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Advice for meeting with lawyer

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  • Advice for meeting with lawyer

    My suggestion to spouse that mediation is a good route for us to prepare separation agreement fell on deaf ears. Suggestion came from lawyer at our consultation meeting. First substantive meeting with him will take place in a few days. For it I have my financial statement and supporting documents ready along with a family law client history form completed.

    Your tips on what else I should have ready or advice in general for this meeting would be appreciated. Thank you.

  • #2
    Sounds like you are pretty well prepared.

    Avoid letting your lawyer get into letter writing mode and spending a year exchanging nasty letters with the other side's lawyer. Huge waste of money.

    In almost every case, avoid a "four way meeting" where you all sit together and try to negotiate. These are a huge waste of money and never productive because there's no neutral third party there (a judge or mediator) to help broker solutions or direct the process. There's rarely anything in writing so even if you may make progress that day, the other party usually changes their mind before anything can be drawn up.

    You need to figure out what your ex spouse wants the most, and address that need. Then the other pieces usually start to fall into place. If they are overly emotional or vengeful or upset it is too early to successfully negotiate with them. Divorce is cold, hard logic and business. Once people get past the emotional part anyways.

    If you and your former spouse are still able to communicate (in person, via phone or even if it's only text and email) you will be able to save yourself a lot of grief and money.

    If she really wants to go to court, find out what she wants from it. In more than 95% of cases there is no real reason to.


    • #3
      The better prepared you are going in, the more you can make out of your consultation. It sounds like you have a lot of documentation ready, which is good. If you aren't sure if you'll need something, bring it anyway.

      Write down everything you can think of that you want to ask ahead of time. Because I guarantee you that when you're in that office, you will forget half your questions.

      Stick to the facts. Don't get into emotional stuff. You spend a lot less per hour in a therapist's office for that.


      • #4
        if your were willing to go to mediation you would likely have what you think would be a fair agreement to offer. Have this with you. If you have a firm idea of what you are willing to settle with then you can proceed from there. Maybe your lawyer will tell you that you are way off or say you are veing genourous. At the end of the day there is only so much that can be split and shared. Whats your bttom line?


        • #5
          Thank you for the feedback and suggestions.


          • #6
            The fact that my ex refused mediation became very useful during trial. The judge in his decision specifically referred to it saying he was disappointed in my ex's unwillingness to try mediation, and that my offers were quite reasonable. If there is any way you can document her refusal, do it. In fact my ex and her pitbull lawyer tried to turn it around on me, saying I had refused it. I had evidence from the mediation firm (i.e. email correspondence) showing that she had failed to even complete the necessary intake forms, despite having verbally agreed to mediation.
            My recommendation: send your ex correspondence either directly from you or from your lawyer asking her to reconsider mediation. It is a no-lose situation because if she accepts, mediation will save you money in the longterm, and if she refuses, it will reflect poorly on her, particularly if your future offers to settle are reasonable.


            • #7
              It's good to know that judge took into account your ex's unwillingness. I hadn't thought of a paper trail so I'll start on that. Thank you.


              • #8
                Source out 3 mediators and ask her to select one. Make contact with all 3 so you can prive intent to mediate.


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