Strong preparation is one of the best ways to position yourself for success in your divorce case. You need to know what assets are in play, what issues affect your child custody dispute, and how you plan to approach spousal support issues. That’s easier said than done, of course, which is why you might want to work closely with an experienced family law professional. However, there are some things that you can do to prepare for settlement negotiations which, in turn, and set the stage for your litigation strategy.
Preparing for negotiations and trial
You need to be thorough in your preparation. However, here are some starting points for you to get started:
- What’s the marital estate? In New York, marital property is divided in a way that is fair, but not necessarily equal. However, to ensure that you get your fair share of marital assets, you need to have a clear sense of what’s in your marital estate. That might sound like an easy thing to do, but the truth of the matter is that some spouses try to hide assets or squander them away prior to divorce. Work closely with your attorney and maybe even a forensic accountant to make sure you’ve got everything included in your marital estate.
- What do you need and want? Post-divorce, there are going to be certain things that you absolutely need to get by. Identify those things and use them as goalposts that can’t move. Then you can identify the things that you want out of your divorce, which can guide you through your negotiations.
- What does your spouse need and want? By conducting this same analysis for your spouse, you can find ways to leverage him or her for the things that you need and want.
- Know the legal factors in play: Even if you’re about to negotiate your divorce to see if you can settle it without going to trial, you should always be prepared to litigate. Therefore, whether your looking at property division or child custody, you need to know what the legal standard is and how to argue to the factors that will be under consideration. For example, in a child custody dispute, you should consider what’s in the child’s best interests, which might include everything from each parent’s financial stability, mental health, and history of substance abuse.
- Gather the evidence you need: You can’t just sit down at the negotiation table or walk into a courtroom armed only with arguments. You need evidence to support those arguments. Look at your spouse’s social media, gather financial documents, and keep text messages and voicemails that might be helpful to your case. At the same time, you need to be cognizant of the evidence that might be used against you and anticipate how it might come up during settlement negotiations or trial. Then you can try to develop counter arguments that minimize the damage.
Have an attorney on your side who is ready to litigate
Although most divorces result in some sort of settlement without the need for litigation, you want a lawyer who isn’t afraid to go to trial. Only then can you ensure that your interests are fully protected and that you won’t be convinced to accept a settlement offer that isn’t in your best interests.
You have a lot of options when it comes to choosing representation in your divorce. That’s why it’s a good idea to do your homework and speak with those firms that pique your interests. Hopefully then you can secure the aggressive, custom-tailored advocacy that you need to successfully close this chapter of your life and start the next.