Will 2014 be the year your divorce is finished? If you and your spouse can be reasonable then there is no reason why this cannot be accomplished. In fact even if one of you is unreasonable you may still be able to conclude your case in 2014.
To help you finish your case make sure that you know the value of all marital assets. If the house or the retirement benefits need to be appraised, pay the fees and get the valuation reports as soon as possible so that productive settlement conversations may begin. If there is a business, license or degree to be evaluated complete the accountant's questionnaire and participate as requested by the expert.
If there are custody issues, explore whether there is any middle ground that will allow this issue to be resolved. If the problem consists of scheduling, be reasonable. As the children grow older the schedule will need to adapt to the children's activities and schedules. If there are legitimate custody issues, continue planning to obtain the documents and names of witnesses that will be able to come to court and testify in your favor if a trial becomes a necessity. Explore whether joint custody, which for most people means joint consultation, is possible rather than sole custody and sole decision making on major issues affecting the children.
Take a good look at your current monthly expenses and what your income will be from all sources including employment, child support, spousal support and gifts. Determine whether your expenses can be reduced to make sure you have adequate income. If you are the paying spouse, consider what your current expenses are and how you will meet them after you pay child support and/or spousal support. For both parties consider whether any additional schooling is necessary to earn more, what promotions may be available in your current employment and whether there are any raises or contract adjustments that are forseeable.
Write your attorney what your settlement goals are and let your attorney know the parameters for settlement so that negotiations can take place.
Finally, make up a list of the personal property that you want as this is usually one of the last items discussed.
If your settlement discussions are stalled or your attorney is non-responsive, please call me so that I can tell you how I can help you finish your case and move forward with the rest of your life.