The task of finding the right lawyer to handle one's divorce is a very challenging task. Most individuals know very little about the myriad of laws which govern their family relationships and even less about how to go about finding the right lawyer to assist them. The average family law litigant simply goes through the yellow pages or gets a refferal from a friend or family member. Few family law clients think enought of conducting any research on the lawyer's approach and success rate. The unfortunate result is that all too often family law clients end up in long, drawn-out and costly litigation with their assets substantially depleted along the way and all too often they end up representing themselves and being grossly disatisfied with the experience. However, this unfortunate experience could be easily avoided.
Know your goals:
There is a myth that divorce and other family law disputes must be formally litigated. Many family law litigants are quickly coming to understand that litigation is very costly and far from an effective dispute resolution method. Accordingly, the first and perhaps most important thing that an individual seeking to go through a divorce or other family law issue ought to do is sit down and figure out what their goals and objectives are. They can do this alone or they can do this with their spouse. Ideally, it is best to do so with the other spouse. This simple step can save one tens and often hundreads of thousands of dollars and the avoidance of needless stress and aggravation. The client who has no awareness of their goals and objectives is more likely to end up in a long drawn out court battle when that likely could have been avoided if they took the time to identify their goals and develop a plan.
Research lawyers before
committing to one:
Like almost every other endeavour in life lawyering styles vary. Some lawyers are skilled in litigation. Some are not as skilled in litigation but may be skilled in dispute resolution and negotiation. These are very different skill sets. Hence, if what you are seeking is a collaborative approch to resolving your family law dispute it would make sense to seek out a lawyer who is skilled in this approach and has a reputation for a collaborative approach rather than a litigious one. Do not be afraid to inform the lawyer of what you wish to accomplish, how you wish to accomplish it and inquire about their experience with a non-litigous and collaborative approach.
Consider the costs
financial and health wise:
More often than not family law litigants are ill-prepared for the staggering costs associated with their legal proceedings. One of the reasons for this is rooted in their failure to first ascertain their goals and then take some time to seek out the proper lawyer for their case. The norm is for each spouse to simply retain a lawyer and litigation is commenced. In many cases the actual cost of the litigation is deferred until family law assets are dealt with. The cost differntial between a negotiated resolution and a litigation resolution is staggering. It may be that what one really needs is a consent divorce and separation agreement rather than a muli-year, stress-filled and unpredictable court battle. That is a decision that the client should make at the outset.