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Lawyers in Divorce
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Table of Contents

Click on the links below to navigate to a specific section. Or, scroll down to read the full guide.

Finding the Right Lawyer for You
Expert tips on choosing the correct lawyer. The first step to a successful divorce is having the right lawyer.

Hiring the Lawyer
Your interviews are complete. You've reviewed all of your notes and analyzed all the information you've compiled, and you know whom you want to hire. What next?

Communicating with Your Lawyer
Talking with your lawyer is not like talking with your best friend. Although you want to have open and easy communication with your lawyer, you must remember to stay focused on the issues your lawyer wants you to address and not overwhelm him or her with inappropriate demands and superfluous information.

Common Client Mistakes
What to do and not to do. This page will address the most common things that clients do, that their lawyers wish they wouldn't.


Finding the Right Lawyer for You

Expert tips on choosing the correct lawyer. The first step to a successful divorce is having the right lawyer.

The Top Ten Qualities to Look for in a Divorce Attorney
Using the information you have gathered, rate the candidates on a scale of one to five in each of the following ten categories. Seriously consider the lawyer who scores the highest as your front-running candidate.

Listening to Your Instincts
Think about whether a lawyer made eye contact with you, and if not, whether this bothers you. Was the lawyer glib, dismissive, or callous? Did he or she oversimplify the issues or make you feel your cause was hopeless? Did you hear any words of encouragement, or did you only hear about how wonderful the lawyer considers him- or herself?

Hiring the Lawyer

Your interviews are complete. You've reviewed all of your notes and analyzed all the information you've compiled, and you know whom you want to hire. What next?

Sticking with a Plan
A lawyer may have every intention of being assertive, aggressive, and in control of the litigation and then, for whatever reason, fail to deliver on that promise. Plan items are listed here.

Obtaining an Action Plan
Only one person can rescue you from any dangers up ahead, and that is your lawyer. A truly effective lawyer will harness the energy of the river and use it to steer your raft to a quiet pond where rational thought is possible and an agreement can be reached about how everyone can avoid going over the waterfall.

Understanding the Financial Terms
Be sure you understand the financial terms a lawyer is offering you. It comes as a shock to many legal customers when they learn that they are billed by the minute for talking on the phone to their lawyer and for their lawyer's talking on the phone to the other side's lawyer. Billing in this manner is the norm. It is how lawyers earn a living. Think of it as being similar to a store's inventory.

Reading the Contract
If the lawyer you're considering hiring didn't provide you with a copy of his or her standard contract at your interview, you should ask for one now. This document, commonly referred to as a "fee agreement" or "retainer agreement," will spell out the terms of your relationship with your lawyer.

Communicating with Your Lawyer

Talking with your lawyer is not like talking with your best friend. Although you want to have open and easy communication with your lawyer, you must remember to stay focused on the issues your lawyer wants you to address and not overwhelm him or her with inappropriate demands and superfluous information.

Managing Your Single Life With Children
The lifestyle that you are accustomed to is now over and it is time for you to make new decisions about how you will carry on with your life. Everything is effected by the divorce, the children's birthdays, or holidays. All of these things must now be restructured for you as a single parent.

Children and Child Care
When someone else other than a parent is taking care of a child(ren) in attempt to help make them grow physically, emotionally, socially, and mentally.

Creating and Understanding Parenting Plans
It is important for a family to design a parenting plan to insure a focused family environment. This holds true for any family, but it is a necessity for a family that is going through a divorce. A well designed parenting plan lessens disagreements, decreases conflict, and helps the entire family understand what is going to take place.

Guidelines of Parents & The Rights of Children
The parent should not constantly discipline the children for every act that they make. The parent should also listen to the child's point of view. Show them that you care for their feelings and not just your own. This should be a give and take relationship between parent/child, especially when faced with divorce.

The Effects of Divorce on Children
Regardless of the situation, children often worry about what is going on in their lives, and they often see divorce as something very traumatic. One of the most important things to a child in a divorce situation is their own security. They are not concerned for their parents happiness.

The Child's Perspective on Divorce
Sometimes it can be beneficial to look at things through" the eyes of a child." This helps to give the parent some perspective on how the child sees things. Lets look at a scenario concerning how a certain child perceives different aspects of a divorce.

Telling the Children You Are Getting Divorced
Telling the children that you are going to get divorced can be a very difficult obstacle to overcome, but it is something that must be done in order for the child(ren) to begin to accept this dramatic change in his or her life. Research does show that divorce is something that can be traumatic for the child/children, and this is very evident when the divorce initially occurs.

Children and Divorce Overview
Presently the divorce rate is increasing at an astounding rate, and close to 50% of children and adolescents are growing up in a single parent environment. Children need their parents in order for them to develop physically, mentally, and emotionally. If the bond between the parent and the child is broken, negative consequences can be a result and can be traumatic for a child.

Common Client Mistakes

What to do and not to do. This page will address the most common things that clients do, that their lawyers wish they wouldn't.

Expecting to Get Justice by Going to Court
Many people naively believe that, if they can just get the judge to listen to what their ex did, the judge will make things OK. Well, it doesn't work that way. Why not?

Using Your Lawyer as a Therapist
Many times, you will be tempted to talk to your lawyer about your personal problems, particularly since he or she is right in the middle of the action. Resist the temptation. Your lawyer is not trained to help you with nonlegal issues.

Becoming Discouraged
As your divorce progresses and your nerves start to fray, compare the divorce to those other struggles. You are going to have ups and downs, but having a bad day does not mean that all is lost. Look at your action plan and see how far you have come.

Succumbing to the Other Side's Mental Engineering
Another common mistake you must not make is to allow the other side's head games to bother you. Before you embark on a divorce or custody fight, even before you go lawyer hunting, take an emotional inventory. Do you feel scared, angry, weak, powerful, afraid, confused? If you feel angry and powerful, that's great. If you feel weak, afraid, or confused, you need to get your thoughts organized and make a plan so you can start to feel less so.

Having Unclear Objectives
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to go through the litigation without knowing what you hope to accomplish. If you know what you want to get out of the litigation, you will feel less lost and confused. If you know where you are going and have a plan for getting there, you will be able to assess your progress and make adjustments in your plan if necessary.


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Please contact adfp@divorceandfinance.org