If you’re going through a divorce, you’ve likely done a lot of research on attorneys and law firms. Given the time and cost associated with a divorce, you want to make sure you make the right investment for you and your future. Since divorce can be such a messy and complicated process, it’s also important that you have the legal advice that’s right for you. Although many people put a lot of thought into making sure they get a good attorney, they don’t always put as much effort into making sure that they’re a good client. Being a good client is important because it can help ensure that you and your attorney work through the divorce process in a more effective and efficient manner.
In order to get the best and accurate advice from your attorney, you need to be totally honest with them. Though most people don’t tell their attorneys blatant lies, it isn’t uncommon for people to intentionally omit information they’re ashamed of or embarrassed about. For example, maybe one parent omitted the fact that they lost their temper and spanked one of the children. If your attorney doesn’t know about this incident, they may not be able to provide you with the appropriate advice. It’s also embarrassing for both the client and attorney when new facts come to light in front of a judge when the client failed to disclose those facts to their attorney. Legal arguments and advice are factual based. So failing to provide all of the facts leaves holes in a map preventing the attorney from plotting a clear and appropriate course of action.
Get a Therapist
Going through a divorce takes a significant toll on all parties involved. There is a broad range of emotions that every client goes through. Having a therapist is a good way to prevent using your attorney as a therapist. Though your family law attorney likely knows a lot about marriage due to their job, your attorney isn’t an acceptable substitute for a qualified mental health professional. Meeting with someone who has the necessary qualifications and experience to help you through this difficult time will help you keep the conversations in your attorney’s office to legal topics only. Furthermore, your attorney likely charges far more per hour than a therapist would charge and doesn’t take insurance. If you find yourself tempted to use your attorney as a therapist, you may need to seek a therapist in order to save a few dollars and get quality mental health advice.
Have a List of Items to Discuss
It’s important to have open and efficient communication with your attorney. You are paying them to help you. Ignoring their emails only diminishes their ability to help you and costs you more money in the long-run. When you’re communicating with your attorney, whether it’s by phone, email, or in person, it’s a good idea to make a list of your questions, concerns, and comments ahead of time. Having a list of things you’d like to discuss with your attorney is a great way to respect both your and your attorney’s time. It may also prevent having to set up additional meetings and phone calls because you forgot something. If you are able to make a list of the topics you’d like to discuss beforehand, your meeting is likely to be much more productive and efficient, which will probably save you money in the long run.
As previously mentioned, legal proceedings are based upon fact and evidence. A lot of an attorney’s time can be spent on reviewing and organizing a client’s factual claims and supporting evidence. Providing facts and evidence in an organized manner helps the attorney make shorter work of going through it. If you have factual statements to provide your attorney relevant to the issues before the court, make sure it’s clear what you believe the fact applies to. Provide headers or other markers to help the attorney make sense of what they are looking at. Similarly, when you provide your attorney evidence, whether paper or electronic files, make sure they are clearly labeled and there is clear explanation of what it is and how it’s relevant to your case.
A lot of people don’t realize that divorce courts are not set up to get them revenge from their terrible spouse. These kinds of feelings are completely understandable; the betrayal that often comes with divorce often causes emotional trauma that takes years to work recover from. However, divorce court is not generally designed to punish bad spouses. Instead, you’ll find that your spouse—regardless of what their part in the separation was—will likely have all the same rights you have. There is not much a divorce attorney can do about this. If you’re seeking revenge, it’s important to remember that it may not be something your attorney can get for you.
Consider Your Attorney’s Advice
We probably don’t need to tell you that you’re paying your attorney a significant sum of money. However, even though you may not like their advice, you’re paying a lot of money for them to give you legal advice. Therefore, it is important that you at the bare minimum consider the advice they’re giving you. Although you don’t have to do whatever your attorney advises you to do, it’s important that you listen to what they’re saying. If your attorney consistently is giving you advice that you feel is bad, you may need to have a discussion with your attorney and perhaps consult with a different attorney that may be a better fit for you. Your attorney cannot change the law or magically obtain an outcome that is not provided for by the law and facts of your circumstances.
When You’re Ready to File
If you’re ready to begin the divorce process, you may feel confused and overwhelmed by just how much information there is out there. Having custom legal advice can make going through a divorce a much more manageable experience. At CoilLaw, our attorneys are experts in all things family law. We help clients get through high-conflict divorces, child custody issues, and more. If you’re ready to get the legal advice you need to get through this divorce, contact CoilLaw today to get started with your initial consultation.