In the United States, almost 50% of all marriages end in divorce. And many of them are too messy to deal with. A “messy” divorce case is one where the couple cannot agree on one or more major issues. These issues can be about anything from who gets the house to the custody of the children. Sometimes, couples may even fight over who gets the family pet!
If you find yourself in the unlucky position of going through a divorce, it is crucial to know how to handle yourself and your case. This blog post will give you an overview of what to expect and how to act during a messy divorce case.
Step 1: Hire an Attorney
The first step in any divorce, especially a messy one, is hiring an experienced family law attorney. An attorney can help you protect your interests and fight for what is fair. Divorce cases are often emotional and can be very difficult to deal with. Having an experienced attorney on your side can make all the difference.
It would be best if you also worked with an attorney specializing in what you are fighting for. Experienced child custody lawyers can help you if custody is your main issue. Some lawyers specialize in the division of assets cases. These lawyers are often called “dissolution lawyers.” You will want to find an attorney with experience with the issues you are facing in your divorce.
Make sure you choose an attorney that you feel comfortable with and who you can trust. Ask around for referrals from friends or family. You can also look online for reviews of local attorneys. You want to talk to a few different attorneys before you make your final decision. This will help you find the right fit for your case.
Step 2: Gather Documents
The next step is gathering all the relevant documentation you will need for your case. This includes financial documents such as tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, and credit card statements. You will also need documents related to property ownership, custody arrangements for any children, and other relevant agreements between you and your spouse.
If you do not have all the relevant documentation, your attorney can help you obtain it. In some cases, you may be able to get this information from your spouse directly. In other cases, you may need to go through the court system to get the information. This is called “discovery.” If you are going through discovery, your attorney will help you navigate the process.
But it would be best if you also tried to gather as much documentation as you can on your own. This will save time and money in the long run. Always err on the side of collecting too much rather than too little.
Step 3: Determine What You Want
You should know what you want before you even walk into the courtroom. This may seem obvious, but it is often overlooked in the heat of the moment. It would help if you were clear about your goals and objectives. This will help you and your attorney build a strategy tailored to your specific needs.
For example, if you are fighting for custody of your children, you must be clear about what kind of custody arrangement you seek. Are you looking for joint custody? Are you looking for primary custody? What type of visitation schedule are you hoping for? It would be best if you had a clear idea of what you want before you can even begin to negotiate with your spouse.
And if you are fighting for the division of assets, you need to know what assets you hope to keep. This includes property, investments, and even debts. You need to clearly understand your financial situation before you can start negotiating with your spouse.
Step 4: Be Prepared for Court
If you cannot reach an agreement with your spouse, your case will likely go to court. Preparing for this possibility is crucial to know what to expect and how to present your case in the best light possible. Your attorney can help you with this and should give you specific instructions on how to proceed. Remember, even if your case does go to court, there is still a chance that you can reach an agreement with your spouse before trial.
Divorce is never easy, but a messy divorce can be complicated. If you find yourself in this situation, it is essential to take things slowly and consult with an experienced attorney. By following these steps and staying calm throughout the process, you will be better positioned to reach a favorable outcome in your case.
Always remember, divorce is a legal process, not a personal one. By keeping this in mind, you can maintain a level head and make decisions that are in your best interests.