While you may have had experience with attorneys in the past -- maybe for a real estate transaction or business deal -- that experience will not necessarily prepare you for retaining an attorney for something as highly personal as divorce. It’s important that you have a clear understanding of what you should expect from the person you hire to advocate for you during this emotional, stressful time in your life.
A good divorce attorney knows how the system works, and can work that system for your benefit. Beyond that, you should also expect these five things from your divorce attorney:
Your attorney will be your guide in navigating the divorce process, including developing a plan of action and setting strategies for your case. You should feel comfortable enough to share personal and intimate details, and to ask as many questions as you need to feel confident moving forward. You are entitled to be kept informed of the status of your case so any new developments or deadlines won’t take you by surprise.
Divorce is always emotional, and it’s hard to be objective when it’s happening to you. Just the process of divorce is enough to cloud anyone’s judgment, making it more difficult for you to make good decisions. Having an attorney on your side to provide you with sound, strategic advice for moving forward is invaluable. He or she can help you find other professionals who can help you deal with the emotional stress of a divorce, and help you keep a clear head. Your attorney can also advise you when you are being unreasonable about what you want and why you are unlikely to get it.
An experienced divorce attorney will be able to assess your particular situation and let you know what you can likely expect if your case goes to court. He or she can help you develop a reasonable settlement proposal or review the other party’s proposal and advise you if you should accept it, revise it, or fight it out in court. There are few scenarios an experienced divorce lawyer has not seen — their experience provides you with options.
Knowledge of the process.
Divorce is a legal process, and with that comes lots of paperwork. If that paperwork is incorrect or incomplete, your case is in jeopardy. If you mistakenly omit something, you could be accused of trying to hide something, which damages your credibility. An experienced divorce lawyer knows exactly what type of information you need to proceed with your divorce and how to handle the necessary paperwork properly to ensure your side has a fair hearing.
There is no legal allowance for getting revenge in a divorce proceeding. Your divorce attorney will help you focus on the big picture because he or she wants to obtain the best deal possible for you. A good lawyer will not let you fight for something you can’t possibly win. A good lawyer will help you set priorities so you will end up with what you need, even if you have to make a few compromises along the way.
How you divorce and who you choose as your advocate can make a big difference in your life during and after a divorce. Be sure that the attorney you select is a good fit for you and someone you can trust to be on your side, fighting for your interests and those of your children.