I’ve been doing this over 15 years – practicing exclusively in front of Family Law judges in 5 counties.
What I’ve learned, that you won’t find in any book or learn from an attorney who isn’t new and does Divorce law and child custody full time is this:
Keep a journal daily
Never put into print by text, email , note . Facebook, whatever, that you don’t want a judge to read. The opposing counsel love this stuff. Settlement Conferences with a judge are short – just enough time for a lawyer to cast aspersions on you and say they can prove it, they have it in writing from you.
Your own attorney has few ways to defend you — its right there in writing
Always be the party that looks the good fair rational one. Even if it means eating shit from your soon to be ex. They may even be baiting you knowingly, trying to get you to lose your temper and look bad.
A judge will form strong opinions of a party and hold on them until the case is done. If the judge doesn’t like you, they can really change an outcome. They have seemingly limitless digression in Family Law, in reality, if not by statute. And no one is watching them, unless the parties have so much money that they can pay for the cost of an appeal to a higher court.
If you micro manage your case you drive your legal fees up, not down. You are taking the attorney’s time with every email and every call. They may even see it as disrespect for their ability to help you. They went to law school and have a lot of experience in Family Law. You don’t. Do it enough and your lawyer might fire you.
Admit, from day one, that this is going to cost a lot in legal fees. If a lawyer works for just 4 hours on your case, the cost is $1000. There is a lot to do. I have yet to see a truly uncontested divorce. When details are addressed one or both parties doesn’t like what they are hearing.
If you file, realize your spouse may just be beginning the process of getting over the losses that are coming, where you have had enough time to do this.