A WINNING DIVORCE STRATEGY
Divorce attorney websites are full of feel-good comments about family, divorce, and the ending of a relationship. Ultimately, for people searching for a divorce attorney, everything boils down to one of two questions:
How do I protect myself?
How do I win?
These questions are different sides of the same coin in a contested divorce, but the answer is the same. You build a strategy around the ultimate goal: a judgment most favorable to your position. What strategy do we want our clients to take?
Step One: Be aggressive. Do not mistake this for being rude or unethical; however, by being aggressive you start out on the right foot. Your attorney uses the subpoena power of the court to get full disclosure of documents to get all of the financial information and evidence that will be needed. You ask the right questions about bad behavior in interrogatories (sworn statements by your spouse). You ask for legal admissions, where you get to demand that your spouse admit or deny facts of the case (from wrongdoing to simple questions about assets). You set the tone that you are going to take the initiative: you are going to go toe to toe in court.
Step Two: Negotiate in good faith. If you wind up going to court, being aggressive will put you in the best position for trial, but (interestingly), if the other side knows you mean business, being aggressive can make the case more likely to settle for something reasonable. This will not happen if you are not willing to negotiate in good faith. Where do most cases end? Most cases settle at mediation. After both parties have seen the evidence of the case, both attorneys typically have a good idea of what the judge will do in court. If you have been aggressive until now, the other side knows that you are ready to fight, so they are not as likely to try to take advantage of you in negotiations. They also need to know that you are willing to settle if they offer something reasonable. This does not mean to bend too far. There is a line in every case where you decide that going to trial is the better option. However, if after discussing the case with your attorney, the offer looks reasonable, be willing to take it. Be sure to speak to your attorney before mediation about what reasonable looks like to you, and get your attorney to explain what would likely happen at court in his/her opinion.
Step Three: Do not be afraid to go to court. If the other side will not be reasonable, you must be willing to take your case to court. Whether through motions hearings or through a final trial, sometimes issues can only be resolved by taking them to the judge. By being willing to go to a trial, you are more likely to get a settlement that is favorable. More importantly, if the other side is not reasonable, you are willing to stand up for your rights. Don’t worry; your attorney will take care of the heavy lifting. Just be sure that you choose an attorney in the beginning that you are willing to trust to handle your trial to the end.
Step Four: Listen to your attorney/fight the winning battles. You do not want the judge to get accustomed to ruling against you. If you are filing frivolous motions or making claims that you know you will lose, you are training the judge to think of you as the unreasonable party. You want to be aggressive on the points where you can win. If your attorney explains why the law is against you on an issue, discuss strategies on how to meet your goals in other ways. Winning a case can often be more about picking which battles to fight than fighting every battle. Using your resources wisely is a forgotten but necessary part of any case strategy.
To speak with one of our divorce attorneys and lay out the initial groundwork on the strategy for your contested or uncontested divorce, call 770-863-8355. During the free initial consultation, the attorney will go over the facts of your case, your legal options, and costs of representation.
1355 Terrell Mill Road
Marietta, Georgia 30067