A marriage breakdown can be emotionally draining on all involved and at first you may want to address the situation with avoidance or denial. As you accept the position that you are in for what it is, hiring a competent and experienced divorce attorney may become your top priority and it is tempting to rush right out and retain one’s services.
However, there are steps that need to be taken to ensure the end result is one you can be satisfied with. Following this guide will guarantee that you are adequately prepared before hiring an attorney that can represent you in the divorce process.
💔 1. Ask family & friends for referrals
Family and friends are always there for you and will play an important role during a tough time such as divorce. Sadly, 40% of marriages in Canada end in divorce. Therefore the chances of a family member or friend being familiar with an attorney that can help you are good. Ask them about their process and if they were satisfied with the lawyer’s abilities and costs. Because the person you are asking is a family member or friend, they will probably give you honest answers that will enable you to make an educated decision regarding who to hire to represent you.
If you do not know anyone who can recommend an attorney, check online for reviews about prospective lawyers or law firms. If you have a lawyer in mind, check with the Better Business Bureau website to see if there is any information on there about them.
💔 2. Gather financial information
A major part of a divorce settlement is the separation of assets and delegation of remaining debts, which will often involve the expertise of a divorce lawyer. Gathering as many financial statements as you possibly can will make it easy to determine what you are entitled to in the settlement. In terms of spousal or child support, financial statements and paystubs can paint an accurate portrait of how much you should pay in support if you are required to or how much you and your children need to receive to maintain an acceptable standard of living.
If you suspect that your former spouse may be hiding assets from you, it may be important for you to hire an accountant or fraud expert to discover any investments or accounts that are potentially being withheld.
💔 3. Gather evidence pertaining to marriage breakdown
Whatever the reason is for your marriage breakdown, you can bet that you will be required to provide details during the process. Before consulting an attorney, you need to gather all of your information pertaining to the divorce because there is a good chance it will be used as evidence to support your case.
Compose a list of all relevant incidents involving the reason for the divorce including (to the best of your knowledge) date, time, parties involved, and specifics of the incident. If possible, document and keep any emails and text messages you receive from your former spouse relating to the breakdown of the union. Such information can have a drastic impact on the settlement.
💔 4. Save money
As you begin the divorce process, you will need money so saving as much as you can and cutting spending is crucial. You will need to pay an attorney who will probably require a retainer before completing any work on your case. You may also need to pay for another place to live including heat and hydro as well as groceries if you are not able to stay in the matrimonial home.
Be mindful of the fact that you may be going from a dual income household to a single income so being more cognizant of your finances is essential.