1. Get emotional support
Even the simplest divorce can take a toll on both parties, their children and family members, but a divorce lawyer is not a counsellor. Seeing a trained counsellor and working through strong emotional issues first will prevent them from clouding your thinking and help you get the best possible outcome. It will also help reduce any further distress or trauma.
2. Gather your documentation
Paperwork is one of life’s annoying but necessary evils, and it’s no different when it comes to getting a divorce. Every divorce is different, but you’ll be required to provide your family lawyer with documentation and information to help them understand and assess your situation and options. The more organised and prepared you can be, the less time will be wasted.
You’ll need to include proof of identification, marriage certificate and divorce application, any bank and financial statements, list of assets and legal documents such as a prenuptial agreement or restraining order may be essential. Gather a list of significant dates and any previous arrangements already made with your ex and think about your expectations for the future - what outcome would you like to achieve?
3. Avoid going to court
Working with a mediator and family lawyer to reach a mutually beneficial outcome is far better than leaving it up to the courts. Placing one of your biggest and most important life decisions in the hands of a judge can be a risky gamble.
You’ll feel more empowered by taking control of the situation and actively shaping your future by settling out of court. You’ll also avoid any regrets, disappointments or further litigation if things don’t go your way. In most divorce cases, the dividing of assets and working out the custody of children are done well before the final papers are signed. The final formality of signing the divorce papers simply allows you to legally remarry, if you choose.
Michael Tiyce is the principal of Tiyce & Lawyers; a Sydney firm specialising in family law for married, de facto and same sex couples, particularly in areas relating to parenting agreements, property and financial matters and divorce. Michael is also a member of the Child Representation Panel maintained by the Legal Aid Commission of NSW, the family law section of the Family Law Council of Australia, the Eastern Suburbs Law Society and the Eastern Suburbs Family Law Group.
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