10 Things to Know Before Filing for Divorce

  1. Over 95% of all divorce cases settle before they go to trial, so try mediation rather than taking an adversarial position. And if mediation’s not for you, there are other options like collaborative divorce and even arbitration.
  2. Before you file for divorce, think about your goals for the ultimate outcome of your case. You can only make good decisions in choosing how to file, whether or not to try mediation or collaborative law, how to select an attorney, and how to proceed if you know where you want to end up when it’s all over.
  3. Set your intentions with a Divorce Mission Statement. Know who you want to be when your divorce is over. If your top priority is your children, make sure that your decisions and actions are really in their best interests, not just yours.
  4. If you choose to represent yourself, get enough information about how to behave in court and what forms you need in order to do it well. Consider hiring a lawyer by the hour to consult with you about special issues and to review your settlement (the technical name for this is Unbundled Legal Services). If you cannot afford a lawyer, your local Bar association will have a lawyer referral program or be able to refer you to a Legal Aid Society who may be able to help.
  5. Only you can make the best decisions that will determine your future. Do your homework, get information, speak to level-headed friends and qualified professionals (we find accountants and financial planners, and even therapists, are often as much or more helpful than a lawyer), and use self-reflection to decide what’s best for you. Don’t jump to conclusions or rush to a decision. You took years getting to this place, so don’t expect to solve everything in 2 minutes. A reasonable, solid, working divorce settlement takes time to negotiate and gel. You’re living with the decisions you make, but your lawyer, your accountant, the judge, and your best friend are not.
  6. If the amount of money you’re fighting about won’t matter in 5 years, it probably doesn’t matter now, so let go of it. Sure, it’s more money than you’d leave for a tip, but will it really change your life?

The El Dorado Hills divorce attorneys of Stockdale Law Firm, Inc. have worked with clients across California. If you or someone you know has legal questions regarding family law matters contact our office for a free initial consultation. We are experienced and compassionate lawyers here to help.

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