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There is no doubt that the caliber of your attorney can make or break your case, but your own participation can also affect the result. Here are some ways you can help the Law Offices of Fredrick S. Cohen help you:
1. Gather Your Financial Documents
If your case involves child support or property division, you will need to gather important documents, including:
- Bank accounts and credit card statements
- 401(k)s, pensions and investment account statements
- Stock portfolios and options
- Statements of benefits
- Proof of your current income and your spouse’s income
- Income tax returns for the past five years
- Mortgage documentation
- Bills and loan information
- Insurance policies
- A list of your personal property and, if known, its value
- Wills and other estate planning documents
You will need this information throughout your divorce. Gathering it early can help you and your lawyer plan an appropriate strategy based on your unique situation.
2. Collect Information For Child Custody Cases
In addition to gathering your financial records for child support, you will want to gather records related to your child, including school records, a calendar of events, visitation times and other relevant information.
3. Keep a Journal
Divorce is a look back in time. You will need to know your financial history; perhaps you paid for your spouse’s education or took out loans throughout your marriage. You will need to be able to say who took a primary role in raising the children, if anyone, and what that required.
It can be helpful to keep a journal throughout your divorce or other family law case, not only to record dates and facts from the past, but also to record what has happened during the course of your case. If the other parent consistently showed up late, keeping a record of dates and times will help you make that argument in court.
4. Write Down Your Questions
You would not go to a doctor without being prepared to discuss your symptoms and ask questions. Similarly, you should not show up unprepared to your meetings with your attorney, including telephone conversations. Write down all of your questions and what you would like to discuss before picking up the phone or getting into the car. By doing so, you will save significant time and money and help your attorney better respond to your concerns.
5. Read Every Form You File — Even The Fine Print
Court forms cover a lot of important information, including limitations for when you can file the forms and what you can and cannot do. Even the fine print is important, as it typically provides clarifications on difficult concepts. There are specific steps you must take, and failure to take them in the right order can prevent your case from moving forward.
6. Take Some Time to Breathe
Family law is emotional. There will be times when you get so caught up in the emotions that you will be unable to make logical decisions. Contentious divorces often escalate out of control — costing people thousands of dollars more — when the parties are unwilling to see the difference between the legal issues and the emotional ones.
Before you meet with your attorney, take a moment to breathe. Write down what you want out of your divorce or other family law case and then take a step back. Look at what you wrote through a neutral lens. Are your wishes emotional or logical? Are they reasonable, or driven by your desire to get back at the other party?
Have You Taken These Steps? Schedule A Consultation.
Once you have taken these steps, it is time to speak with your attorney. To schedule a consultation with the Law Offices of Fredrick S. Cohen in Sacramento, California, please contact us online or call 916-900-1126.