1. Talk to a divorce lawyer first - It is very important that you talk to
a divorce attorney before doing anything else. Your lawyer will help you to assess your case and should
thoroughly educate you on your rights, the relevant areas of divorce law, and the pre-emptive activities
you should take.
2. Gather documents/secure accounts - Be Prepared! - Although the
gathering of documents and securing of financial accounts can be done after the divorce suit is filed,
these activities are always easier to accomplish and less stressful on you if they are done to the
extent possible before your spouse is made aware of the filing. Identify the appropriate actions
in discussion with the divorce lawyer.
3. Talk to your spouse - Once you have an idea of what is going to
happen in your divorce, you are better able to talk with your spouse to identify what areas you might
have agreement on and which areas will be contested. You should also be able to discuss what route
is best for you (i.e, uncontested, collaborative, or contested divorce).
4. Hire a divorce attorney you are comfortable with - both personally
and financially - It is extremely important that you hire a lawyer with whom you are comfortable.
Ask your lawyer about fees - not only how much he/she charges per hour but how much, generally, you
should expect to spend given the issues and objectives of your case. Can you contact the lawyer
after hours. Will the lawyer pledge to return your calls or e-mails the same day.
5. Explore Mediation or Collaborative Divorce with your divorce lawyer - Mediation
and Collaborative Divorce are processes used to reach agreement as to the terms of the divorce by you and your
spouse with the help of trained professionals, without having a Judge decide the terms which neither party may
be satisfied. Discuss the pro’s and con’s of the different alternatives with your lawyer to identify which is
best for you.
6. Be Prepared for Difficult Financial Times - Splitting one household into two
almost always involves at least temporary financial difficulties and sacrifices for one or both sides. Be
prepared. Have back-up funds and other resources (personal, family or friends) available or identified if
possible. Identify expenditures that can be trimmed or deferred while the divorce process is ongoing.
7. Involve a CPA - Tax consequences and property tracing can have a substantial
effect on the property awarded to you in divorce. Ask your divorce lawyer for a recommendation if you do not
have a professional which you are acquainted with in this area.
8. Children? Help them Cope with Divorce! - If children are involved, take the
course “Helping Children Cope with Divorce”. A listing of court approved course providers and their contact
information, including web sites are available at this site by clicking on the Client Forms button,
above. This course is required in many of the Texas courts prior to the granting of a divorce in which children
are involved. The course helps parents understand how comments and actions on their part can have a
devastating effect on their children.
9. Collect and Prepare Financial Statements Early - Preparing financial statements
for your divorce lawyer is not unlike preparing your annual taxes when you know you are not receiving a refund.
Generally, the sooner and more completely the financial information can be put together, the sooner you can get
to the other side of the divorce process. The forms for your “Financial Information Statement” and “Inventory
and Appraisement” are available at this site by clicking on the Client Forms button,
10. Be Smart - be rational (or at least try to maintain these as goals) - Going
through a divorce is kind of like going through a temporary state of insanity (even for divorce lawyers who are
themselves parties). Try to remember that it is only a matter of degree and that you will come out on the other
side of the process and can live a happy, normal life.