4 Things You Must Share With Your Divorce Lawyer
Divorce is not an easy time for anybody. Even when the breakdown of your marriage is amicable, there are often a lot of conflicting emotions, and it can be easy to feel like you’re out of your depth. In this state, you may not always make the most prudent decisions, which is one of the reasons it is important to seek guidance from an attorney.
It’s important, too, to be prudent about the expertise you seek — aside from anything else, divorce law can vary widely from state to state. Divorce lawyers for men in Tampa will be able to advise whether clients meet the criteria for a dissolution of marriage specific to Florida; from residence requirements to their rights to trial and appeal.
Amidst the emotional difficulties, and administrative frustrations, your divorce attorney will be a stable, informative presence. However, in order for them to provide you with the most relevant and useful advice, it is essential that you are open with them on a variety of subjects. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but we’re going to take a look at four areas of information that you must share with your lawyer at the earliest opportunity.
History of Your Relationship
One of the most useful pieces of information you can provide your lawyer is a concise history of your relationship. It doesn’t have to be your magnum opus, but it should contain all the pertinent information about your time together. Compile this chronologically, detailing significant dates as accurately as possible. Make a note of noteworthy events and their locations — including any pertinent arguments or actions. In particular, make certain to include a detailed account of when you believe the marriage began to break down, including any perceived causes.
This is certainly not an easy task. Going back over all the events of your relationship may well bring up some difficult or painful emotions. However, it is a useful document for your lawyer to start building a case with. It may be worthwhile to tackle the creation of this document over a longer period of time, in order to give yourself space to step away when overwhelmed, and to limit the potential mental strain.
It may be the case that your marriage broke down as a result of infidelity, it may even be the case that one of you had an affair at another point in your marriage and you had attempted to work through it. Either way, this is a vital piece of information to provide your lawyer at the earliest opportunity.
In some states, cases where adultery led to the breakdown of a marriage can result in an application for alimony being denied. In other cases, a higher-earning spouse who was unfaithful during the marriage may be cause for alimony to be awarded. It can be embarrassing for both sides to discuss issues surrounding infidelity, but it’s important to remember that your lawyer is there to make the best representations on your behalf. By being completely open with them about any affairs, you can provide them with the best toolkit with which to build your case.
It can also be pertinent to inform your lawyer if, at any point during the marriage, your relationship was subject to mutually agreed poligamy. You do not want to run the risk of your adventurous sex life later being framed as adultery by your former partner, and become subject to all the consequences that come with that. Therefore be clear with your attorney about any such activities as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, domestic violence is still a prevalent part of society. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in three women, and one in four men have experienced abuse at the hands of their partner. While it is difficult to talk about, for both victim and perpetrator, it is nonetheless an integral subject to discuss with your attorney.
If you have been abusive to your former partner at any time prior or since your separation — mentally, verbally, or physically — you must be open and honest about this, providing as much detail as possible. This will allow your attorney to provide you with the best advice on what to expect from the outcome of your case, and what representations need to be made.
For victims of domestic abuse, detailing incidents of spousal harm is always difficult, and often subject to a mixture of emotions. Know that your lawyer is there to provide you with the support you need, and they have experience and expertise in dealing with domestic violence in relationships. Being open with them is not just an opportunity to provide facts about your marriage, but also for them to provide you with any resources that may be useful moving forward. If domestic abuse has made you feel unsafe when around your former partner, they may be able to make alternative arrangements for any court dates, or arrange for any necessary meetings with your spouse to be undertaken via video conferencing software. It may even be the case that any mediation or court appearances could be arranged so that you are not in the same vicinity as your abuser. Talk to your attorney; your safety through this process is paramount to them.
This is perhaps one of the more obvious areas for discussion, but it is not always as straightforward as you may first assume. There are various factors which can affect the division of assets, or the allocation of spousal support. Before attending your first meeting with your lawyer, make sure that you have copies of any financial records, bank statements, material assets, and debt information to hand.
While you are not going to be expected to provide a list of every material item you own, you should declare any land or property ownership, vehicles, stock portfolios, and proof of both your and your former partner’s income. Show documents regarding loans, mortgages, and credit cards. It can also be useful to provide a rundown of your monthly budget, including any outgoings for utility bills.
It’s a no-brainer, but don’t attempt to conceal anything — especially from your attorney. Not only does this prevent them from being able to make equitable and prudent representations regarding settlement, but revelations of hidden assets could result in you being significantly penalized, or even subject to prosecution.
The relationship between lawyer and client is one of support. When it comes to your divorce, your attorney’s aim is to provide you with the best possible expertise at what can often be a difficult time for both parties. It is in your best interest to provide your divorce lawyer with as much information as you can regarding your relationship, in order for them to accurately assess the situation, and offer you the legal guidance that will serve you well throughout this process.
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