Hey, this is Todd Burnham. Today I’m going to talk about divorce strategies in Colorado. In the beginning, I want you to understand what we’re looking at. It’s the top five things that I think of. It’s the 30,000-foot view, and when I think of all of the different strategies in every single case, these five pop up.
You’re going to have different ones that are really specific to your case or if there are emergency protection orders or things like that. But I’m going to give you the top five.
First one, get organized and mentally prepared. We’ll go into that a little bit.
Know your financials better than anyone else. That’s number two.
Number three, own your bad facts. Bad facts are part of any case. Don’t minimize them. Own them.
Number four. This isn’t self-serving; this is just a fact. Hire the right lawyer. If you can’t afford a lawyer, then that’s fine, and this should help you. But otherwise, you want to hire the right lawyer, not just any lawyer.
And the fifth thing, which I think is overlooked so often, is that you’ve got to get some support. That’s either therapy or online groups, Facebook groups, things like that.
So, first things first. Get organized and mentally prepared. This might surprise you, but I’m a big fan of meditation. I might not look like it, and I might not sound like it, but it helps.
For me, mental preparation means mental toughness. It’s not just being mentally prepared like, “I’m going to go through this!?” No. You’re going to go through this. This is a transformative experience for you, and the more that you get your mind right about this, the better.
People either go up or they go down when there’s a life-changing event. You’re going to go up. And the first thing I want you to think about is really understanding and getting involved in meditation. It might seem a little bit off, but I believe it.
Number two. Know your financials cold. Don’t come into your lawyer’s office with a banker’s box full of documents. You’re wasting time, you’re wasting money, and you’re allowing yet another third party to know your financials, which you should know yourself.
Bank accounts, pensions, 401(k)s, property (including the mortgages), car payments, student loans. How much does your spouse make per year? How much do you make per year? How are you paid? Things like that are critical. More cases are lost that I see because the lawyer didn’t own the sworn financial statement that’s required, didn’t own the case and the knowledge of the case, and the client didn’t hold the lawyer accountable.
When you’re talking about bad facts, number three, anything can be a bad fact. Everyone has bad facts in their case. It’s ownership of the bad facts, which is the most important thing. You have an alcohol problem; you’re going into therapy. You’re going to rehab. You’re in AA. You have DUIs – yep, but now I have proof through Soberlink that I’m no longer drinking.
This is lemonade making at its finest, and if you don’t make the lemonade, you’re just going to be stuck with the lemons. Own your bad facts.
Hire the right lawyer. Don’t hire someone that you think is going to be the most aggressive. Hire the lawyer that’s going to be the most successful. Know the goals of your case. Understand that you don’t want unreasonable expectations. If the party on the other side is a good parent, then chances are that party’s going to have parenting time.
Don’t spend so much time getting emotionally involved with your lawyer, or don’t hire lawyers that are too emotionally invested in the case. As a divorce lawyer, my job is to make sure that you’re successful, not just now but in the future. You’re going to look back a year from now and say, “That was the best decision I made at the worst time in my life.”
So, do your homework. Interview three lawyers, look at their websites, do all the things that make you feel comfortable, and then go with your gut. Understand this: go with your gut. Your intuition is not going to fail you. Don’t go with your fear. Don’t go with lawyers that are selling fear. That’s not the answer.
And number five, get support. Own therapy. Get into some divorce counseling. If not, go to Facebook groups. We have a Facebook group called “Effective Co-Parenting in Colorado.” It’s Burnham Law. We just have a bunch of videos that help people throughout the process. There are like a thousand members in there. They interact and communicate and help one another. That’s part of the community. If you can’t afford therapy, there’s plenty of things like that online that are going to help you.
It’s a tough process. It’s not easy. It’s necessary, and people will go through it in different ways. Be mentally tough. Get the 30,000-foot view, and trust your instincts. Good luck.