How do I select a divorce attorney?
Regardless of your approach to the divorce process, collaborative or otherwise, this process impacts the remainder of your life and, if you have children, their lives and their future relationships. Choose carefully. Choose wisely. And remember…
You are making this choice in the midst of very strong emotions, whether they be rage or fear, catatonic depression or the elation of hoped-for utopian freedom. These emotions can lead to grasping desperately and blindly at the first lifeline you encounter or buying into a strategy which does not serve you, your estate, your future or your children’s future well.
The choice requires patience, in-depth interviewing and most of all, it requires a “fit.” As you are careful about your choice of a dentist, or the medical doctor who will handle your most intimate medical problems or your mental health therapist, you must be careful in the selection of an attorney for if you and your divorce lawyer don’t fit well together, the results will be disappointing at best and catastrophic at worst.
- Interview more than one lawyer in whatever methodology you choose to operate – collaborative or otherwise. Yes, this will cost you a bit of money, but this is the rest of your life we are talking about here.
- Make a list of things you think you know about the divorce process as well as the things you have questions about. Then pose questions about how this attorney would go about teaching you about the process, the potential outcomes, and their impact on your and your children’s future.
- Look for the “fit”! – the shared philosophy, vision, emotional support, ability to make the complex things simple for you. We all communicate differently and communication is the key.
- REMEMBER: You are NOT hiring a best friend. You are hiring someone to shepherd you through an almost incomprehensible maze at a time when you are at your most vulnerable and while you are less able to learn and adapt quickly than you have ever been before. This person must be able to tell you the truth when s/he knows you will not like it and will likely fight against it. Choose carefully!
Steps To Take For Choosing The Right Divorce Lawyer.
1. Be Realistic
Don’t confuse your divorce lawyer with your therapist. A divorce lawyer’s primary role is to give you legal counsel and provide the advice and support you need to resolve your divorce. Keep in mind that you are paying for a specific service and that you should make the most out of your time with your divorce lawyer. Don’t expect a divorce lawyer to solve every single one of your problems with your soon to be ex-spouse. By taking a realistic approach, you will be able to make the right choice on your divorce lawyer.
2. Look Out for Red Flags
When you are evaluating your options for divorce lawyers, make sure to look out for any red flags. Common red flags for divorce lawyers include bad communications, promising guarantees, and not treating your case with the personal attention that you deserve. When it comes to choosing the right divorce lawyer, you should always listen to your instincts. If you feel like a certain divorce lawyer candidate isn’t giving you what you need, you should walk away. It’s always a good rule of thumb to interview at least 3 different divorce lawyers before you make your final decision.
3. Decide on Whether Traditional Litigation Will Work for You
When you are looking for a great divorce lawyer, you should try to decide on whether or not you want to go the route of traditional litigation. If not, you should try to find a divorce lawyer with experience in divorce mediation or other collaborative divorce options. The lesson to be learned here is that you want someone with the experience you need. Lawyers specialize in all kinds of matters, which is why you should figure out what the best route to go for your divorce is before you hire a certain divorce lawyer.
4. Stay Focused
It’s easy to let your emotions control your decisions when you are getting a divorce. The important thing to do is stay focused on the bigger picture when you are choosing a divorce lawyer. Keeping a level head will help you choose a great divorce lawyer and get on with the proceedings. Remember to reach out to The Johnson Law Firm and Associates to hire the best divorce lawyers possible.
Things to Know Before You Decide to Divorce
The decision to separate and divorce from your spouse can be one of the most stressful and pain-staking decisions you will ever make. Feelings of uncertainty, sorrow, grieving, denial, and guilt can paralyze you, and make you feel stuck. While there is no easy way to make this very difficult decision, preparing yourself for the emotions that lie ahead of you may help ease the burden when the time comes to have The Talk with your partner. Knowing what to expect when you and your spouse decide to end the marriage can also make this time a little less difficult.
You will be afraid to call it quits because you don’t know what lies ahead of you. You may be scared of the Unknown and because of this, you may tell yourself that you are comfortable even if you are miserable. You will will try to weigh the pros and cons of staying married, and tell yourself you can continue to endure your unhappy marriage. You will tell yourself lies and reason that you should stay together for the kids, for the finances, etc. But fact that you’re trying to bargain against your happiness indicates that something is wrong. You are bargaining because you are scared, but know that this is normal.
Know that when the decision is make to split, the roller coaster of emotions you will feel is unlike anything you have ever experienced. Grief, pain, relief, heartbreak, confusion, and the desperation of wanting to be loved can feel like waking up every morning and learning that you are the only survivor to a nuclear war. Do not hide these emotions, but accept them and deal with them in a healthy manner. And once you do, know that there is a weight that will slowly start to ease from your shoulders—the same weight that you denied all this time when you told yourself nothing was wrong.
Even if your self-esteem was in the dumps from your martial troubles prior to the split, know that it will shatter once the separation occurs. You may find yourself wanting to be loved and validated, desperate for attention that your spouse no longer provided. You will think that nobody will ever love you or want you again, and you may be tempted to to date immediately and latch on to the first person who catches your eye. Resist this urge to attach yourself, even if you have not had that romantic touch or intimacy for a long time. Trying to fill that void with another relationship robs you of the chance to heal, and may set into motion a cycle of dependency for you, when what you need is to be strong and focus on loving yourself.
You will be tempted to make decisions driven by emotion, rather than logic. You will constantly forget that divorce, boiled down, is a business transaction–a splitting of assets and incomes. The logical part of you will understand this, but the part of you that is hurt may spend months fighting over things that have nothing to do with money at all. During the legal process, you will be forced to choose your battles. Choose wisely. You will need to learn that nobody wins in divorce. Otherwise, you will find yourself robbed of years of your life fighting in court, having spent tens of thousands of dollars on legal fees that could have been put to better use in your post-divorce life, and so emotionally distraught that moving on will be extremely difficult.
You will find yourself in new uncomfortable situations. There are too many to mention here. You may be re-entering the workforce. Your budget may be tight. Your children may have trouble adjusting and exhibit behavioral problems. You may find friends treating you differently, thinking for some reason your split means that their relationship is in jeopardy. Social situations where there are couples may make you feel lonely and miserable. Understand that you are not alone in all of these struggles and that there are infinite resources are out there to help you. Do not allow any of this discomfort to make you bitter.
You may tell yourself that you are find and holding up well, but do not mistake that complacency with merely bootleg up your emotions. You will need a support system: a therapist, a support group, good friends, the non-judgmental anonymity of online forums. Whatever combination of systems you choose should help you attain two objectives–creating a safe place for venting, while also helping you find constructive ways to cope with the divorce in a healthy manner. Do not convince yourself that you are better than that, stronger than that. You are human. Go talk to someone.
Empowerment, if you let it
You will learn that divorce gives you a choice. You can choose to look at this split as a trauma from which you will never recover, and to be guided by anger and fear and and panic, or you can choose the path that takes more work–the path where you ask for assistance, get the support you need, educate yourself about every aspect of the divorce (and there are many), and understand that you will have the power to get through it all. No one can make that choice but you.