In anticipation of this series, I reached out to some former clients and asked them: How could you have been better prepared for your divorce?

One client told me that she wished she had gathered all her proof documents about her various claims earlier on in the process.

Many clients want to take positions that need to be borne out by proofs. One common issue is that one party feels he or she should receive more in equitable distribution of the marital residence. This could be because he or she contributed more in pre-marital funds to the purchase of the property; or maybe one party’s parents made a substantial gift that was used to acquire the home. Or perhaps there is a claim that an investment account was funded primarily with pre-marital funds of one party (that’s an issue I am dealing with in a case right now), and so the party who contributed those pre-marital funds wants a greater share of the current balance of the account. For these types of issues, it is the burden of the party who wants to insulate an asset from distribution, to prove why that should be the case.

There could also be issues related to the children. Maybe there is a claim of mistreatment against the children being made by one parent, as the basis of a position that the other parent should have less parenting time or supervision of his or her parenting time, or needs therapeutic interventions.

In all of these cases, you need to be prepared to prove it. Get your ducks in a row. If it’s a financial issue that needs to be proven and you need statements from many years ago, start calling the financial institution(s) and getting the proofs. If it’s a custody or parenting issue, start culling the text messages, pictures, videos, and/or audio recordings, and organizing them in a fashion that is easy for your attorney (and ultimately for the court or a mediator) to digest.

The sooner you can gather the proofs that support your claims, the better. Why? First and perhaps foremost, this will help your attorney assess the validity of the position you want to take, or formulate a more tenable position under the law. Second, there is no point in “spinning your wheels” – wasting both time and money – on positions that cannot be borne out with proofs. In fact, if you advance a position for too long without having the proof, you could face sanctions or counsel fees for engaging in frivolous litigation.

This is the second blog post in my series, Be Prepared For Your Divorce. Here, I share my best advice for preparing to embark on this major life change. I also ask former clients the question, “what do you wish you knew before you started the divorce process?,” sharing their responses anonymously, and tackling what they had to say. Stay tuned for more, and check out my first post in this series, Talk to A Divorce Attorney First.


Jessica Diamond Lia is a Partner in the firm’s Family Law Practice, resident in the Morristown, NJ, office. You can reach Jessica at (973) 994.7517 or