, and remember to keep the big picture in perspective when or if they do. 

Document everything.

When ruling on divorces, judges do not make decisions based merely on conjecture. Depending on your lawyer’s advice, try to collect as much concrete evidence from before and during your divorce proceedings as possible so it can be used in your favor. Such evidence could include tax forms, bank account records, insurance information, receipts, employment information, and phone or email correspondence between you and your spouse, among other things. When possible, try to collect both physical and electronic copies of this information, and keep everything in a safe place—especially if you think your spouse would try to take or withhold the evidence to hinder your case. Do not delete any information until your lawyer has given you the green light to do so.

Organize your documents.

While your lawyer can use documented evidence to your advantage, you can save her time—and save yourself money in attorney’s fees—by organizing those documents in a logical and easily navigable way. Labeling and categorizing information on your own will allow your attorney to spend her billable hours figuring out how best to use the documents to help your case rather than trying to discern the substance of the documents themselves.

Listen to your lawyer.

You hired your attorney for a reason—to help you navigate the complicated legal aspects of your divorce. Remember, though, the law overlaps with parts of your personal life. Whatever your lawyer advises you to do, trust that she understands how that act or behavior could affect the outcome of your case. And do not be afraid to ask questions! Your lawyer has specialized knowledge, but part of her job is to keep you informed about your case so she can ensure she adequately serves you, her client.

Be professional.

As previously mentioned, you may encounter some frustrating or disheartening obstacles throughout your divorce. Regardless of your circumstances, your emotions will be affected in some way or another. Your lawyer will guide you through the process, but remember that you two have a professional, attorney-client relationship. While lawyers are humans too, try to seek other outlets (friends, family, therapists, etc.) when dealing with the emotional aspects of your divorce.

Be patient.

The timing of divorce widely varies. Some divorces may take as few as 60 days, while others could last years. Your lawyer will direct you through each step of the process, but keep in mind that not everything can be solved in a week. Your attorney will inform you of important events throughout your divorce timeline. Though you should ask about any questions you have, try not to inundate your lawyer with calls or emails. She will likely respond to you within 24 hours of a missed phone call or an email, so remember to be patient and trust that she would contact you if something crucial develops.

Even after hiring a divorce attorney, you should try to play an active role in your divorce case. Following this advice should help you get along with your lawyer, minimize your attorney’s fees, and ultimately achieve your desired results in your case.