Law Office in New York

Why You Need a Divorce Lawyer

I recently overheard someone in a New York bookstore telling a group of people why they should not have their own attorneys, how they could not trust lawyers, how lawyers would cheat them and how they should rely upon the company the speaker belonged to instead. That conversation got me thinking about why people facing separation and divorce need not just any lawyer, but a good divorce lawyer.

Reason #1-What You need to know

You need to know your rights, duties, and responsibilities under the law in New York. Only a lawyer who has been retained to represent your interests can advise you. How can you really discuss financial arrangements in separating and divorcing, if you don’t know what your rights, duties and responsibilities are? Not knowing what your rights are can result in not getting your fair share of assets, your fair share of support or your fair share of time with your children. Not knowing what your duties and responsibilities are can result in your paying more than your fair share of assets or your fair share of support. Most attorneys offer a special reduced rate for consulting services to encourage people to get advice early and often. There is no reason to rely on backyard fence advice when you can get real advice from a qualified experienced divorce lawyer in New York for a reasonable fee. Furthermore, in my experience, the backyard fence advice is usually wrong. Remember that if what you hear is half true, it is still wrong.

Reason #2-Backyard Advice

My friend is divorced. Why can’t I rely on my friend’s experience and knowledge? Well, you could do that but what you need to realize is that unless your friend is a licensed attorney, he/she is not authorized to practice law. Your friend’s knowledge will be limited to his/her particular experience. His/her experience with the law is limited to the facts of his/her case and the law as it was at the time. Things change. The law changes in New York. Any change in the facts will change the outcome or advice. Furthermore, changes in the law will change the advice. Your friend simply lacks the knowledge and experience to give sound practical legal advice.

Reason #3-Identifying Issues

The sooner you get a lawyer in New York, the sooner you will learn what you need to know to protect yourself (and your children and property interests). Sometimes people have no idea how to go about identifying the issues they need to discuss, even if the separation is an amicable one and the parties anticipate a “friendly divorce.” A good, experienced divorce lawyer in New York can assist you in identifying the issues you need to discuss with your spouse to achieve a comprehensive agreement and global settlement. Over the years there have been numerous times when we were able to point out to clients areas they had initially overlooked and issues which should be included in their settlement discussions, such as life insurance, health insurance, and children’s educational needs.

Reason #4-To Share or Not to Share?

My spouse already has an attorney. Do I really need to get one too? Can’t the same lawyer in New York represent us both? The answer is no, not really. 30 years ago when I first began practicing law, it was strictly forbidden for a lawyer to represent both sides to a divorce, no matter how “friendly” it was. There are some limited circumstances in which dual representation might be allowed, provided there is full disclosure of potential conflicts of interest and a waiver of conflicts with informed consent by both parties. These situations are limited and in the event that unhappy differences or disputes should arise, the attorney must end the representation and both parties must seek new counsel. Frankly, we rarely if ever agree to dual representation. We represent our clients zealously within the bounds of the law and the conflicts in representing opposing sides are too apparent for us to agree to do so. Not only that but if your spouse has a lawyer, that means that he/she has already sought legal advice and has some rudimentary knowledge of his/her rights, duties and responsibilities under the law.

Someone once said knowledge is power. Would you rather be the one with the knowledge (and the power) or the one without knowledge? How trusting can you be of your spouse or his/her attorney in the circumstances? Remember that your spouse’s attorney already represents your spouse. In our experience, spouses, especially those who tend to be controlling will think nothing of misrepresenting the law to gain an advantage in the negotiation. Recently a client in New York told me that her husband who remains in the marital home told her that she was now his “landlord” and therefore she could not re-enter the home without his consent and presence and that his lawyer said so. Needless to say, everything he told her was wrong. Her husband also told our client that they did not need to use lawyers and could reach an agreement on their own without lawyers. He also said that if she insisted on having her attorney review paperwork before she signed it that he would find something to disagree with on each draft to drive up to her costs. Clearly, he was trying to manipulate, intimidate and control his wife, who was wise to seek her own independent counsel from a knowledgeable, experienced divorce attorney.

Reason #5-Do You Feel Lucky?

Going to a New Yorkcourt hearing in a pending divorce without a lawyer is like playing Russian Roulette. How lucky do you think you are? Would you perform surgery on yourself or would you seek out a qualified surgeon? Why do you think that you know enough to represent yourself in court? Do you know what your rights, duties, and responsibilities are? The judge won’t help you out if you don’t know what you are doing. There are rules of evidence and rules of procedure that govern hearings in New York. You need someone on your team that knows the rules of the game. You will need someone to prepare you for your testimony in court so that you don’t put your feet in your mouth up to your hip bone. You will be bound by the things that come out of your mouth in court. Recently we spoke to a man who incurred spousal and child support obligations of $3000 per month. The court issued an order based on erroneous exhibits filed by his wife’s attorney and based upon things he said in open court as to his income which was not accurate. A skilled trial attorney can get you to say things that you don’t mean to say, especially if you have not been prepared for your testimony.

Reason #6-Too Little, Too Late

Going to see a lawyer in New York after you have already signed papers or participated in depositions or hearings pro se (representing yourself) is like closing the barn door after the cow got out. Just because you were not represented does not mean that you can get out of a bad decision or bad deal you may have made or get out of rulings the court made when you were unrepresented. The time to get advice is before you sign. The time to get advice is before you go to court. In fact, you should get advice as soon as you receive legal notice of a pending lawsuit against you.

If you are reading this and you have already signed papers, you should still consult with a good experienced divorce attorney to have the papers explained to you and to review the papers to see if there are any loopholes that may be used to renegotiate terms move favorably to you or to insist upon “clarification” of the agreement. The attorney can also explain the consequences of having signed the paperwork.

If you are reading this and you are in the midst of a divorce action and have been to depositions on your own, you should seek immediate consultation with a well-experienced divorce attorney to see if there is any legal basis to suppress the depositions. Be sure to take all of your documents with you to the consultation. We have seen situations where it was possible to reopen a case for a client because the depositions were taken too early. In such situations, the depositions were quashed by filing the appropriate papers under the rules of court. In your case, it may be too late to do anything, but you should at least talk to a divorce attorney right away to be sure.

Reason #7-Isn’t a New York Lawyer a New York Lawyer?

I know a lawyer in New York who did the closing on our house. Can’t I go to him/her for advice about separation and divorce? Yes, you could but there is a saying that if the blind lead the blind, they both fall in a ditch. Would you go to a podiatrist (foot doctor) if you had an eye infection? You could; after all, the podiatrist went to medical school and learned about the body, including the eyes. The questions are how much if anything does he/she remember, is he/she current on the medical literature pertaining to the eye and infection, including the diagnosis and treatment of the eye? I have seen horrendous separation agreements prepared by lawyers in New York who do not devote at least a significant portion of their practice to family law but we’re trying to accommodate a friend or relation in their time of need. Actually, a lawyer should decline a case, if he/she does not believe that he/she has the knowledge and experience to handle it or that he/she is not willing to acquire the knowledge necessary to handle it.

It takes a significant amount of time to keep up with all of the changes in the law that affect separation and divorce. Think about it. Every week somewhere there is a court, either federal or state making a decision that could affect your situation. Every week that the legislature is in session, whether Congress or the General Assembly, they make decisions that could affect your situation. An experienced divorce attorney should make it a point to review new cases and statutes looking for those that affect family law practice; all of the best family lawyers do.

Reason #8-New York Prepaid Legal?

If you have paid for this service in New York, then certainly you can talk to one of the participating attorneys. But unless the attorney is an experienced divorce lawyer with a significant portion of his/her practice devoted to separation and divorce and related issues, you should give serious consideration to looking outside of your prepaid plan. Has theNew York lawyer written any books or articles on separation, divorce or related issues that are published? I am not a participating attorney in a prepaid legal plan. The best divorce lawyers in New York are not participants in “prepaid” legal. To my knowledge, there are no fellows (members) of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers who participate in prepaid legal services plans.

Think about what is at stake; the custody and support of your children, and the division of assets you may have worked your entire married life to accumulate, including your home, pension, savings, military retirement and/or 401K. Do you really want to cut corners when it comes to your kids? Your home? Your pension? Your retirement?

Reason #9-A Ship Needs a Navigator

If you think of your New York legal case as a ship, the client is the captain of the ship and the client’s attorney is the navigator. The navigator doesn’t decide where to go, but he/she does map out the best course to arrive at the destination. Divorce is difficult, even “friendly” divorce is not easy. It can be an emotional rollercoaster. You need emotional, psychological and legal support. In choosing to separate and divorce in New York, you will be faced with important decisions that will affect you, your spouse and your children not only now but in the foreseeable future. Passions can run hot during this difficult time and you need a clear head. You need a team of individuals including someone knowledgeable in separation and divorce law to help you see clearly and navigate the difficult and sometimes angry waters of separation and divorce.

Not having a good divorce New York lawyer at the planning and separation stage leaves you without the sound advice and rational third party perspective you need to make decisions which can bind you for life. Not having a good divorce lawyer at the divorce stage leaves you without the knowledge, experience, and advocacy of a well-experienced divorce attorney. It leaves you at the mercy of your spouse and your spouse’s attorney. Neither your spouse nor his/her attorney is there to show you mercy. You need someone to fight for you when you cannot fight for yourself. You need someone to help you understand what is going on and how to act in the storm.

You need someone who can help you to be pro-active and not simply re-active to steps that your spouse takes. You want a team to support you, a team which can and should include your pastor, rabbi or spiritual advisor, your CPA or tax advisor, extended family, friends, and a well-experienced divorce attorney.

Reason #10-You Need an Advocate

You are going through a traumatic experience. Divorce is one of the most difficult experiences in life, second only to the death of a spouse. You need someone who understands what is at stake and will advocate for your interests with not only knowledge and experience but passion and feeling. When you interview attorneys, find out why they practice family law and what motivates them in advocating for clients. What is it that makes them passionate advocates? I recently spoke with another trial attorney who does not generally handle divorce work. He usually handles criminal and traffic defense and civil suits for money damages; he told me that he was forced by the poor economy to take a contested divorce case. Divorce and family law are not his first choice of trial work. He is doing it now solely for the money. Is that the motivation you would want in your attorney? Or would you rather have a lawyer who has made a conscious decision to focus on family law and uses his/her life experience such as knowing what it is like to be a child of divorce to relate to the circumstances of your case and to advocate for you with passion and conviction?

Picking a Divorce Lawyer in New York

Picking a divorce lawyer in New York is a critical decision-making process. The person who you hire will be accountable for acquiring or keeping your custody rights to your children, your property interests, and relying on the side you are one, either reducing or optimizing your support rights.

In truth, selecting a divorce lawyer in New York is also an incredibly stressful experience. Do it best and you can breath simple. Do it wrong and you will invest years making up for losses that might have been avoided.

There are a couple of attempted and true strategies that you ought to be using when you choose a divorce attorney. Or, will your case be one of those cases that go to court and becomes a knockdown, drag-out divorce lawsuits?

Child Support Enforcement

There are divorce attorneys in New York who specialize in these various kinds of cases and you need to work with the kind of divorce lawyer who is the finest fit to the type of case that you have. If you need to handle a knockdown, drag-out lawsuits, you do not desire a mediation attorney trying to secure your interests. If you are going through mediation, the last thing you desire is a divorce lawyer who will try to develop problems and move you towards lawsuits.

Step one in the process of picking a divorce lawyer is to identify the type of case that you have. Ask about their procedure, how they selected a divorce lawyer, and how their lawyer performed for them.

After you have actually gotten the names of a number of divorce attorneys that you got from asking other people, browse the web and start looking into those others and lawyers. Lots of divorce lawyers have sites, compose posts, and advertise on divorce portal websites. You can get a fair bit of info about how a lawyer approaches cases and deals with customers by examining their site.

After you have actually examined the divorce lawyer sites, make a list of a minimum of 2 and as many as 5 divorce attorneys in New York who you believe you will be comfortable speaking to. Call the offices of those divorce attorneys and schedule consultations. Some of those lawyers will charge you for an assessment; the more experience the lawyer has, the most likely that you will need to pay for time with that lawyer.

When you go to an assessment with a divorce attorney, be prepared. Bring one or 2 years tax returns or a recent financial statement so that the divorce attorney can examine some of your financial data before being asked concerns about “results”.

Annulment

Make sure you ask each divorce lawyer concerns about how that lawyer’s office operates in reaction to customer phone calls, e-mails, or other questions or needs. If you will be working with a divorce attorney who has no other attorney in their workplace, be prepared to wait in line when you have a requirement for action.

After you have finished all of the consultations and reviewed the answers to all of your questions, choose which divorce attorney you felt most comfortable with and which one you think will deal with you to get the type of results that you desire.

There are divorce attorneys in New York who specialize in these different types of cases and you need to hire the type of divorce attorney who is finest matched to the type of case that you have. Ask about their process, how they chose a divorce lawyer, and how their attorney carried out for them.

After you have actually reviewed the divorce attorney sites, make a list of at least two and as lots of as five divorce attorneys who you believe you will be comfortable speaking with. Some of those attorneys will charge you for an assessment; the more experience the lawyer has, the more most likely that you will have to pay for time with that lawyer.

Make sure you ask each New York divorce lawyer concerns about how that attorney’s office operates in reaction to customer phone calls, emails, or other questions or needs.

Child Support Enforcement

When you are faced with the fact that you are getting a divorce it can be a very confusing time. Many do not realize what the first step is to getting a divorce. Sometimes it is a mutual thing between two people and other times it is a very sad and messy divorce that someone cannot believe is happening to them. Either way you have to get a divorce lawyer to get you through this time.

It is important to get a divorce lawyer when going through a divorce because you have to be fair. You need to make sure that you are getting what is yours and not missing out on something that you should have received. It is important to get someone to help you through all the legal matters because this is going to be one of the most confusing parts to getting divorced and having a professional there to help you is very crucial.

There are many things that you have to get ready for when it comes to a divorce. A divorce lawyer is going to know what to do and how to get you through it. You will be ale to feel better knowing that you have someone on your side there working for you. However the one thing that you have to realize is that you do have to pay for a divorce lawyer. Sometimes you can work it out and it is not that bad, but other times it can be a very expensive ordeal to have someone good represent you and help you get what you deserve.

There are different ways to go about getting a divorce lawyer. You can look through the phone book and call around to the different lawyers. You want to get references so that you are sure that you are getting someone that you can trust and feel good about. You will also want to make sure that you are asking about the payment method so that you are not confused or surprised with the amount when the divorce is final. You need to make sure that you feel comfortable with the lawyer that you get. You need to trust them and know that you are in good hands for this divorce.

Many times you can get a referral from a family member or friend. This is good way to pick a lawyer. If you already know that they have helped someone else you will feel better knowing what to expect with them. However every divorce proceeding is different. You have to be prepared for the good and the bad to come. It is always better however when you have someone there working for you and helping you get through this most difficult time. You need to get what is rightfully yours and the best thing to do is get a divorce lawyer that will work hard for you.


__________________________________________

Picking a Divorce Lawyer in New York

Picking a divorce lawyer in New York is a critical decision-making process. The person who you hire will be accountable for acquiring or keeping your custody rights to your children, your property interests, and relying on the side you are one, either reducing or optimizing your support rights.

In truth, selecting a divorce lawyer in New York is also an incredibly stressful experience. Do it best and you can breath simple. Do it wrong and you will invest years making up for losses that might have been avoided.

There are a couple of attempted and true strategies that you ought to be using when you choose a divorce attorney. Or, will your case be one of those cases that go to court and becomes a knockdown, drag-out divorce lawsuits?

Family Law

There are divorce attorneys in New York who specialize in these various kinds of cases and you need to work with the kind of divorce lawyer who is the finest fit to the type of case that you have. If you need to handle a knockdown, drag-out lawsuits, you do not desire a mediation attorney trying to secure your interests. If you are going through mediation, the last thing you desire is a divorce lawyer who will try to develop problems and move you towards lawsuits.

Step one in the process of picking a divorce lawyer is to identify the type of case that you have. Ask about their procedure, how they selected a divorce lawyer, and how their lawyer performed for them.

After you have actually gotten the names of a number of divorce attorneys that you got from asking other people, browse the web and start looking into those others and lawyers. Lots of divorce lawyers have sites, compose posts, and advertise on divorce portal websites. You can get a fair bit of info about how a lawyer approaches cases and deals with customers by examining their site.

After you have actually examined the divorce lawyer sites, make a list of a minimum of 2 and as many as 5 divorce attorneys in New York who you believe you will be comfortable speaking to. Call the offices of those divorce attorneys and schedule consultations. Some of those lawyers will charge you for an assessment; the more experience the lawyer has, the most likely that you will need to pay for time with that lawyer.

When you go to an assessment with a divorce attorney, be prepared. Bring one or 2 years tax returns or a recent financial statement so that the divorce attorney can examine some of your financial data before being asked concerns about “results”.

Divorce Papers

Make sure you ask each divorce lawyer concerns about how that lawyer’s office operates in reaction to customer phone calls, e-mails, or other questions or needs. If you will be working with a divorce attorney who has no other attorney in their workplace, be prepared to wait in line when you have a requirement for action.

After you have finished all of the consultations and reviewed the answers to all of your questions, choose which divorce attorney you felt most comfortable with and which one you think will deal with you to get the type of results that you desire.

There are divorce attorneys in New York who specialize in these different types of cases and you need to hire the type of divorce attorney who is finest matched to the type of case that you have. Ask about their process, how they chose a divorce lawyer, and how their attorney carried out for them.

After you have actually reviewed the divorce attorney sites, make a list of at least two and as lots of as five divorce attorneys who you believe you will be comfortable speaking with. Some of those attorneys will charge you for an assessment; the more experience the lawyer has, the more most likely that you will have to pay for time with that lawyer.

Make sure you ask each New York divorce lawyer concerns about how that attorney’s office operates in reaction to customer phone calls, emails, or other questions or needs.

Divorce Lawyers

I recently overheard someone in a bookstore telling a group of people why they should not have their own attorneys, how they could not trust lawyers, how lawyers would cheat them and how they should rely upon the company the speaker belonged to instead. That conversation got me thinking about why people facing separation and divorce need not just any lawyer, but a good divorce lawyer.

Reason #1-What You need to know

You need to know your rights, duties and responsibilities under the law. Only a lawyer who has been retained to represent your interests can advise you. How can you realistically discuss financial arrangements in separating and divorcing, if you don't know what your rights, duties and responsibilities are? Not knowing what your rights are can result in not getting your fair share of assets, your fair share of support or your fair share of time with your children. Not knowing what your duties and responsibilities are can result in your paying more than your fair share of assets or your fair share of support. Most attorneys offer a special reduced rate for consulting services to encourage people to get advice early and often. There is no reason to rely on backyard fence advice, when you can get real advice from a qualified experienced divorce lawyer for a reasonable fee. Furthermore, in my experience, the backyard fence advice is usually wrong. Remember that if what you hear is half true, it is still wrong.

Reason #2-Backyard Advice

My friend is divorced. Why can't I rely on my friend's experience and knowledge. Well, you could do that but what you need to realize is that unless your friend is a licensed attorney, he/she is not authorized to practice law. Your friend's knowledge will be limited to his/her particular experience. His/her experience with the law is limited to the facts of his/her case and the law as it was at the time. Things change. The law changes. Any change in the facts will change the outcome or advice. Furthermore, changes in the law will change the advice. Your friend simply lacks the knowledge and experience to give sound practical legal advice.

Reason #3-Identifying Issues

The sooner you get a lawyer, the sooner you will learn what you need to know to protect yourself (and your children and property interests). Sometimes people have no idea how to go about identifying the issues they need to discuss, even if the separation is an amicable one and the parties anticipate a "friendly divorce." A good, experienced divorce lawyer can assist you in identifying the issues you need to discuss with your spouse to achieve a comprehensive agreement and global settlement. Over the years there have been numerous times when we were able to point out to clients areas they had initially overlooked and issues which should be included in their settlement discussions, such as life insurance, health insurance, and children's educational needs.

Reason #4-To Share or Not to Share?

My spouse already has an attorney. Do I really need to get one too? Can't the same lawyer represent us both? The answer is no, not really. 30 years ago when I first began practicing law, it was strictly forbidden for a lawyer to represent both sides to a divorce, no matter how "friendly" it was. There are some limited circumstances in which dual representation might be allowed, provided there is full disclosure of potential conflicts of interest and a waiver of conflicts with informed consent by both parties. These situations are limited and in the event that unhappy differences or disputes should arise, the attorney must end the representation and both parties must seek new counsel. Frankly, we rarely if ever agree to dual representation. We represent our clients zealously within the bounds of the law and the conflicts in representing opposing sides are too apparent for us to agree to do so. Not only that, but if your spouse has a lawyer, that means that he/she has already sought legal advice and has some rudimentary knowledge of his/her rights, duties and responsibilities under the law.

Someone once said knowledge is power. Would you rather be the one with the knowledge (and the power) or the one without knowledge? How trusting can you be of your spouse or his/her attorney in the circumstances? Remember that your spouse's attorney already represents your spouse. In our experience, spouses, especially those who tend to be controlling will think nothing of misrepresenting the law to gain advantage in the negotiation. Recently a client told me that her husband who remains in the marital home told her that she was now his "landlord" and therefore she could not re-enter the home without his consent and presence and that his lawyer said so. Needless to say, everything he told her was wrong. Her husband also told our client that they did not need to use lawyers and could reach an agreement on their own without lawyers. He also said that if she insisted on having her attorney review paperwork before she signed it that he would find something to disagree with on each draft to drive up her costs. Clearly he was trying to manipulate, intimidate and control his wife, who was wise to seek her own independent counsel from a knowledgeable, experienced divorce attorney.

Reason #5-Do You Feel Lucky?

Going to a court hearing in a pending divorce without a lawyer is like playing Russian Roulette. How lucky do you think you are? Would you perform surgery on yourself or would you seek out a qualified surgeon? Why do you think that you know enough to represent yourself in court? Do you know what your rights, duties and responsibilities are? The judge won't help you out if you don't know what you are doing. There are rules of evidence and rules of procedure that govern hearings. You need someone on your team that knows the rules of the game. You will need someone to prepare you for your testimony in court so that you don't put your feet in your mouth up to your hip bone. You will be bound by the things that come out of your mouth in court. Recently we spoke to a man who incurred spousal and child support obligations of $4000 per month. The court issued an order based on erroneous exhibits filed by his wife's attorney and based upon things he said in open court as to his income which were not accurate. A skilled trial attorney can get you to say things that you don't mean to say, especially if you have not been prepared for your testimony.

Reason #6-Too Little, Too Late

Going to see a lawyer after you have already signed papers or participated in depositions or hearings pro se (representing yourself) is like closing the barn door, after the cow got out. Just because you were not represented does not mean that you can get out of a bad decision or bad deal you may have made or get out of rulings the court made when you were unrepresented. The time to get advice is before you sign. The time to get advice is before you go to court. In fact, you should get advice as soon as you receive legal notice of a pending lawsuit against you.

If you are reading this and you have already signed papers, you should still consult with a good experienced divorce attorney to have the papers explained to you and to review t he papers to see if there are any loopholes that may be used to renegotiate terms move favorably to you or to insist upon "clarification" of the agreement. The attorney can also explain the consequences of having signed the paperwork.

If you are reading this and you are in the midst of a divorce action and have been to depositions on your own, you should seek an immediate consultation with a good experienced divorce attorney to see if there is any legal basis to suppress the depositions. Be sure to take all of your documents with you to the consultation. We have seen situations where it was possible to reopen a case for a client because the depositions were taken too early. In such situations, the depositions were quashed by filing the appropriate papers under the rules of court. In your case it may be too late to do anything, but you should at least talk to a divorce attorney right away to be sure.

Reason #7-Isn't a Lawyer a Lawyer? (A Rose by Any Other Name...)

I know a lawyer who did the closing on our house. Can't I go to him/her for advice about separation and divorce? Yes, you could but there is a saying that if the blind lead the blind, they both fall in a ditch. Would you go to a podiatrist (foot doctor) if you had an eye infection? You could; after all, the podiatrist went to medical school and learned about the body, including the eyes. The questions are how much, if anything does he/she remember, is he/she current on the medical literature pertaining to the eye and infection, including the diagnosis and treatment of the eye? I have seen horrendous separation agreements prepared by lawyers who do not devote at least a significant portion of their practice to family law but were trying to accommodate a friend or relation in their time of need. Actually a lawyer should decline a case, if he/she does not believe that he/she has the knowledge and experience to handle it or that he/she is not willing to acquire the knowledge necessary to handle it.

It takes a significant amount of time to keep up with all of the changes in the law that affect separation and divorce. Think about it. Every week somewhere there is a court, either federal or state making a decision that could affect your situation. Every week that the legislature is in session, whether Congress or the General Assembly, they make decisions that could affect your situation. An experienced divorce attorney should make it a point to review new cases and statutes looking for those that affect family law practice; all of the best family lawyers do.

Reason #8-Prepaid Legal?

If you have paid for this service, then certainly you can talk to one of the participating attorneys. But unless the attorney is an experienced divorce lawyer with a significant portion of his/her practice devoted to separation and divorce and related issues, you should give serious consideration to looking outside of your prepaid plan. Has the lawyer written any books or articles on separation, divorce or related issues that are published? I am not a participating attorney in a pre paid legal plan. The best divorce lawyers are not participants in "prepaid" legal. To my knowledge there are no fellows (members) of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers who participate in pre paid legal services plans. If you are reading this report and have personal knowledge of an attorney who belongs to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and also belongs to a pre paid legal plan, please email us at valawtalk@justice.com to report the name of the attorney so that we can verify the information and update this report.

Think about what is at stake; the custody and support of your children, and the division of assets you may have worked your entire married life to accumulate, including your home, pension, savings, military retirement and/or 401K. Do you really want to cut corners when it comes to your kids? Your home? Your pension? Your retirement?

Reason #9-A Ship Needs a Navigator

If you think of your legal case as a ship, the client is the captain of the ship and the client's attorney is the navigator. The navigator doesn't decide where to go, but he/she does map out the best course to arrive at the destination. Divorce is difficult, even "friendly" divorce is not easy. It can be an emotional rollercoaster. You need emotional, psychological and legal support. In choosing to separate and divorce, you will be faced with important decisions that will affect you, your spouse and your children not only now but in the foreseeable future. Passions can run hot during this difficult time and you need a clear head. You need a team of individuals including someone knowledgeable in separation and divorce law to help you see clearly and navigate the difficult and sometimes angry waters of separation and divorce.

Not having a good divorce lawyer at the planning and separation stage leaves you without the sound advice and rational third party perspective you need to make decisions which can bind you for life. Not having a good divorce lawyer at the divorce stage leaves you without the knowledge, experience and advocacy of a good experienced divorce attorney. It leaves you at the mercy of your spouse and your spouse's attorney. Neither your spouse nor his/her attorney is there to show you mercy. You need someone to fight for you when you cannot fight for yourself. You need someone to help you understand what is gong on and how to act in the storm.

You need someone who can help you to be pro-active and not simply re-active to steps that your spouse takes. You want a team to support you, a team which can and should include your pastor, rabbi or spiritual advisor, your CPA or tax advisor, extended family, friends and a good experienced divorce attorney.

Reason #10-You Need an Advocate

You are going through a traumatic experience. Divorce is one of the most difficult experiences in life, second only to the death of a spouse. You need someone who understands what is at stake and will advocate for your interests with not only knowledge and experience but passion and feeling. When you interview attorneys, find out why they practice family law and what motivates them in advocating for clients. What is it that makes them passionate advocates? I recently spoke with another trial attorney who does not generally handle divorce work. He usually handles criminal and traffic defense and civil suits for money damages; he told me that he was forced by the poor economy to take a contested divorce case. Divorce and family law are not his first choice of trial work. He is doing it now solely for the money. Is that the motivation you would want in your attorney? Or would you rather have a lawyer who has made a conscious decsion to focus on family law and uses his/her life experience such as knowing what it is like to be a child of divorce to relate to the circumstances of your case and to advocate for you with passion and conviction?


__________________________________________

Why Did They Die so Quickly?

in New York it was my brother, Brian, the kid who never met a stranger. Brian was much like Daddy because he constantly tried to make everyone laugh. Everybody liked Brian. We matured poor, however Brian always had people buying him things since they liked him. He was just that sort of person. However, similar to Daddy, Brian’s flaw was that he was an alcoholic. Brian was incarcerated for not paying on his fines for DUI and also ownership of marijuana. He had actually been trying to get his life together. He was enrolled in a program at a technical college where he was taking car body repair. He stated he felt various there at school– that he really applied himself which others didn’t even act like they cared. He lastly had hope. But one journey back with his old friends in his old home town sufficed to get him back into one of his old patterns and he chose to get some marijuana. He was come by the authorities and discovered to be in ownership. The day he went before the judge was an unusual day– an almost mystical day. I existed with a letter from one of the directors of the school specifying that he was enrolled in the program. But this was insufficient for the Judge. When Brian’s lawyer asked if they were sure that it was cannabis, the Judge stated he didn’t understand lots of people who would carry around a little bag of turnip greens. The New York Judge wanted him to stay in the same town and not be permitted to go back to his out-of-state school. He said he thought the exact same thing may happen there. He wanted him to be with my mother at her home. The problem was that my mother had two children with my step-father and the problem would have been heavy on her. So, when they asked her if he could be released to her, she hesitated. She said, “well, oh, well my partner, uh–” I didn’t hear anything else. So, Brian remained in prison. It was a weird day, a very strange day. This one day, in my opinion, was the turning point of his life– he began dieing that day. You simply never ever know. When I went to visit him there at the prison and bring him a few things, I asked him if they ever got ice cream. He said, are you crazy– they ‘d kill for ice cream here. Anyway, after a couple of weeks, Brian was released and was on his way to live with me once again when he was struck by a train. They stated he was intoxicated. I remember my sibling and brothers and I going downtown to get clothing for him to use. We wanted him to have jeans, due to the fact that he always wore jeans and after that he needed to have underclothing. Why did he have to have them? There was a huge conversation over this, so we lastly decided that he was going to have underclothing. The person who was assisting us said that they came 3 to a bundle; somebody said what are we going to finish with the other 2 sets? The assistant there at the shop, seeing the situation stated that he might get shorts. But, we stated he never ever wore boxers. She said, ok– I’ll just take one pair out of the bundle. We were half there and half elsewhere. An open-casket was more than I could take. I keep in mind believing to myself– where were all these people when he lived. One female stated, “does not he look good?” I remember stating to her “the only way he would look great would be if he were alive.” My mother really enjoyed Brian due to the fact that he was the only one who might make her laugh. She hasn’t actually laughed much given that he died. That was about 20 years earlier.

Family Court

Then there was Mike. Mike was a sweet, gentle male who never ever harmed any person purposefully– other than himself. When he was just 10, he had an accident which damaged his voice box; he was driving a gocart and encountered a chain length fence. He pushed the gas rather of the brakes. But, still he didn’t let that keep him from utilizing his voice as a way to make his living. With his graveldy voice, he worked at McDonalds in New York and took orders thru the drive in. Lots of people asked him if he had a cold. Then later on he worked for a significant electronics company where he worked in customer care. His last significant goal was to get his RN degree; but despite the fact that he graduated with a 4.0 average, he never got to use it. Simply a few days after graduation, he was detected with full blown HELP. He might most likely have lived longer if he had actually taken his anti retro viral drugs, however he stated they made him ill, so he flushed them down the toilet. AIDS did not take him rapidly. He suffered, so when he passed away at the healthcare facility, I knew in my heart he would be better off with the Lord. He did try for a while. Mike never harmed any person other than himself, so why did he leave this earth early? Mike joked about having HELP which Oprah should have him and Carlos on her show because he felt it was most likely unusual for two siblings to have AIDS.

Mike and Carlos both had actually gone to Los Angeles where they felt they were more accepted and able to live and not be judged due to the fact that of their sexual orientation. Carlos was the greatest and was a fighter. Carlos could really get angry. He was more of an in your face person. But when it came to AIDS, he was really featured as one of the persons with full-blown AIDS who had actually lived the longest. This was many years back when everybody who got AIDS was expected to die from complications related to AIDS. He said all of his buddies were gone, including his partner whom he enjoyed. But he combated and kept a positive mindset. He told me that at one time his T-cells were so few that he had them named.

Divorce Mediation

So, why am I telling you about this? Why am I launching agonizing information to you? It is not to make you unfortunate. If you have actually read this entire short article, you are certainly an unusual individual who is not scared to explore the truth. Most people in New York would have stopped when after reading about Brian. It is my opinion that the majority of people do not wish to face the truth when it comes to death and HELP. That is why people do not speak about it or why a cure has actually not been found.

 

I remember how individuals’ remarks hurt me so. My pastor at church mentioned in one of his preachings that “in the start, God created Adam and Eve; not Adam and Steve.” I increased after the service and informed him how this made me feel. After that, I left my church. My siblings had a relationship with God; none people are perfect. We are informed not to judge. However, individuals typically put down and slam something they hesitate of or don’t understand. We need to all aim to understand each other. We need to all love one another. We must all know that HELP or alcoholism or any kind of illness can happen to any of us or a person we like.

 

Separation Legal representative - Just How to Select One

Separation

The common view, often a misperception, is that men have the short end of the stick when it comes to their rights in divorce cases. The truth is that all cases are different, and there's no easy way to generalize who's going to get what, so to speak. The best action you can take then is protecting yourself in every way possible, and that's by hiring an experienced divorce lawyer for men who can guide you through the process.

So how can a divorce attorney for men help in ways that others may not be able to? First, it's important to clarify we're solely referring to individuals or firms who have a depth of experience and expertise in this, there's no extra classification of attorney you need to find. But with that out of the way, these experienced attorneys will know what to expect, what you should and should not be doing before, during, and after a case, and what kinds of next steps you should be expecting. They are your advocates from start to finish.

In many instances, men go in one of two polar opposite directions in terms of their approach to a divorce. Some may shut down or give up, and just acquiesce to all of the demands of the other party. This certainly isn't recommended, as the main thing you're giving up is your own rights. Be they financial rights, rights to property such as your home, your rights as a parent, and so forth, you need to protect what's in your own personal best interests.

Then another big chunk of men go in the opposite direction. They're going to fight and scratch and claw about every little issue, down to the tiniest of details. All this does is exhaust yourself, fire up the other party, and make things all the more messy and difficult.

An experienced divorce attorney for men will ensure you walk the line between these two extremes. You shouldn't surrender any rights, but you shouldn't fret inconsequential matters. Your attorney will ensure you pick your battles, and pick the right ones specifically, and that you're well-positioned to receive a positive outcome on those ones you are fighting for.

A divorce case is a lot for any person to deal with, male or female. But it's particularly the case for men when they aren't sure if there's any hope, and they think the cards are stacked against them. Be sure to hire a reputable attorney who's licensed in your state, and one who has the requisite experience handling matters like yours in order to try to receive the best possible result.


__________________________________________

Why Did They Die so Quickly?

in New York it was my brother, Brian, the kid who never met a stranger. Brian was much like Daddy because he constantly tried to make everyone laugh. Everybody liked Brian. We matured poor, however Brian always had people buying him things since they liked him. He was just that sort of person. However, similar to Daddy, Brian’s flaw was that he was an alcoholic. Brian was incarcerated for not paying on his fines for DUI and also ownership of marijuana. He had actually been trying to get his life together. He was enrolled in a program at a technical college where he was taking car body repair. He stated he felt various there at school– that he really applied himself which others didn’t even act like they cared. He lastly had hope. But one journey back with his old friends in his old home town sufficed to get him back into one of his old patterns and he chose to get some marijuana. He was come by the authorities and discovered to be in ownership. The day he went before the judge was an unusual day– an almost mystical day. I existed with a letter from one of the directors of the school specifying that he was enrolled in the program. But this was insufficient for the Judge. When Brian’s lawyer asked if they were sure that it was cannabis, the Judge stated he didn’t understand lots of people who would carry around a little bag of turnip greens. The New York Judge wanted him to stay in the same town and not be permitted to go back to his out-of-state school. He said he thought the exact same thing may happen there. He wanted him to be with my mother at her home. The problem was that my mother had two children with my step-father and the problem would have been heavy on her. So, when they asked her if he could be released to her, she hesitated. She said, “well, oh, well my partner, uh–” I didn’t hear anything else. So, Brian remained in prison. It was a weird day, a very strange day. This one day, in my opinion, was the turning point of his life– he began dieing that day. You simply never ever know. When I went to visit him there at the prison and bring him a few things, I asked him if they ever got ice cream. He said, are you crazy– they ‘d kill for ice cream here. Anyway, after a couple of weeks, Brian was released and was on his way to live with me once again when he was struck by a train. They stated he was intoxicated. I remember my sibling and brothers and I going downtown to get clothing for him to use. We wanted him to have jeans, due to the fact that he always wore jeans and after that he needed to have underclothing. Why did he have to have them? There was a huge conversation over this, so we lastly decided that he was going to have underclothing. The person who was assisting us said that they came 3 to a bundle; somebody said what are we going to finish with the other 2 sets? The assistant there at the shop, seeing the situation stated that he might get shorts. But, we stated he never ever wore boxers. She said, ok– I’ll just take one pair out of the bundle. We were half there and half elsewhere. An open-casket was more than I could take. I keep in mind believing to myself– where were all these people when he lived. One female stated, “does not he look good?” I remember stating to her “the only way he would look great would be if he were alive.” My mother really enjoyed Brian due to the fact that he was the only one who might make her laugh. She hasn’t actually laughed much given that he died. That was about 20 years earlier.

Family Law

Then there was Mike. Mike was a sweet, gentle male who never ever harmed any person purposefully– other than himself. When he was just 10, he had an accident which damaged his voice box; he was driving a gocart and encountered a chain length fence. He pushed the gas rather of the brakes. But, still he didn’t let that keep him from utilizing his voice as a way to make his living. With his graveldy voice, he worked at McDonalds in New York and took orders thru the drive in. Lots of people asked him if he had a cold. Then later on he worked for a significant electronics company where he worked in customer care. His last significant goal was to get his RN degree; but despite the fact that he graduated with a 4.0 average, he never got to use it. Simply a few days after graduation, he was detected with full blown HELP. He might most likely have lived longer if he had actually taken his anti retro viral drugs, however he stated they made him ill, so he flushed them down the toilet. AIDS did not take him rapidly. He suffered, so when he passed away at the healthcare facility, I knew in my heart he would be better off with the Lord. He did try for a while. Mike never harmed any person other than himself, so why did he leave this earth early? Mike joked about having HELP which Oprah should have him and Carlos on her show because he felt it was most likely unusual for two siblings to have AIDS.

Mike and Carlos both had actually gone to Los Angeles where they felt they were more accepted and able to live and not be judged due to the fact that of their sexual orientation. Carlos was the greatest and was a fighter. Carlos could really get angry. He was more of an in your face person. But when it came to AIDS, he was really featured as one of the persons with full-blown AIDS who had actually lived the longest. This was many years back when everybody who got AIDS was expected to die from complications related to AIDS. He said all of his buddies were gone, including his partner whom he enjoyed. But he combated and kept a positive mindset. He told me that at one time his T-cells were so few that he had them named.

Annulment

So, why am I telling you about this? Why am I launching agonizing information to you? It is not to make you unfortunate. If you have actually read this entire short article, you are certainly an unusual individual who is not scared to explore the truth. Most people in New York would have stopped when after reading about Brian. It is my opinion that the majority of people do not wish to face the truth when it comes to death and HELP. That is why people do not speak about it or why a cure has actually not been found.

I remember how individuals’ remarks hurt me so. My pastor at church mentioned in one of his preachings that “in the start, God created Adam and Eve; not Adam and Steve.” I increased after the service and informed him how this made me feel. After that, I left my church. My siblings had a relationship with God; none people are perfect. We are informed not to judge. However, individuals typically put down and slam something they hesitate of or don’t understand. We need to all aim to understand each other. We need to all love one another. We must all know that HELP or alcoholism or any kind of illness can happen to any of us or a person we like.

2 Connection Killers

Divorce Rate

Consider a primary relationship in your life where you like somebody and they love you. This could be an intimate collaboration, a child-parent relationship or a really close friendship. Here are the two things to prevent, if you wish to make sure love is present at all times.

Relationship killer #1:

Firstly, you should never expect that because someone loves you, they need to sacrifice themselves for you and put your needs first. We often mistakenly think that the degree to which someone suffers is a testimony for the amount of love they have for us. Likewise, we mistakenly believe that if someone puts their needs first, they don't love us. But that is not true at all. If I refuse to sacrifice myself for you, it doesn't mean I don't love you. It simply means I am clear on what works for me and what doesn't, and I don't mess with my own needs. Please don't take this personal. I love you nonetheless, but I certainly don't have to suffer in order to prove my love for you. Besides, if you doubt it, chances are no matter how much I suffer, you will never believe me anyway. Get this: your partner having fun while you are in hardship doesn't mean they don't love you. The people who love you don't owe you any suffering on their part whenever things are not working out for you. So don't be jealous when your loved one is out with friends while you are working hard or cooking alone at home. No one needs to put their own life on hold only because yours is (even when they truly love you!). Of course, you can ask for support. That's perfectly reasonable. But asking someone to sacrifice themselves and to suffer so you can feel loved - that is totally unreasonable. And it is a sure relationship killer.

Relationship killer #2:

The other way to kill a relationship is by trying to prove your love for someone by sacrificing your own needs and suffering as a consequence. See, whenever you suffer, there is no real love to speak of. If you were doing something for someone because you wanted to and because you loved them unconditionally, you wouldn't be suffering. But if you sacrifice yourself out of obligation and/or guilt, the unconditional love is gone and you are likely to expect something in return. In other words, you try to manipulate someone into loving you back by doing things for them which they then have to repay you for. Sadly enough, you are playing a game thinking you can control someone else's feelings and buy their love. Of course, the result is just the opposite - you are slowly but surely killing the relationship. So stop that immediately by starting to put yourself and your needs first. Find your own truth and start honoring it. Understand that you are allowed to have a good time without feeling guilty when your partner does not want to or cannot participate. Of course, you can support them when they are feeling low. But you don't have to suffer with them or else you will become resentful and kill the relationship as a result.

In conclusion:

 

  • Love should be free - no attachments, no suffering, no trading of favors, and no feelings of obligation and guilt.
  • Love should be independent - I love you and I put myself first; you love me and you put yourself first; we love each other and we honor our independent needs nonetheless.
  • Love should be by choice - I love you how I want to, not how I feel have to.

__________________________________________

Why Did They Die so Quickly?

in New York it was my brother, Brian, the kid who never met a stranger. Brian was much like Daddy because he constantly tried to make everyone laugh. Everybody liked Brian. We matured poor, however Brian always had people buying him things since they liked him. He was just that sort of person. However, similar to Daddy, Brian’s flaw was that he was an alcoholic. Brian was incarcerated for not paying on his fines for DUI and also ownership of marijuana. He had actually been trying to get his life together. He was enrolled in a program at a technical college where he was taking car body repair. He stated he felt various there at school– that he really applied himself which others didn’t even act like they cared. He lastly had hope. But one journey back with his old friends in his old home town sufficed to get him back into one of his old patterns and he chose to get some marijuana. He was come by the authorities and discovered to be in ownership. The day he went before the judge was an unusual day– an almost mystical day. I existed with a letter from one of the directors of the school specifying that he was enrolled in the program. But this was insufficient for the Judge. When Brian’s lawyer asked if they were sure that it was cannabis, the Judge stated he didn’t understand lots of people who would carry around a little bag of turnip greens. The New York Judge wanted him to stay in the same town and not be permitted to go back to his out-of-state school. He said he thought the exact same thing may happen there. He wanted him to be with my mother at her home. The problem was that my mother had two children with my step-father and the problem would have been heavy on her. So, when they asked her if he could be released to her, she hesitated. She said, “well, oh, well my partner, uh–” I didn’t hear anything else. So, Brian remained in prison. It was a weird day, a very strange day. This one day, in my opinion, was the turning point of his life– he began dieing that day. You simply never ever know. When I went to visit him there at the prison and bring him a few things, I asked him if they ever got ice cream. He said, are you crazy– they ‘d kill for ice cream here. Anyway, after a couple of weeks, Brian was released and was on his way to live with me once again when he was struck by a train. They stated he was intoxicated. I remember my sibling and brothers and I going downtown to get clothing for him to use. We wanted him to have jeans, due to the fact that he always wore jeans and after that he needed to have underclothing. Why did he have to have them? There was a huge conversation over this, so we lastly decided that he was going to have underclothing. The person who was assisting us said that they came 3 to a bundle; somebody said what are we going to finish with the other 2 sets? The assistant there at the shop, seeing the situation stated that he might get shorts. But, we stated he never ever wore boxers. She said, ok– I’ll just take one pair out of the bundle. We were half there and half elsewhere. An open-casket was more than I could take. I keep in mind believing to myself– where were all these people when he lived. One female stated, “does not he look good?” I remember stating to her “the only way he would look great would be if he were alive.” My mother really enjoyed Brian due to the fact that he was the only one who might make her laugh. She hasn’t actually laughed much given that he died. That was about 20 years earlier.

Divorce Mediation

Then there was Mike. Mike was a sweet, gentle male who never ever harmed any person purposefully– other than himself. When he was just 10, he had an accident which damaged his voice box; he was driving a gocart and encountered a chain length fence. He pushed the gas rather of the brakes. But, still he didn’t let that keep him from utilizing his voice as a way to make his living. With his graveldy voice, he worked at McDonalds in New York and took orders thru the drive in. Lots of people asked him if he had a cold. Then later on he worked for a significant electronics company where he worked in customer care. His last significant goal was to get his RN degree; but despite the fact that he graduated with a 4.0 average, he never got to use it. Simply a few days after graduation, he was detected with full blown HELP. He might most likely have lived longer if he had actually taken his anti retro viral drugs, however he stated they made him ill, so he flushed them down the toilet. AIDS did not take him rapidly. He suffered, so when he passed away at the healthcare facility, I knew in my heart he would be better off with the Lord. He did try for a while. Mike never harmed any person other than himself, so why did he leave this earth early? Mike joked about having HELP which Oprah should have him and Carlos on her show because he felt it was most likely unusual for two siblings to have AIDS.

Mike and Carlos both had actually gone to Los Angeles where they felt they were more accepted and able to live and not be judged due to the fact that of their sexual orientation. Carlos was the greatest and was a fighter. Carlos could really get angry. He was more of an in your face person. But when it came to AIDS, he was really featured as one of the persons with full-blown AIDS who had actually lived the longest. This was many years back when everybody who got AIDS was expected to die from complications related to AIDS. He said all of his buddies were gone, including his partner whom he enjoyed. But he combated and kept a positive mindset. He told me that at one time his T-cells were so few that he had them named.

Divorce Lawyers

So, why am I telling you about this? Why am I launching agonizing information to you? It is not to make you unfortunate. If you have actually read this entire short article, you are certainly an unusual individual who is not scared to explore the truth. Most people in New York would have stopped when after reading about Brian. It is my opinion that the majority of people do not wish to face the truth when it comes to death and HELP. That is why people do not speak about it or why a cure has actually not been found.

I remember how individuals’ remarks hurt me so. My pastor at church mentioned in one of his preachings that “in the start, God created Adam and Eve; not Adam and Steve.” I increased after the service and informed him how this made me feel. After that, I left my church. My siblings had a relationship with God; none people are perfect. We are informed not to judge. However, individuals typically put down and slam something they hesitate of or don’t understand. We need to all aim to understand each other. We need to all love one another. We must all know that HELP or alcoholism or any kind of illness can happen to any of us or a person we like.

Two Connection Awesomes

Family Court

With the changes in family law over the last 30 years, including the adoption of equitable distribution in place of the old common-law rules, the adoption of laws protecting military spouses, and the adoption of support guidelines and various local rules promulgated within the various circuits, the area of separation and divorce has become much too complicated and specialized for someone who does not regularly handle these types of cases. It distresses us when clients come to us with poorly drafted separation agreements, and/or decrees which other inexperienced attorneys have handled. Just as it is better to win at trial than to have a great appeal issue, it is much better to have the right attorney, one who will get it right the first time, than to have to pay someone to fix problems stemming from errors made in the first place. Sometimes the errors are very costly and cannot be fixed as shown in the series of articles I wrote for The Family Law News, a peer review publication of the Virginia State Bar, Section of Family Law, entitled "Costly Errors in Multi-State Military Divorce; Or a Military Wife's Tale of Woe," which are published in the Fall 2007 and Spring 2008 issues of the publication.

The series of articles outlines the legal authorities, strategy and procedural points we used to successfully defend a military retiree, who was a veteran of the Vietnam War. His ex-wife was attempting to obtain half of his military retired pay and spousal support here in Virginia, despite having divorced him six years earlier in Hawaii. While we are always happy to achieve a successful outcome for our clients, we felt sorry for the ex-wife, who had received poor legal advice from hr attorney in the original divorce action in Hawaii, advice that lead to poor decisions which the Virginia Court found to bind her permanently. In ruling for us in the case, the judge told the ex-wife that instead of suing her ex-husband, show should go after the attorney in Hawaii who represented her in the divorce.

So, how do you go about finding a good divorce lawyer? Here are a few suggestions:

Suggestion #1-Ask a Lawyer

If you know a lawyer, ask him/her for a referral to a good divorce lawyer. He or she will probably know someone or several someones who devote a significant portion of the practice of law to separation and divorce and related issues. For example, I have been handling separation and divorce for 30 years and have an excellent reputation among the local legal community. Any divorce attorney worth his/her salt should have established a reputation among other lawyers. Lawyers generally know who is good for a particular type of case; they certainly know who they would see, if they were facing separation and divorce.

Suggestion #2-Yellow Pages/Internet

While not a great source of information, the Yellow Pages and internet can be a beginning source of attorney names. Lawyers who do not mention separation, divorce, military divorce, and related areas like custody and support or property division, are not seeking cases in those areas and certainly don't devote a significant portion of the practice to those areas. Be leery of ads that include a laundry list of everything under the sun. Remember the old saying, "a jack of all trades and master of none"? Wouldn't you rather have someone who takes the time to focus at least a significant amount of time to family law, than someone who maybe devotes 3% of his/her practice to family law issues? Remember not everyone advertises in the Yellow Pages or haw a website or internet presence.. For example, there are more telephone listings than there are attorney ads in the Yellow Pages.

SUGGESTION # 3-VIRGINIA LAWYER REFERRAL SERVICE

The Virginia Lawyer Referral Service is operated by the Virginia State Bar. Lawyers must ask to get on the list and must agree to a fixed fee for an initial consultation. A lawyer can be listed under any category he/she asks for. The names are on a rotating list and given to consumers who contact the service. Again, not all attorneys are listed. We are not listed with the referral service. This resource can provide the name of an attorney who is seeking family law cases. This does not mean that the attorney is an expert in these types of cases or that he/she is experienced. All it means is that he or she is seeking divorce cases. Be sure to take the questions I talk about here to the attorney interview.

Suggestion #4-Talk to More Than One Attorney

In fact, interview several attorneys. Ask each attorney who else handles separation and divorce in the area. If they won't give you names, leave the office, when you see names showing up on various lists of recommendations, the odds are probably good that the attorney is doing these cases on a regular basis.

Suggestion #5 - Use a Checklist

I have outlined factors that you should consider when selecting a divorce lawyer.

A. Experience. The longer you have been practicing a particular area of the law, the more you know. There is an old adage that says a good lawyer knows the law and a great lawyer knows the judge! What is the difference between a good lawyer and a great lawyer? Experience.

B. Experience Trying Cases. Has he/she achieved any trial successes for his/her clients? Can the lawyer point to case results or client testimonial reflecting his/her abilities?

C. Are they willing to settle when appropriate to do so? Trial attorneys sometimes suffer from a hired gun mentality. They like the thrill of trying cases and may not consider other options, such as mediation or arbitration to achieve a resolution. Most good divorce attorneys do not adopt this approach, but see trial as a last resort, when other options have failed to precipitate a fair resolution of the issues. Unlike other areas of the law, family law often entails ongoing relationships and consequently requires a different perspective. I recently read an article by a personal injury attorney, who was writing on how to choose a personal injury lawyer. He said not to choose a lawyer who settles a lot of cases. When it comes to separation and divorce, I believe it is important to try to reach an agreement, if you can.

Going to court about family law unless you have to is like using a sledge hammer on a flea problem; you may kill a few fleas, but you wreak a lot of damage to the structure of the house, too. When individuals settle their own cases outside of court, they can be a lot more creative than the court would be in fashioning a remedy that is fair to both parties. Sometimes, agreement is just not possible. When that is the case, you want an experienced able divorce attorney who can advocate for your position in court and has a proven track record of success.

D. Respect in the legal community. What are other lawyers saying about this lawyer? Has the lawyer lectured or taught? Has he/she taught other lawyers?

E. Publications. Has he/she written anything that has been accepted for publication in legal journals? This is another sign of respect for the lawyer and for his/her skills and experience. Has he/she written or published anything designed to educate the public as to their rights duties and responsibilities under the law?

F. Affiliations and memberships. What professional affiliations does the attorney have? Is he/she a member of the Family Law Section of the Virginia State Bar Association? A member of the Virginia Trial Lawyers? A fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys?

G. Does the attorney limit the number of cases he/she undertakes? We don't take every case that calls in or walks through the door. We limit the number of cases that we undertake to handle at a given point in time so that we an focus on doing the best job for those clients.

H. Relationship issues.

1. How was the telephone answered when you called for an appointment?

2. How were you greeted when you entered the office? Were you offered refreshments?

3. Did the attorney and staff listen to you? Are you sure? Could you tell they were listening?

4. Were you interrupted during your time with the lawyer?

5. Does the attorney use written agreements setting out the parameters of the representation and the financial arrangements?

6. One of the most important aspects of choosing a lawyer is the relationship aspect: you need to be able to work effectively and comfortably with your lawyer. The relationship requires intimacy and trust. Do you feel comfortable with the attorney?

7. Were you introduced to staff?

8. How long does the attorney retain files on closed cases? What happens to the closed file? How is it disposed of? What steps does the attorney take to safeguard your confidential information?

I. Why does he/she practice divorce law? Friends and colleagues think I'm crazy to devote so much time to separation and divorce law. They may be right, I just may be a little crazy. But like the song says, "it just may be a lunatic you're looking for." When interviewing a potential divorce lawyer be sure to ask him/her why they choose to practice family law. Does the lawyer have a life experience that allows him/her to advocate for divorce clients with genuine passion? Is that passion something that is reflected in client testimonials?

J. Cost. Unlike personal injury practice, the best divorce lawyers do not offer "free" consultations. You will notice that cost is last on the list. In our experience, the best divorce lawyers are generally not the cheapest. In the long run, what is it worth to you to retain or acquire your fair share of the assets that have been accumulated over the course of your married life? What is it worth to you to insure that you retain your fair share of time with your children? Some things are worth fighting for and worth the price that you have to pay.

If your attorney does not devote a significant portion of his/her practice to family law issues, has never tried a contested divorce, has never tried a contested custody case or who has never tried an equitable distribution case, or drafted a qualified domestic relations order dividing a pension, or who has no experience in military divorce and has never drafted a military retired pay order, you may want to choose another lawyer for your separation and divorce.


__________________________________________