Going through a divorce is one of the most stressful situations a person can experience. Not only are you and your (soon-to-be ex-) spouse trying to decide how to divide your assets and share parenting time with any children, you're having to do it through an attorney who will be in your life for several months, or even a year or more. Here are 3 things to know about divorce:
1. It's important to know what type of attorney you want to represent you. "Attorneys have different ways of approaching a case," explained Erin Webster O'Brien, Divorce Attorney and President of the Will County Bar Association. "Some are litigious and spend significant time in court, which of course raises the clients' fees on both sides. I prefer to settle disputes outside the courtroom if we can, and to make the divorce process as amicable and fair as possible. It gives clients more control over their own destiny."
2. Open communication with your attorney is paramount. The more your attorney knows about your situation, the better and more efficiently she can represent you. "I ask my clients to be open and honest about finances and other issues, and to keep an open mind during the divorce process," added O'Brien. "It's also vital that spouses keep their emotions in check which will help settle the case quickly and fairly. It will benefit them financially in the long run.”
3. Don't be hesitant to retain a divorce attorney if you don't have knowledge of or control over your household finances. "Sometimes one spouse doesn't know how much the other earns, or they aren't knowledgeable about the assets," said O'Brien. "They need an attorney who will demand proper discovery and issue subpoenas when necessary, so all financial information is accounted for during the proceedings. Clients can also request contribution from the other party toward his or her attorney’s fees."
For more information about hiring a divorce attorney, please contact:
Erin Webster O'Brien, Divorce Attorney
President, Will County Bar Association