Thinking about divorce? Here’s what you Need to do first

The flowers. The honeymoon. The wedding reception that took everyone’s breath away. Each of these symbols can seem either far in the past or belonging to someone else when you face the inevitability of divorce.

Friends are going to give you advice; it’s what they do. Especially friends who have been there and done that.

How can you protect yourself from bad advice and get through this painful process with minimal damage to your heart and your psyche?

By being a little selfish and thinking about ways to get through the process with your head held high and your life squared away, both emotionally and financially.

The Montgomery-based Martin Law firm knows a thing or two about divorce protocols because our specialists have handled everything from small mediations to lengthy trials.

These experiences form the basis of the expertise we offer every client. Toward that end, the following sage advice is being provided for your consideration, so you’re prepared for what lies ahead.

10 Steps to take before you file for divorce

1. Line up your support network

We see you saying, why is this important? Well, even folks who get along really well once papers are filed with the court can find themselves feeling alone because friends and family may be reluctant to take sides.

It happens. That’s why talking to a few very close allies (friends or family) and asking for their support can give you more confidence if you decide to proceed.

2. Got counseling?

If you’ve already tried counseling—-couples or individual—-and came up empty when looking for reasons to stay wed, you can skip this tip. Advice, if you’ve not tried it, is to bolster you, whether you decide to split up or not.

Being sure that this is what you can require digging and who better to help you dig than a trained professional? Plenty of undecided people start counseling as a preparatory measure, and you’re wise to consider it.

3. Collect and safeguard financial documents

Make copies if you worry they could mysteriously disappear. We hate to sound repetitive, but it bears mentioning: many couples start out committed to smoothing the way for an amicable divorce say, “We’re committed to splitting things equitably.”

In some cases, that’s true. But if not, you’ll protect yourself by squirreling away copies of bank and retirement accounts, assets, debts, loans and other financials. Stash them with a relative for safekeeping.

4. Need a new car? Buy it now.

Many people find this tip a little odd, but it makes perfect sense: during what could be a long and arduous road to divorce, the court may not allow either of you to make a significant purchase or sell significant assets because they’re considered marital property.

Further, you wouldn’t be the first person to be on the receiving end of a once-compliant, soon-to-be ex who decides that revenge is a good thing and making money an issue is the best way to get it.

5. Choose the best attorney for your unique situation

At the Martin Law firm, we know that every couple is unique. Every divorce is, too. Our highly-qualified divorce attorneys want you to be comfortable and feel confident, knowing that the relationship between client and lawyer is sacrosanct, personal and private from day one. Our fee-free initial consult can help establish that strong bond immediately.

6. Don’t keep secrets from your attorney

When someone walks into a confessional or seeks spiritual guidance from a rabbi or imam, what good would it do to unburden oneself if the confessor avoids the truth? You must decide that you’ll fully disclose everything to your attorney, even if you feel shame or guilt.

This is particularly important if there’s been physical abuse during your marriage, you are having an affair, have contracted an STD or child welfare authorities have been engaged. Hiding money can be the biggest Pandora’s box of all.

7. Establish credit in your name

Once upon a time, couples shared credit, and it was unusual to find women, especially, with their credit cards and ratings.

These days, it’s more common for husbands and wives to maintain separate credit. In case you’re not one of them, take a minute to read this article on the National Foundation for Credit Counseling website and establish your credit immediately.

Even if you decide not to divorce, there is no downside to making this decision.

8. Will you stay, or will you go?

Sharing a home during the period between filing and finalizing a divorce can create undue tension between a couple and perhaps their kids, too. But your attorney may urge you to dig in and stay put until things are sorted out regarding marital property and custodial issues.

Take this advice from your lawyers seriously, because they have your best interest at heart. Even if you’re domiciled under the same roof, that doesn’t mean you can’t begin the healing process with help and support from your legal team.

9. Draw up a post-divorce budget

Unreasonable expectations in areas like spousal support and child payment issues have been known to take a simmering state of unrest and turn it into World War III. If you’re lucky enough to avoid this, you’ll still be glad you took the time to figure out how much money you will need to live and pay your bills once you’re on your own.

This is an area that may also come under the purview of your attorney, or she may refer you to a financial manager if you’re new at this. The amount of money you need for living expenses will be contingent on child custody settlements, so you’re wise to create several draft budgets.

10. Prepare yourself for the custody arrangement process

These days, it’s not just about kids. Divorce can also impact ailing parents for whom one partner is responsible and the number of contentious divorces that revolve around family pets these days could surprise you.

Because this can be the single biggest factor in divorce negotiations, you can’t afford to hire an attorney who’s neither knowledgeable about child custody issues nor prepared to provide proper counseling as you work through this sensitive portion of your divorce.

At Martin Law, we’ve got kids, too. We know how much emotional support you’ll need during this arduous journey.

You can survive a divorce and thrive once it’s over

The word “communicate” has become a cliché within a society rife with people who rarely move their eyes from the screens of their devices, but in fact, your ability to communicate with your attorney can often mean the difference between saving your sanity and losing it.

Because this aspect of your divorce is so critical in our eyes, every attorney at J.B. Martin Law is trained in the fine art of listening.

Like a therapist, your attorney will pick up subtle clues about the nuances of your relationship that can lead to a better understanding of your situation.

As you two travel the road to marriage dissolution, you’ll discover that the trust you build is priceless. We don’t have to tell you that knowing someone has your back–no matter what–can make all the difference!

We charge nothing for an initial consult, so you have nothing to lose. You may be ready to file. You may not be there quite yet. We understand that.

Either way, you’ll come away from your free consult feeling more confident and less stressed. Isn’t that the way you want to feel as you approach this critical decision?

3 Important Tips During Jury Selection

In the United States of America, most cases are won or lost on the day of jury selection, because if either the defense or prosecution team make a mistake with the selection of the jury, their chances of winning during trial in open court are minimal.

Because the jury is made up of ordinary citizens, you must make sure that the panel you select is composed of individuals who are likely to be sympathetic to the case so that they are in a better position stay attentive and listen to the arguments being presented in front of court.

We are therefore going to share with you 3 important tips you should keep in mind during jury selection.   

Ensure that you familiarize yourself with the rules

The jury selection process is a constitutional process however the rules adhered to will always vary depending on the state as well as the court that is whether it’s a federal court or state court. The law permits lawyers to seek prior guidance from the court on how the jury selection process should be conducted so that they can be familiar with the rules and avoid any sanctions.

Select a jury that is sympathetic to the case

A significant number of jurors will only accept jury duty because the law obligates them to and therefore they’ll seldom pay much interest to the case. It’s therefore very important for lawyers to be able to learn how to pick such jurors from the pool and strike them from the case because they are likely to hinder the process of rendering proper judgment.

Ensure that you leave a lasting good impression

Jurors will always form opinions about the parties in the case depending on perception and not necessarily the arguments being made in court. It’s therefore a good idea for lawyers to ensure that they create and leave a good impression with the jurors and this starts during jury selection. You will find a much easier time being believed by the members of the jury if they like you.

Be sure to put these into practice and you are well on your way to winning the first battle during trial.   

How to Use Nonverbal Communication in a Court of Law

In a court of law, it’s always very difficult for lawyers to tell whether their arguments are having a negative or positive impact on the judge and jury. However, with a mastery of nonverbal communication, it may be possible to get a read on them therefore enabling you adjust your arguments depending on the nonverbal cues you get.

We’ll therefore share with you a couple of ideas on how to use nonverbal communication in a court of law.   

Check for facial expressions

The good thing about facial expressions is that most of them are universal. You can easily tell anger, disgust, joy and many types of emotions that a person is experiencing through their facial expressions. As a lawyer, the ability to read facial expressions therefore becomes very important as you can tell how the judge and jury are responding to your arguments.

Paying attention to eye contact

One of the ways to tell whether the judge or jury are paying attention to you when you speak is through looking for eye contact. If their eyes are peeled on you, it’s a good indication that they are listening and if the opposite is the case, then it shows they are not listening therefore you need to find a creative way to grab their attention.

Observe for body posture

There are a number of involuntary movements that the body forces on people as a way of passing out a certain communication and it’s therefore a good idea for lawyers to be familiar and observe the body posture of the judge, jury as well as witnesses in the court. You can easily tell if someone is uncomfortable, tired, and nervous, and so on by just observing their body posture.

The good thing about most nonverbal communication cues is that they are universal and therefore will apply in a similar fashion across the different parties that will be in the court. Therefore a mastery of nonverbal communication is a good skill for any lawyer to have.   

Law – How to be More Persuasive in Court

Law as applicable in court is all about being able to make legal arguments with the intention of making the judge and/or jury rule in favor of your client whether they are on the defense or prosecution team. Therefore, in order for a lawyer to be able to convince the judge and/or jury to rule in their client’s favor, then they need to have really good persuasion skills.

We are going to share a couple of ideas with you on how to be more persuasive in court.

You must believe your own arguments

As a lawyer making an argument in open court, the only way you can be able to persuade others in the court to believe your argument is if you also believe in it. This is because people tend to project themselves on others therefore you are likely to be more confident when arguing your case if you believe your argument and the converse is also true.

Focus on convincing a few people

It’s always almost impossible to persuade an entire group of people because different people reason differently. The trick of persuasion in court therefore is to convince a few jurors with your argument so that they in turn will go make your argument when deliberating with the other jurors.

Provide sufficient information for decision making

When making an argument to persuade a jury, limit theatrics and irrelevant information and focus on using information that is concise, believable and sufficient to help the jury make an informed decision. They are more likely to rule in your favor because this makes you appear more truthful. 

Learn the art of priming

If you want the jury to rule in favor of your client then you need to learn the art of priming them so that they learn to associate your client with a positive response. For instance, if you are looking for a not guilty ruling from a jury, ensure that you use the words “innocent” and “not guilty” regularly when you make reference to your client and it will prime the jurors to start believing it too.

When you make proper use of these ideas in court, you are likely to register a long lasting winning streak. Be sure to try them out.