Our firm handles exclusively family law matters. Legal separation, divorce, child custody, child support, and alimony cases fill our calendars day-in and day-out. Over the years, we've learned a thing or two about what makes a divorce case more or less stressful for our clients. Our top four tips for making your divorce as stress-free as possible are outlined below:
1. Choose the Attorney Who is the "Right Fit" for You.
Going through a divorce is a major life event, therefore it's vital that you choose an attorney you're absolutely comfortable with by your side throughout the process. It's always good to get recommendations from those you trust most in your support network, but make sure you interview each attorney before making a final hiring decision. If you find yourself sitting across from the attorney and you aren't at ease enough to tell them everything they need to know about your case, move on to the next name on the list. Most attorneys charge a consultation fee for these initial appointments, but that fee is far less expensive than paying thousands of dollars to retain an attorney you don't feel completely comfortable working with during your case.
2. Stay Informed About Your Case
Read over any document sent to you by your attorney or expert(s) as soon as you receive them and if you have questions, do not be afraid to ask them. You hired professionals for a reason. If you ask a question about something you do not know, the attorney or expert will be able to help you answer those questions. In the end, getting an answer to a question will allow you to be more informed. If you are more informed about the divorce proceeding, you will be more confident in the decisions you will need to make later down the road. Sometimes divorce clients tend to "stick their head in the sand" when it comes to communicating with their legal professionals. They avoid opening their mail, they avoid phone calls and then, they also ignore emails sent to them. This is one of the worst things you can do during your case and will lead to more stress for you in the long run. Your attorney works for you and while he may be able to make some decisions about procedural matters without direction from you, he does need lots of input from you in order to make decisions throughout your case. Many of those decisions may be time-sensitive, so if you avoid contact, you may be damaging your case without realizing it.
3. Hire Experts to Handle the Complex Issues
Depending on the complexity of your divorce, you may need to assemble a team of experts to handle the more complex custody, financial, and/or valuation issues involved in your case. These experts can include forensic custody evaluators, psychologists, psychiatrists, business evaluators, forensic accountants, financial advisor, or tax planner. Your attorney can help you on the legal end of the process, but in order to make sure you are not duped into settling for less than you are entitled to, or you agree to a parenting plan that will never meet your children's needs, you will want to hire some of these experts to help give expert opinions on these topics. Typically, your attorney will have an extensive list of experts that they deal with on a regular basis in their cases, and he will be able to recommend which experts are right for your case. If you can get a team of experts together to help accurately value the marital estate and sort out any custody-related disagreements, you won't need to stress out about whether your soon-to-be ex-spouse is taking advantage of you in the divorce proceeding.
4. Don't Fight Over Everything
You'd be amazed how many divorce clients will fight over every single piece of personal property their ex-spouse requests in the property negotiations. That guitar he bought the first year of marriage - that he still can't play - and you hate? Yep, some women will fight over that just to get one more emotional dig in before the end. Those ugly Christmas ornaments she adores and had to have on the front of the tree every year despite the fact that you hated them? Some men will spend literally thousands of dollars in attorney time fighting to keep possession of them. We've even seen cases where a couple will spend several thousand dollars fighting over a piece of lawn equipment they are still making payments on to the finance company! Why not spend that money buying a new one? The jabs you may accomplish in throwing towards your spouse will only increase your personal stress when you get the bill for all this bickering. Prioritizing what is most important to you will help greatly reduce the level of stress you endure during in a divorce proceeding.
The Stevens Firm, P.A. - Family Law Center has provided exceptional legal counsel and support to families throughout South Carolina for over two decades, handling all matters of family law, such as child custody, child support, and divorce. We are well-equipped to handle all divorce and family law matters, no matter your circumstances. Contact us at (864) 598-9172 to schedule an initial consultation.