The successful navigation through the divorce process involves many moving parts, some of which are beyond a litigant’s control. That being said, the manner in which a litigant conducts him/herself through this process can result in an amicable and expeditious divorce or a hostile and prolonged litigation.
The initial decision that must be made is choosing the right attorney to pursue your interests and advocate for your rights. The attorney you choose should specialize in matrimonial and family law or at least have a practice that has a significant amount of such cases.
Thereafter, the following suggestions will assist in making the litigation less painful:
1. A good support system comprised of trusted friends and family is essential during any difficult time. If necessary, a competent mental health professional can also be an invaluable resource;
2. If children are involved, NEVER discuss the litigation with them or show them litigation documents or denigrate the other parent to the children and/or in front of the children;
3. Remember that first impressions are important and often long lasting. When in Court, always act appropriate, reasonable and respectful to the judge, opposing counsel and your spouse;
4. Provide your attorney with all the information he/she requests, and any other information that you believe is relevant;
5. Be open and honest with your attorney and maintain consistent contact;
6. If you do not understand something your attorney is explaining, or anything that is going on in the action, make this known;
7. Make your wishes clearly known to your attorney, and listen carefully, and with consideration, regarding his/her legal opinion regarding these wishes;
8. Bring any and all concerns to your attorney immediately, whether it is a billing issue or an issue with the attorney himself/herself;
9. Refrain from demanding that your attorney take unreasonable positions or assert frivolous claims. This will often result in unnecessary legal expense, and may even lead to cross-claims for counsel fees; and
10. Carefully review any document you are asked to execute.
While the above suggestions in no way represents all the advisements in connection with your matrimonial action, and offers no guarantee of successful outcomes, they certainly will increase your chances of successfully navigating through the emotional and legal aspects of your litigation.