1. Try to reach a negotiated agreement before going to court
o Judges often allow the negotiated agreements between the parties to stand. You will get more say as to what you want if you negotiate before going to court.
o Be reasonable in your negotiations. If you are too stubborn, you may not reach an agreement and the judge will make his decision for you.
2. Avoid sharing sensitive information with others
Posting thoughts and feelings on social networking sites or writing emails may feel good. However, this sensitive information may come back to haunt you in the future. So, avoid the temptation to post things or discuss the case with friends and family.
3. Consult an attorney and be honest with your attorney
o Your attorney is trying to look after your interests, but a unfavorable surprise revelation in court will hinder his efforts and make the court doubt your statements.
o If you tell your attorney everything, your attorney will be able to use the information to your advantage as best as he or she can.
o For a divorce, pay your legal fees by credit card. Your credit card debt may be split 50/50 with your spouse at the conclusion of the divorce.
4. Collect important documentation
* Make copies of all household documents such as pay stubs for you and your spouse, retirement account statements, employee benefits handbooks, tax returns, bank statements, financial statements, Social Security statements, wills, titles, etc. Copying the documents while you have them in possession will save you the process of trying to get them through discovery later.
* Make a complete list of what your household has including furniture and jewelry.
* Write down all the household bills and the amount you pay for each bill every month.
5. In a divorce when children are involved, put your children first
* Avoid speaking negatively of your spouse when the children are present.
* Become involve in your children's activities.
* Do not fight with your spouse in front of the children.
* Consider mediation to settle your child custody dispute.