The Dynamics of Discovery and the Divorce Process with Evan Schein

  July 21, 2021

In this episode of We Chat Divorce, we’re joined by Evan Schein to discuss the topic: The Dynamics of Discovery and the Divorce Process. Here’s an overview of Evans’s experience:

Evan Schein is a New York City-based divorce and family law attorney, partner and the Head of Litigation at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein LLP. During his career, Evan has litigated high-conflict custody cases and complex financial matters. Evan leads the firm’s litigation practice. He has helped clients find post-divorce happiness and build successful financial lives, advocated to protect children and fought for the rights of victims of domestic violence.

Evan is the host of the Schein On Podcast where he gives an inside and unfiltered look into the world of marriage, money, divorce and more.

Evan has taught several Continuing Legal Education seminars for various organizations and bar associations in New York and nationally and has been cited in publications for his work on prominent New York family law cases.

Hosts, Karen, and Catherine sit down with Evan Schein to discuss The Dynamics of Discovery and the Divorce Process with Evan Schein

Learn More >>https://scheinondivorce.com/

https://www.berkbot.com

Connect with Evan on LinkedIn >> @Evan Schein

The We Chat Divorce podcast (hereinafter referred to as the “WCD”) represents the opinions of Catherine Shanahan, Karen Chellew, and their guests to the show. WCD should not be considered professional or legal advice. The content here is for informational purposes only. Views and opinions expressed on WCD are our own and do not represent that of our places of work.

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Karen:

Welcome to We Chat divorce, Catherine and I are very happy to welcome attorney Evan Schein to our podcast today. In this episode, we’re going to discuss the dynamics of discovery and the divorce process. But first, let me just take a couple of minutes to introduce attorney Schein. Evan Schein is a New York City-based divorce and family law attorney [00:00:30] partner and the head of litigation at Berkman Bottger Newman & Schein. During his career, Evan has litigated high conflict custody cases and complex financial matters. Evan leads the firm’s litigation practice. He’s helped clients find post-divorce happiness and build successful financial lives, advocated to protect children and fought for the rights of victims of domestic violence. Evan is the host of the Schein On the podcast, where he gives an insight [00:01:00] an unfiltered look into the world of marriage, money, divorce, and more. Welcome, Evan.

Evan Schein:

Karen, Catherine, thank you for that fantastic introduction. It’s great to be with you both and all your listeners.

Catherine:

Thank you for being with us. And I have to say if you’re listening, you’re probably thinking the same thing I’m thinking. Schein On Podcast with unfiltered talk with an attorney. How exciting is that?

Evan Schein:

I’m excited to be with both of you. This is great.

Catherine:

Yeah. Good.

Karen:

Awesome. So on that note, you’re a divorce litigator, but yet you promote mediation and the wellbeing of families going through the divorce process. What is your story here? And how is it that you have ended up with this philosophy?

Evan Schein:

Karen, it’s such a great question. And it’s one of my favorite things and topics to talk about. The divorce process for so many people, there’s so much fear, there’s so much uncertainty. It’s a process that it’s unknown. And unless you’ve been down this road before, you don’t know what to expect, you don’t know the direction, you don’t know the path forward. And I believe it’s incredibly important to explain to clients, what are the options? What are the options? What are the process choices available? Whether it’s litigation, whether it’s mediation, whether it’s collaborative law, or if you’re in a state that practices arbitration, it’s important to educate your clients on the process and the options available.

Not every case needs to be litigated. Not every case should be litigated, but if a client does not understand the options available to her, him, not six months down the road where they’re already in messy contested litigation, that is far too expensive, but at the beginning, at the beginning of the case, or really when somebody’s thinking about starting that process, embarking on the divorce journey, it’s important to know the options available, to consult with an attorney who can explain to the client those options available and what each option looks like.

Catherine:

When you explain the options, which is a great point, I totally agree, setting up those expectations is really paramount for people going through a divorce. Can you, as the attorney behind the scenes, and have handled so many cases, and we know that very small cases actually percentage-wise go to litigation, do you have a really good bird’s-eye over a case saying, hey, this is going to be a litigated case, or not? And are you able to explain to the person sitting in front of you why it probably would not be a litigated case, or why it would be one?

Evan Schein:

Catherine, great question. The answer is yes. Part of my job as an attorney is to set expectations and to manage expectations. I can pretty much tell within the first 15 minutes of any substantive conversation with a prospective client, or when I sit down and I ask a client, what are the issues? What are your goals? If you’re arguing over something that does not need to be litigated, your case should not go down that path. There is options available, mediation, collaborative law, just negotiating back and forth with the other side, you can get a deal done. You can reach a resolution. You can bring closure to such an incredibly difficult time in somebody’s life in a quick, easy, simple way, but there are issues that are complex.

If I represent, or if I’m working with a business owner or the spouse of a business owner, and there are multiple properties, if there are complex financial issues, if there are complex assets, for example, I just tried a case where it involves separate property and appreciation in a very long-term marriage. My client owned a business and he also owned a commercial real estate that the business practiced out of. So when you have very complex financial issues and there are claims of separate property, and there are claims of marital property, and what each spouse is going to receive, some of those issues, the financial issues, can get very complex. And so I can generally tell early on which cases are going to be litigated and which cases are going to settle pretty quickly.

Catherine:

Do you think those complex cases that you’re saying that could be litigated, or maybe litigated, or most likely would be litigated, is due to the lack of understanding from one of the parties of the complexity of that asset? Because I feel like when we do our, we’ve developed the NDS financial portrait, and we don’t come from an advice standpoint, we come from a knowledge standpoint, and it just really has been shown over the last few years how, when the spouse who is not in the business, or not involved with that complex case, when they’re informed and they know how to interpret the asset, and they know how to access the, excuse me, asset, and they have more knowledge about the asset. They’re able to make smart decisions without actually a judge telling them what to do when the two attorneys can really just talk that out. Not having that knowledge, I feel like is what sends a lot of people into that litigation route.

Evan Schein:

Catherine, I love this question. Knowledge is power. Education is absolutely everything. And not every case, again, even when there are complex financial assets, the cases don’t have to be litigated. Clients don’t have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, hire five or six different appraisers to valuate businesses in real estate. The important thing is if you have attorneys who understand the process if you have clients who are educated if you have clients who could over time develop trust to learn about the financial process, the assets involved, cases can and should settle. But what happens is, and you make a really great point, if somebody doesn’t understand the assets, if someone feels that somebody’s hiding something, if there’s a lack of trust at the beginning of the process and everybody isn’t working together to help understand the full financial picture, that’s going to have a domino effect and it’s going to send the case to a place where it doesn’t need to be if everybody can get ahead of it at the beginning.

And part of that process, and the due diligence, and the work that you do, and Karen does well, is helping people to understand the financial process, the financial picture, and giving both parties the full understanding so their attorneys can do the work to help them get to the place where they need to be, which is separated, divorced, and figuring out next steps.

Catherine:

Boy, if we could replay that again, and again, and again, it’s exactly what we say, which is exactly why we love to align with attorneys like you, who actually get that concept. It’s really hard to have two attorneys on both sides thinking the same way like that.

Evan Schein:

Well, and Catherine, I’ll tell you what happens, again, another great point, attorneys have to set out proper expectations for clients. And if you work with an attorney, or you work with a financial advisor, or a financial professional, or any professional who doesn’t have the same fundamental core belief that a client does, in terms of helping somebody get from point A to point B, watch how quickly that case takes on a life of its own. And it’s very problematic, and anytime I take over a case, it’s amazing to me, and at this point, it probably shouldn’t be, when clients say, Evan, if I knew this if I knew that, if this was explained to me at the beginning of my case, you know what? I probably wouldn’t be in your office because my case would be settled and I would be divorced.

Karen:

Yeah, that’s exactly right. And from my experience with clients, having their first, or developing their initial relationship with their attorneys, especially if they go to what they consider as a shark attorney, I think I try to help clients understand the difference between a shark attorney and a smart attorney, but they get, I feel like the attorney answers most of their questions with, it depends, it depends. Everything depends. And, of course, it depends, but they walk away feeling worse than when they started, and then they start throwing paperwork at the attorney. And then they’re more confused because they think the attorney should be addressing every piece of paper as it’s coming in. And then to your point, it takes a life of its own and it goes off the rails, and they can easily get 50, $60,000 in, and still be as confused as they were when they started.

Catherine:

Karen, you bring up a really good point there, and as you even say the word, I’m a financial person, so I’m not taking it from the attorney version. So I give a lot of pushback to people like you, Evan, because I just do, but when she said that word, those two words, it depends, immediately my stomach right here, sitting here right now, got a little agitated. So that life of its own that everyone’s talking about is for the person on the other side who’s going through the process saying, don’t tell me it depends. Although I know legally, you’re bound to say that for a lot of reasons, the common person like myself doesn’t understand that. We just want to be informed, right? And guess what.

Evan Schein:

And here’s the thing, is that in litigation, sometimes it does depend. It depends on the judge. It depends on the issues. It depends on the other side. And I tell everybody, there are four people involved in every case, it’s the clients and it’s the attorneys. To settle a case and have control over how it settles, takes everybody. It takes all four people to be on the same page. For a case to go off the rails, it takes only one of those four people to have a different expectation, to get bad advice from an attorney, a financial professional, and the case proceeds to litigation. And that’s when you hear about the cases that are in court for three years and four years, and people are spending exorbitant sums of money, but the thing about divorce is, there’s a playbook, right? There’s a script. And how do we keep that script being followed? How do we keep that playbook being followed?

And it’s very easy for people to go off-script. It’s very easy for that playbook to get thrown out the window, but what if we had a better playbook, a different playbook, where the playbook accounted for certain things, if the attorneys and the professionals involved were people who understood what a client wanted, a client’s goals, and everybody was working in rhythm and in sync with one another to get the best possible outcome for a client, because every client’s goals are different, right? Some people want a hundred thousand dollars here, $50,000 there, people want to move forward. And if it means bringing a case to an end, sometimes it’s just not worth the fight for certain people. And when you go into an attorney’s office, and Karen, you mentioned a shark attorney, that shark attorney isn’t talking about collaborative law, mediation, other ways to settle a divorce, that attorney, and most attorneys, are only speaking about what they know.

And if they’re not an attorney or firm that understands the benefits to litigation, mediation and collaborative law, the only way that that attorney is answering the client who’s sitting across from her, or him, those questions is with what he or she knows, which is you must go to court. You must fight no matter what it takes, you must hire this appraiser, but that’s not great advice.

Catherine:

It’s so, I’m sorry. It’s so refreshing to hear you say all of this because we worked tirelessly on creating our portrait because we believe that everybody needs to work on the same page.  We believe that each side needs their expectations and their strategies, however, you want to word that, but to take the emotions out of the decision-making process has to be that everyone’s working with the same data, right? And so when people come to us, they’re unleashing their emotions in a really non-biased safe environment where we get to transform it into the data that is now shared with both sides. Whether it’s the mediator, or if it has to be a litigated case, or it just has to attorney representation, it doesn’t matter. We certainly can tell the temperature of both parties and be able to make suggestions on who might be a good fit for them.

But the importance of just having all the same data will let these families learn how to compromise because everybody’s compromising in divorce. But when you’re compromising with knowledge, your attorneys that you’re paying them the money that they’re earning is worth it because they’re making decisions based on this. Not somebody derailing because you’re not working on the same page with the data, it’s all data at this point.

Evan Schein:

Absolutely. And I love saying divorce is the greatest team sport. Nobody should go through it alone. You shouldn’t try to navigate it by yourself. You shouldn’t try to navigate it with just your attorney. To get through a divorce and to get through it the way you should get through it, which is to look forward to life ahead, to get through it in a way that makes sense and works in as efficient and effective, it’s a true team sport. It takes a team, everybody plays a role, the financial professional, the attorney, perhaps other professionals such as the therapist, or a business evaluator. But if you take the sport of, let’s say baseball or football, and you look at the great sports dynasties of all time, everybody from top to bottom played a meaningful role. And I truly believe divorce is a team sport. And if you have a team, a team of really excellent trusted professionals, it’s the best way to go from point A to point B, and to move forward in a very healthy, productive way.

Karen:

I love that.

Catherine:

Totally agree.

Karen:

Yeah. And to our topic today, which I think is going to be very important for people to hear your perspective. The discovery process is one of the most misunderstood pieces of divorce. Attorneys know they have to do it because they’re procedurally mandated to do it, but clients are very confused about how it works. So can you talk to us about what is the divorce, not the divorce, the discovery process, and break it down in a way that a person who may not have gone through that yet can understand what the pieces of it are, and what an attorney’s responsibility to that is.

Evan Schein:

In a very simple way, the discovery process is how you understand and how you educate yourself on the overall financial picture. In the discovery process, and regardless of whether you’re in litigation, or you’re negotiating, or your case is being moved forward through the mediation process, the discovery phase of a case is the exchange of financial information. And I say financial information because it could be documented, it could be bank statements, credit card statements. It can be working with professionals to fill out financial forms, financial statements, but at its core, at its foundation, the discovery phase of a case is how both sides can learn about information, about the other person’s finances and assets, and really fill in the holes, and fill in the gaps. The truth is if there’s compliance, if everybody’s on the same page at the beginning, a lot of this work is done at the outset.

And I really view the discovery process as a way to fill in the holes, to fill in the gaps of missing information. Maybe instead of five years of tax returns, only three years were produced at the beginning. You might need an additional year or two. Maybe instead of five years of bank statements, only three were produced and you may need an additional year or two. So the discovery process is one that really doesn’t start, or really should start at the beginning of a case, because if you want your case to move forward if you want your case to settle, both sides, not just one, but both sides need to really have a true picture and a true understanding of what the financial process looks like. And if your case is in court and there’s information that either side needs that have not been produced, the court will dictate the discovery schedule.

And what that means if you’re in litigation, if you’re in court, the judge will set dates and deadlines by which both parties need to comply, produce different financial documents that are requested, credit card statements, bank statements, checking account statements, savings, retirement, investment accounts. The list goes on and on. And that phase is really where you learn about someone’s finances if you already don’t have a clear picture of [00:17:30] what the overall financial asset picture looks like. The separate part or the second part of the discovery phase is, in addition to exchanging hard financial documents, there’s something called depositions.

Depositions in the court process is where the attorney gets to ask your spouse, or partner, financial questions, at least in the state of New York, where depositions are limited to financial questions only. You get to ask someone under oath questions about somebody’s assets, about bank statements, credit card statements, [00:18:00] anything you want so long as it’s relevant and proper to the issue of finances. And at the conclusion of the discovery phase, if it’s handled correctly if it’s done right, both sides should have a true picture, a true understanding of all the financial assets in the case.

Karen:

That’s a very good breakdown. Thank you.

Catherine:

And again, it really matters how that process is started, it is my belief that really matters how it started, because that is where the trust foundation begins. And believe me, we all know here today that people getting divorced typically don’t trust each other. That’s pretty much why they’re getting divorced at that point. However, if we can start the process with gathering that data, we don’t need two attorneys, quite frankly, to gather this data. That’s not what you’re trained to do by gathering this. You have to follow your mandates, I get that if one party is not producing the information, but what we do is try to work with them to gather all of that so that they’re really putting out there that, listen, I’m going to be transparent. I’m going to give this information, I know I have to.

And then we get to hand it over to both sides so they have it. And then the discovery process really only has to occur if you see a missing gap as you said, or if you see something that wasn’t produced that you really wanted, or we asked for five years of tax returns and they only gave us two and had no explanation why they couldn’t give us the other three. Some people have explanations, but if we say to you in consideration, he, or she, just refused to give it. Now you could just zone in on that, you don’t have to go through the whole minutia of getting the things that we’ve already gotten. We don’t need two experts, two litigators to collect that data, because there it is. And then the couple gets to start working. You have those expectations again, it always comes down to the expectations, right?

Evan Schein:

Absolutely. And Catherine, you make such a great point. There’s this phrase that I use sometimes, it’s called divorce limbo. And it is the most uncomfortable, I believe, phase or experience for a client to go through. If you’re going to start a divorce action, and I tell everybody this, be prepared, be organized, just like you said, don’t wait to produce documents to share financial information. I’m going to break the news on your podcast. It’s going to come out. It’s going to come out anyway. And so at the end of the day.

Catherine: Breaking.

Breaking.

Evan Schein:

That’s right. And here’s the thing, because I litigate, because I’m in a courtroom, at the end of the day if someone isn’t complying, the judge is going to mandate that somebody produce documents, you can serve subpoenas. Your attorney’s going to get the documents. To produce it, give it up, do it in the beginning. If you want to have a divorce, and divorce the right way, get ahead of it. Get ahead of it at the beginning, because otherwise, you’re living in divorce limbo. And really what I mean by that is if somebody starts a divorce process, [00:21:00] and he, or she, doesn’t know what’s next, that’s not great. Do the work ahead of time.

Have a plan with your attorney, with your financial professional, whoever the client is working with, have a plan, a short-term plan, a long-term plan, have a path, have a direction, don’t file for divorce and not be able to say to somebody, this is what happens next because it’s an absolutely terrible feeling for somebody to be in. Going through a divorce is hard enough, going through a divorce and feeling like your life, money, your kids, everybody’s in limbo, it’s an absolutely terrible feeling, but here’s the key, it could be avoided if it’s handled correctly.

Catherine:

Exactly.

Karen:

And here’s the scenario. You go to an attorney, you filed your divorce complaint, that’s done, you start the discovery process and you get those two documents called interrogatories and requests for production of documents, right? And they’re long, and they’re intimidating and overwhelming. Well, how great would it be if you could just say, oh, I’ve already done that? Here you go. Here it is, the data, the documents to support it. I’ll answer these questions. Boom, boom. So not only is it great for the client because that emotion of fear and overwhelm is dissipated, but it’s also great for the attorney because it’s delivered in a package, not in over the course of months and sometimes years of requesting documents that are just dribbling in.

Evan Schein:

Absolutely. That goes back, that’s the perfect playbook. That’s the perfect script on how to get divorced, how to get divorced the right way, exchange your documents, exchange your financials, work in a way that helps both parties to understand what exists. You can’t divide what you don’t know exists. And again, it’s going to come out. And so get ahead of it. Work in a way, and look, you don’t necessarily, a client doesn’t necessarily have to have the most amicable divorce. Catherine, you mentioned in most divorces, there’s a lack of trust. In many divorces the communication is problematic and it’s not there. You don’t need to necessarily be best friends as you’re going through a divorce process. That’s not what I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is simply complying, producing your financial documents, getting ahead of it, having a plan, working smart, working in an intelligent way, working with people who want to help you get from where you are now, which is a not so great place, to a much better place, and how to do that in an efficient, effective way.

When people say to me, Evan, my case has been in court for five years, or nine years and these are people who I don’t represent, then I hear these stories. To me, it’s, you have to go back and examine what happened. And I can pretty much guarantee before I even asked that question, I know there’s a list of about five to seven things, what went wrong. [00:24:00] And one of those things always is, someone was not forthcoming with financial documentation. Somebody tried to hide assets. Someone was withdrawing money. Someone was gifting money to a family member. It’s all discoverable. And so if you know that, and your attorney explains it to you, and the people you’re working with help you to understand what’s the process ahead is going to look like if you don’t do A, B, C, D, you’ll do it at the beginning of the case.

Karen:

Yeah.

Catherine:

Yeah. And even in addition to that, and I totally agree with everything that you just said, is that even for the kudos to the ones who were really forthcoming with their information, and kudos to the business owners in the complex cases that they give you all that information, the problem can still lie in that the other party doesn’t understand, doesn’t have the financial literacy of those assets. So they’re being asked to make decisions on people who are not explaining to them, or they don’t get the bird’s eye view, or the playbook, or the blueprint, we call it, to the decision-making.

But how exciting would it be? I probably would love to be an attorney if I could not litigate, but I would call it to negotiate because I love negotiating. But if we’re handing you this document and your opposing counsel has the same document, and now you’re negotiating, you’re not litigating, because you don’t need a judge to tell you what to do. A judge doesn’t want to tell you what to do, but you’re actually negotiating what you’re trained to do, trying to get the best compromise for your client while they’re trying to get the best compromise. And then your client understands it because they’re seeing it. To me, it’s just such a great way to save families who are going through a divorce, because I think the narrative needs to change. I am a divorcee, I’m remarried, but it’s just a part of my story. And all of these people are going into new relationships. I’m remarried, everyone’s getting remarried. So why not go into a new marriage in a healthier view because you didn’t have to be tortured through the divorce of your prior marriage.

Evan Schein:

Catherine, you’re a hundred percent right, and here’s the other piece, and you touch on it, about the divorce process. Even in the scenario that you mentioned, for someone who maybe doesn’t have the financial sophistication, or the financial background to understand numbers, or complex financial concepts, the divorce process, I find, can be a very empowering process. When someone could understand the finances and whether it’s balancing a checkbook, whether it’s in investments, whether it’s other basic concepts, or learn more about money, how great is that? How fantastic is that? Because here’s the other piece of it. There’s going to be life after divorce.

Someone maybe, as you mentioned, in new relationships, someone wants to be in a position to explain to their children about money, about saving, about investments. And in that power, that knowledge, it’s an incredible feeling, but in order for that to happen, the person needs to work with the right team. It gets back to the whole divorce is a team sport, because there are other things to consider besides just the divorce process. It’s life after divorce, having that knowledge, having that education, being empowered by what you learn in the divorce process and taking that knowledge and applying it to other areas of your life.

Catherine:

It’s so true. And that’s why we really focus on coming from knowledge, not an advisory standpoint so that the entire team can then make good decisions. You make smart decisions when you have the knowledge, you don’t have to know what the market’s doing every single day. You don’t have to know what every investment actually means, but you have to understand that every decision has an outcome, and when you have the knowledge, it’s everything in the divorce.

Karen:

I agree.

Evan Schein:

And the other piece of it too is, divorce is so emotional. And I know it’s something that the three of us have talked about. It’s emotional and it’s a hard process for people to go through. And a lot of times emotion drives people to make irrational decisions in terms of settling cases, whether it’s the house they want, but they can’t afford it, whether it’s the, something else that somebody wants, but they can’t afford it. And so it gets back to the simple concepts of, well, if you want the house, let’s look at the cash flow. Let’s look at the other assets. Let’s look, is this something that makes sense? And by having those conversations and discussions, then it puts people in the position to get a fair settlement, a very good settlement, and one that they know that they could feel good about and that they truly, truly understand.

Karen:

Yeah. And I was just thinking the same thing, Evan, I feel people often look for emotional justice as a part of the divorce process. And it’s just not. There is no emotional justice. So, as bad as you think the other person is treated, or whether he or she is doing whatever they may be doing, that’s not going to get resolved. What’s going to get resolved is the formulaic division of marital assets and support, and a parenting plan if needed. Am I saying that correctly?

Evan Schein:

Absolutely. You are. And Karen here’s the thing, clients say to me all the time, Evan, I want to go to court. I want the judge to know everything that happened in my relationship, in my marriage. I want the judge to know all the bad things that my spouse did to me, but here’s the key. You have to manage your client’s expectations because, one, the court is very expensive. It’s time-consuming, but here’s the other piece of it. The judge isn’t going to care about all the things your spouse did, or didn’t do, in your relationship and in your marriage. And if you’re looking for that validation from the court, you’re not going to get it. And what you’re going to get is you’re going to get the feeling that we’re not heard. You spent a lot of time and a lot of money, and your case is likely to go on for another year, or two years.

And so I tell everybody, whatever your image is of the court process, right? If it’s based on television, if it’s based on movies, that’s not reality. That’s not reality. It doesn’t matter what your favorite divorce or any legal movie is. That’s not going to happen. It’s not going to play out like you see it on television like you see it in the movies. And I tell clients a lot of times before the first appearance, go to the courthouse, know how to get there, experience it, feel it, know where you’re going, sit in a courtroom, see what happens. Because if you can experience that, if you can feel that, then you know what the process actually looks like, not what your friends tell you, not what you see on TV. And if you understand that, then you can make an informed decision as to whether litigation and going to court is really the process that you want to take.

Catherine:

Boy, we could do a whole podcast on that because I have a lot to say, but I won’t say it now. But you’re so right. And yeah, I think we will have to do another podcast on that, because it’s such an important topic and such a misunderstanding that it would really be great to discuss it even further. I could talk to you forever and I just love to drill you about a lot of things, because I love what you say.

Evan Schein:

Absolutely. I’ll come back do a part two.

Karen:

Awesome. I have one more question on this topic before we conclude our discussion today though, on that note, Catherine. Many of our clients feel very lost and confused, especially during discovery as their funds are quickly becoming extinct. They’re spending a ton of their marital estate on processing the discovery, but they also feel like they have no power. Is there something a client can do to be more proactive with their time and more in the know when interacting with their legal team? Are there specific things they can be asking their attorney, or are there specific things they can be doing when they feel so lost and out of the loop during that process of the exchange of documents?

Evan Schein:

Love the question. And I’ve two answers in response. One, the client should be part of the process. Don’t just follow directions. Don’t just follow what your attorney sends you, ask. Why is this necessary? Is this relevant? Right? What’s the goal? And the other piece of it too is, a client should identify goals early on. And if your goal is to keep the house, if your goal is to receive X amount in child support, whatever the goal is, right? Or to resolve it quickly, any plan that’s being formulated should really be a plan that is focused based on the goals that the client articulates to the attorney. And lastly, I can’t stress enough how important it is to be prepared, be organized when it comes to your financial affairs and your financial orders. And whether it’s working with professionals, whether it’s complying with basic information, do it in the beginning, do it even before you file for divorce.

I have people reach out to me and say, how could I be prepared before I even start the process? Which is my ideal client and my favorite focal, because I can tell you exactly who you should work with and how you should work, and the documents that you need, and then go off and do it. But when I say go off and do it, go off and do it smartly, intelligently, and work with people who could advise you on how to be organized, not just in the beginning, but really to help someone stay organized through the course of the divorce process because it’s a rollercoaster. There are ups, there are downs, there are good days, there are bad days, but if you can be organized in the beginning, watch how much better and smoother the process will be by getting ahead of things and being prepared.

Karen:

Absolutely.

Catherine:

Maybe we can use that on our commercial. I like it.

Karen:

I like it too. Yes.

Catherine:

I like this, but I want to tell you there’s two breaking news here if you’re listening, Evan, this is great. He had two breaking news that all of you should write down. You have to produce this information. You don’t want him to have to get it, so be forthcoming. And number two, which I love, life goes on after divorce. Love that.

Karen:

Me too. So this concludes our episode on the dynamics of discovery and the divorce podcast with attorney, Evan Schein. Thank you, Evan, for a great conversation.

Evan Schein:

Karen, Catherine, it was a pleasure being with you.

Catherine:

Thank you.