All the Information

by | Apr 17, 2017 | Collaborative Divorce

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We can only negotiate well on behalf of our clients when we know all the facts. (And don’t get me started on “alternative facts.”)
In divorce proceedings, settlements and judgments depend on information. What assets to the divorcing partners share? What are those assets worth?

How many children? What are the ages of the children? How should parenting be shared? Should we bring in experts to evaluate and make recommendations?

What about holidays – which ones are observed and how should they be shared? Alimony? Child support? Those numbers depend on the respective incomes and obligations of the spouses, the number of children, and more.

That’s just a drop in the bucket of the type of information we need to make good decisions when a family separates. An attorney’s ethical responsibility is to make sure their client is informed, and to do that, we need all the information.

No matter how much you trusted your spouse, if you haven’t been involved in the financial aspect of your marriage, we need documentation to understand the full financial picture. It’s not enough for a soon-to-be ex to say, “Trust me. This is what you need to know.”

When I represent a client, I want to see proof. Numbers. Statements. History.

That means I rely on opposing counsel to share all information and documents so everyone can be on the same page, equally informed, and aware of the assets at play in a divorce.

And, at the very least require the other side to complete an Asset Affidavit.

Sure, if there’s pushback from the other side, I can serve a set of Interrogatories and Request to Produce Documents on the other party to require disclosure of information and documentation about assets and liabilities to protect my client’s interests; and subpoena other information.

And I will.

We all seek to achieve optimal outcomes for the people involved in a case. If something comes at you suddenly, be cautious and thorough. And by all means, let other people in on what you know.

At the end of the day, we are all humans with goals and desires for a good life. Let’s work together to make sure that’s what happens.

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