(Get You Through Your Divorce)
Divorce is an incredibly stressful event in any person’s life. Also, we have all heard it before – they are expensive! As divorce professionals, we are here to help navigate this difficult time and provide guidance along the way. There are a few tips and tricks to help your case run smoothly, which can help save your sanity and some money in the end.
- Know Who You Are Working With
Most attorneys have designated paralegals that work each case and are the first line of contact for clients. Always make sure to find out who that person is at the very beginning of your case – or even during the consultation process. Get business cards, ask to be introduced- we all like to be able to have a face to put with the name! You are most likely going to be spending a lot of time emailing and on the phone with the paralegal.
- Pace Yourself
Divorces do not happen overnight, and there are a lot of rules, deadlines and waiting periods to get through. In Texas, there is a sixty (60) day “cooling off period” after the initial filing. If there are a lot of issues or assets that need to be valued, a divorce will take much longer.
- Do Your Homework
It is normal practice for your paralegal to provide you an entire list of “homework” at the beginning of a case. Whether it be questionnaires, forms, or inventories – do it. Answer all questions with as much detail as possible, fill out all forms and questionnaires to the best of your ability, and provide all documentation to the paralegal as quickly as possible. The paralegal and attorney have already met and discussed what is needed and relevant to your case. If your paralegal is asking for information, your lawyer needs it for your case.
- Listen and Follow Directions
Ask any paralegal one of the most time-consuming processes in a divorce is discovery. Ask any attorney – their paralegal handles the discovery. There are procedures we must follow when responding to discovery and we have established processes and procedures to be the most efficient and cost-effective. Listen carefully and follow directions exactly – if there is some confusion, ask your paralegal for clarification. Taking an active role in the discovery process can be a huge money-saver.
- Batch Your Questions
We live in a world where everything comes instantly. That is NOT the case when it comes to the divorce process. You may get a lot of information all at once from the attorney or paralegal on your case, and the instant response will be to ask questions – sometimes one after the other just as soon as they pop into your head. Best practice is to batch your questions. Keep notes on your phone of all your questions and items you want to discuss with your attorney or paralegal. Start an email – add items – and send when it hits a certain length. Write down all questions related to a specific subject and ask at the same time. Whichever way works best for you to organize your thoughts and questions. Every paralegal I know would much rather receive one email with a list of questions, as opposed to ten emails in rapid fire.
- Be Honest
Keep in mind the paralegal working on your case falls under the attorney-client privilege umbrella. Your paralegal will not share details of your case with anyone except the attorney. For the best representation, being honest is so important. Here at Maples | Jones, PLLC our team has decades of combined experience, so we have seen it all and do not judge. Even if your situation is unflattering or embarrassing, letting your legal team know is the best option.
Written by: Megan D. Whiteford