1. Put your children's emotional needs first. Assure your children that they are not to blame for the break-up of the marriage and are not being rejected or abandoned. Try NOT to point out all the faults of your spouse to your children. Provide a counselor or appropriate neutral-acting family member for the children to talk to.
2. Do not bring your children to a meeting with your lawyer. Minimize the awareness that your children have of the ongoing conflict. Do not discuss the divorce in front of your children if at all possible.
3. If your spouse harms you or threatens you, call the police immediately and notify your attorney. Obtain a Personal Protection Order (PPO). A PPO can be obtained with or without the assistance of an attorney. Phone numbers and links to domestic violence shelters are provided in the Domestic Violence/Area Assistance Resources on this website.
4. If you have a question about your divorce or are confused as to the process, contact your attorney for clarification. Each divorce is unique and the experiences of your neighbors, friends and family members may not be relevant to your case. Your attorney is your best source of information.
5. Maintain communication with your spouse at whatever level you are able.
6. Compile financial documents either prior to first meeting with your attorney or soon thereafter. The attorney will need a complete picture of the assets and liabilities of both parties. Tax records, bank statements, charge account statements, deeds, pension and annuity statements, savings and stock information, paycheck stubs, insurance policies and the like are all critical to determining the marital estate. If you anticipate filing for divorce, make copies of the above documents and keep them in a safe place. There are legal steps the attorney can take to discover assets, however such processes may cause additional expense and delay.
7. Minimize the involvement of unrelated third parties with whom you are having a romantic relationship.The introduction of a significant other during the divorce process - particularly if you have minor children - can prolong and inflame litigation.
8. Cooperate with your attorney and with the court professionals or retained specialists hired to assist on your case. Return phone calls, provide requested information and appear as scheduled. Make a good faith effort to work toward settlement of contested issues.
9. Wear appropriate clothing to court. Do not wear jeans or shorts. Appear in court fifteen minutes before your scheduled hearing.
10. Honor your agreement with your attorney. You would not work for free, do not expect that of your attorney. Fees should be paid in full by the date of divorce unless otherwise agreed.