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The dissolution of a marriage can be a stressful and emotional time for many people. Whether a separation is amicable or due to unfavorable circumstances, it is important to be as prepared as possible for your divorce attorney. Divorce cases are typically very hands-on affairs for both the attorney and the client. Therefore, while enlisting the help of a skilled attorney is crucial to having a favorable outcome to your case, it is equally important to prepare certain documentation for your attorney to utilize. The exact required documentation or evidence may vary on a case by case basis. However, there are usually five things everyone should have prepared for their respective divorce attorney.
1. Income Information and Schedule of Assets
Splitting financial responsibilities and assets is often one of the most complex portions of a divorce. To help your attorney protect your financial interests, provide a complete picture of your financial life. This can be done by providing pay stubs, tax returns, schedule C or A tax forms (when applicable) and as much proof of your spouse’s income as possible. In addition to providing income documents, a schedule of assets should be provided.
A schedule of assets lists any property or investments owned jointly or separately by a married couple. To aide, your attorney, try to show if the assets were acquired before or after the marriage, etc.
Although providing total financial transparency to an individual may feel invasive or too personal, your attorney will be better equipped to represent your best interests if provided with all of the necessary information. If you are less open with your assets it will be harder for them to help you.
2. List of all Debts
Equally as important as the assets, a list of debts is important to present to your divorce attorney. Debt may include outstanding loans on vehicles, your home, or boats. Other examples of debt include credit card debt, personal loans, or a timeshare. When married these expenses are normally shared between two partners, your financial situation may change upon separation. Therefore, your attorney needs to understand any expenses that may need to be allocated.
3. Relevant Facts and Evidence about the Relationship
According to Minhas Lawyers, a group of divorce lawyers in Mississauga, the breakdown of a relationship, either marriage or common law, is an extremely stressful time. Unfortunately, most marriages come to an end due to improper conduct by one or both parties. If you have any evidence of a partner’s improper conduct be sure to bring photos, text messages, emails, social media posts, or any other physical evidence to present to your attorney. It is also important, to be honest with your attorney about your behavior throughout the marriage. Try to be as open as you can about any incidents in your marriage and if there is anything they should know that the other party could use against you. Although no one is perfect, your attorney will be unable to protect you from events or information they are unaware of.
4. A Prepared List of Questions for Your Attorney
While your attorney will have plenty of questions to get to know you, you should also have plenty of questions prepared ahead of time for your attorney. When discussing your divorce, it is easy to become emotional or to forget details you have concerns about. Preparing a list of questions ensures that all topics you wish to cover will be discussed. Questions to ask your attorney may include: What will my divorce proceedings process look like? Will I be eligible to receive or liable for alimony payments? What is your fee structure? What can I expect as a strategy for child custody proceedings? In short to do not be afraid to have an open and candid discussion with your divorce lawyer.
5. Relevant Documents and Facts about Shared Children
If children are involved in a divorce, it is usually the most emotional and complex aspect of a divorce. Deciding what custody arrangements will take place is based upon numerous factors and the best interest of the child(ren). It is important to bring any relevant documentation about your children the role you play in their life to your divorce attorney as soon as possible. For instance, if you are the children’s prime caretaker while the other parent is absent, bring evidence to support this claim. Or if you believe you are the one financially responsible for your children bring evidence to support this as well.
All in all, divorce proceedings are extremely personal matters. Often, the dissolution of a marriage is emotional for all parties involved. These proceedings should be taken very seriously and with thoughtfulness to all parties involved. If you are prepared, equipped with a competent attorney, and forthright with information, you can expect a more successful and efficient process.

Author's Bio: 

Katie earned a BA in English from WWU and loves to write. She also adores hiking in redwood forests and photography. She feels happiest around a campfire surrounded by friends and family.