You have decided to take the next step toward divorce and have scheduled a meeting with a lawyer or legal coach and maybe you are wondering what to do ahead of your meeting. I think that doing a bit of research can help you to better understand the divorce process and give you some valuable insight about what to expect. There are a plethora of books, blogs, and articles to help you get familiar with the divorce process (Crazy Life: Surviving Divorce and Building a New Life by Abigail Trafford is my personal favorite! A wonderfully insightful how-to about navigating through divorce.)
Once you have done some preliminary research you should begin to gather a list of questions that you would like answers to, or that you would like to know more about. Your lawyer or divorce coach will likely be able to provide you with answers that pertain to you personally, which can alleviate anxiety.
In addition to your list of questions you should also plan to share your goals for the case and also share what your ideal outcome would be. This will give your lawyer or divorce coach a clear idea of what you are hoping to accomplish. If your goals and ideal outcomes are unrealistic, the lawyer will be able to reign them in and offer you some alternatives to set more realistic goals and manage your expectations.
Being organized can be especially helpful if you have already started the divorce process and filed the initial paperwork on your own or you are hoping to move your case over from another firm. You should create a folder, binder, or large envelope to help you keep track of all of your documents and have them in one place. There are a lot of documents and forms that you will be given and having them all in one place will make it so much easier to access them when you need to. In this folder you should keep any and all documents that you have been served with or have served anyone with. You should plan to bring these documents with you to your first meeting. This will help your lawyer to know exactly where they need to start and what needs to be done next.
As annoyingly cliché as this will sound, plan to bring an open mind and patience.
The goal is always to walk away with everything that you want, but often times there are some compromises that need to be made. Be open to the fact you may not love every outcome and or aspect of this process. Be open to the fact that you may need to make some compromises or adjustments. Also, be open to any recommendations that your lawyer or divorce coach suggests, at the end of the day they have your best interest at heart. They want the best for you and would not ask you to do anything that wasn’t fair to you. Divorce can be stressful and it can be emotionally difficult, but your lawyer is going to be there to make it as painless as possible and reduce stress where they can. Being patient with your lawyer, the process, and yourself will benefit you emotionally in the end. As they say, patience is indeed a virtue, and no one deserves your patience more than you do!