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What’s the Role of an Attorney in Divorce Mediation?

Posted by admin on 27th April 2006

You may decide to use an attorney even if you and your spouse have agreed to divorce mediation.  An attorney does have a very important role in your divorce even if you choose the mediation route. You may not desire your attorney to be sitting there in every session, but you should talk with an attorney before you decide on mediation.

What an attorney can do for you and your divorce mediation is, basically, give you advice and help you with the understanding the laws and how they pertain to you in your particular situation. Before you go to your first mediation session, you should consult an attorney. They will give you an overview of the relevant laws and their opinion about how they perceive your case would go in court if you decide to go to court instead of through mediation. This way you understand your options and if the mediation is not going the way you would like you will have an idea of what you would get if you go to court.

You may also need legal questions answered during the course of the mediation process. Not all mediators have knowledge of the law and you may need some answers before you make major decisions. Legal questions regarding pensions and retirement plans can be asked of your attorney before you agree to give away any of your legal rights. Just because the pension plan is solely in your spouses name, does not mean that you may not have any legal rights to a portion of the plan.

After, you and your spouse have your agreement on paper; it would also be wise if you took this to an attorney before it is submitted into court. Your attorney may have questions that are not answered exactly as he believes they should be before presenting it in court. If there are any unanswered questions or areas that can be discussed further you can then take it back to the mediation and correct it.

Remember a mediator is not an attorney and is suppose to be a neutral person to aid in you and your spouse in making decisions that will speed up the process of your divorce and many times save you money. However, they are not up on laws that can pertain to your case. Any time you have legal questions, do not let the mediator and your spouse explain the law to you, ask your attorney.

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What If I Don’t Agree With My Lawyer’s Tactics?

Posted by admin on 27th April 2006

Everyone lawyer has their own tactics and their own way of handling all divorce cases. Sometimes people find themselves with a very passive lawyer or a very aggressive lawyer and do not agree with the way in which they are handling their divorce. Some people may prefer a middle of the road attorney that is neither passive nor aggressive or they may wish their attorney to use different tactics than they are.

Lawyers are people just like us and have their own personalities and ways of doing things. You may find that their personality and they way they do things are completely opposite of yours. Do not feel like you have to accept their behavior. You hired them and they work for you. If you feel that they are not using tactics that you approve of do something about it. If you believe, they are being weak and not using the information you provided or you believe they are too demanding then you must step forward and take control. This is your divorce and you should be in control. They are your mouthpiece so to speak.

If you find yourself in this situation and you do not agree with your lawyers tactics you do have some options. These options include:

Talk to them and let them know that you disagree with their tactics and the way they are handling your case. Be firm, explain to them that you desire them to change their tactics or you will have to look elsewhere for legal counsel. Confront them immediately and let them know that this behavior is unacceptable.

Seek the advice of another attorney. Explain to different attorney how your attorney is handling your case and seek advice on what you can do. They may be able to advice you so you can still work with the attorney you now have.

Talk with a mediator. Sometimes, divorce mediators can also help between you and your lawyer and maybe give you some insight to how to approach your attorney with your feelings and concerns.

Fire your attorney. If all else fails, fire this lawyer and seek a new one.

Remember, you hired this lawyer and if they are not doing what you ask or are using tactics that you do not agree with you have every right to do what is necessary to change the circumstances, including firing them and finding a new lawyer.

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What Happens After I Retain An Attorney?

Posted by admin on 27th April 2006

If you have never require the services of an  attorney and now you find your self facing an divorce it can be just a bit over whelming. Dealing with just the fact your marriage is ending is hard enough and now you have to find an attorney for the proceedings. Like everyone who needs an attorney of course you want to get the best to look out for your interest and see that you are treated fair in your divorce.  So you are probably wondering what happens after I retain an Attorney? Consulting an attorney to handle your divorce is the first step which can save you from making unnecessary and often times costly mistakes.

After you have visited about the details of you situation and you decide to hire them as your attorney you give them a retainer and that’s when they will go to work on your case.
You can expect to spend several hours in consultation with your attorney giving him information about you marriage, assets you and your spouses jobs and incomes, plus any other things of value that you may share possession of. It’s very important to answer all questions that your attorney asks, and rest assured they are going to get personal. You can expect they will ask you about any dirty little secrets you may have in the closet like, Have you ever had an affair during your marriage, or do you have any drug and alcohol problems.

Don’t be afraid to tell it all no matter how embarrassed or low you may feel because if you don’t they can’t prepare the best strategy for your divorce case. Even worse you can bet it will come out in court at the hearing because you’re soon to be x will be using it as ammo against you and could cause you to get a really raw deal because your attorney did not have a chance to get prepared for this. Remember your attorney is there to help you and rest assured they have heard more stories than bar tenders. Now the attorney will also probably give you a list of documents that they will need like; evidence of your spouse’s earnings, wills and living trusts, financial statements, automobile titles, bank statements, tax returns, mortgage documents, and probably even more.

There will be other information he may send you to get, if you get prepared and have most of the documents ready when you hire your lawyer you can save money as they charge by the hour. Choosing a lawyer to represent your divorce case can make or break the out come for how you live for a long time to come.

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Under What Circumstances Can I Fire My Attorney?

Posted by admin on 27th April 2006

Many people that are in court room cases for divorce and other proceedings that are not happy with their council for one reason or another are always wondering, under what circumstances I can fire my Attorney? All Attorneys make mistakes although most are minor, from time to time they can make huge ones that can cost you paying more child support in the long run than it should have been. Or even by not filing the right types of orders and court documents on time can be damaging to your divorce hearings. So ask your self the question, why do you want to fire your Attorney? Consider before you take this type of action that it will be a major set back and not only will you lose the money you have spent but also where you may be in your case today. Getting a new Attorney will be like starting over not to mention you will be paying out more money all over again.

If you feel justified and the situation calls for this type of action in most any circumstance you can fire your Attorney any time you please, after all they work for you. Firing an attorney is however you should try to work out problems with your Attorney and firing them should be a last step. You should always let your attorney know of your unhappy or dissatisfied and see if a solution can be reached before firing the attorney or making any formal complaints and dismissals. It’s very important to understand that once your case has come to the stage where your attorney has appeared in court on your behalf, a judge will often have to approve a decision to take an attorney off a case but usually will always allow such an action.

It’s really extreme but if you feel an attorney has not conducted him self properly or ethically with your case, not only can you fire them you can also to file a complaint against that attorney with the state bar association. When you decide to fire your attorney, you really want to do it by way of writing a letter with the reasons for this action.  Make your letter professional and don’t use it to threaten your lawyer with legal action or a reporting to the bar association just keep it on a business level and keep you personal feelings out.

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Unbundling of Divorce Legal Services

Posted by admin on 27th April 2006

Unbundling of Divorce legal services may be a new term to many but is beginning to be used by several couples and for good reason. Unbundling is a great way to save hundreds of dollars on unnecessary services that you do not need for your divorce. You will be able to find a coach that can help you with all the legal stuff you will need before going forward.

You will be doing most of the work yourself and only using an attorney when it is absolutely out of the question not to use one. You can also stay in control of your divorce and you make all the decisions what issues need to be negotiated. You are your spouse together can make most of the decisions without paying an attorney to do the work. You may also see that your spouse is spending money on an attorney and this may frighten you a bit. But, it should not when you have questions, you can seek legal advice and pay for what you need only. Your spouse will see that every time he wants to negotiate you come by yourself and your spouse shows up with their attorney. They are the one paying for the attorney’s time, this may make them wish to resolve any issues faster and get it over with when they realize just how much they are spending on attorney fees.

If you do decide to go with unbundling of divorce legal service you will be the one responsible for any filings, gathering information, and showing up in court. You will need to study and get your facts together for court including child custody laws and child support laws if you have children. You will need to come up with a reasonable visitation schedule and child support calculations to show to the court. You can talk with your coach and get all the legal advice you need, but you must be the one to implement them in the courtroom.

If you come into court unrepresented, the judge does not look favorably at you from the beginning, but if you show that, you are prepared and have everything together his respect for you will rise. The worst way to get the judge to look at you unfavorable is to be unprepared with questions and resolutions that need to be discussed.

Talk with your coach and be prepared is the best advice. Ask questions regarding issues you should be careful about in court, find out what you can about your spouses attorney, should you file for divorce first, how often should you talk with your coach, how much will it hurt me in court if I represent myself, find out about the judge, what dates should I watch for, and will I have to go to court.

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How to Work With Your Divorce Attorney

Posted by admin on 27th April 2006

Most all people hire an Attorney to handle their divorce, and soon after they become up set with the things Attorneys request from them like certain documents and advising them not to do certain things as well. For most people when they first retain an attorney they put up the request retainer the Attorney ask for thinking well this is not to bad to get this divorce finished . Then the upset sets in because it seems like the money you paid did not get you very far as you start getting new bills for more money from them. Its hard enough just dealing with the divorce and your x trying to get all they can and now you may even fell like your own Attorney is trying to milk you for all they can get as well.

So what happen? Well a lot of people just simply don’t listen or understand how Attorneys charge and that a retainer is just the initial fee to get them to work on your case. When you know how to work with your divorce Attorney it can actually save you a lot of  money by not using wasted billing hours of there time for things you could have ready and prepared for them in advance. Avoid calling your Attorney all the time on the phone with endless Question  because you are being charged and in fact most every Attorney charges the precise amount of time spent and others  bill in fifteen or twenty minute increments.  So get organized and get a list together of questions you need to ask and address all of them in a direct way in one meeting rather it’s on the phone or in person as time is money.

Remember Attorneys will charge you for postage, faxes, photocopies, witness fees, long-distance telephone calls, detective fees, supplies, travel expenses, courier fees, research, or anything that pertains to your case. So if you understand how the charge and operate this should make it easier for you to work with them and save you money.  One way you can best work with your Attorney is be prepared. Go ahead and gather the following documents together and provide copies to your attorney on the day you retain their services. Proof of your current income, Proof of spouse’s current income, Bank statements, Mortgages and Property tax statements, Certificates of deposit, Personal and Business tax returns, Credit Card bills, Stocks and bonds certificates, any other types of documentation  that may pertain to you and your spouse. When you know how to work with your divorce Attorney it can save you thousands of dollars in unnecessary charges.

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How to Save Legal Fees on Your Divorce

Posted by admin on 27th April 2006

A divorce can be very expensive and if you do not pay attention to how much time, you rack up talking with them. The cheapest way to save legal fees on your divorce is through a divorce kit, but both you can your spouse must agree with every aspect of the divorce, how everything will be divided, and the custody of the children, child support and visitation. Then you can fill out the papers and file them with the court yourself. This is best way to save a bundle of money. You will only have to pay for the divorce kit and filing fees. There will be no attorney fees for either one of you to pay. However, most of the time a divorce kit will not work for couples that have conflicts they cannot resolve, so here are some tips when you have to retain an attorney.

* Talk with friends and family members that may know some attorneys and what their fees are. Learn if they returned calls promptly and if they were focused on their case and organized. An unorganized attorney can cost you all kinds of money, when they are working on your case; they are racking up a bill. If they need any papers, information, etc…, offer to get this for them. They will charge you an hourly rate while they are retrieving this stuff and probably for the cost of the gas and maybe even mileage.

* When you talk with the attorney ask them what they charge and how. Some attorney charge by the hour while others charge for every 15 minutes they spend on your case. You can even give him an idea of what you envision paying and see if he would be willing to work within your budget.

* When you talk with your attorney, do not get sidetracked. Do not chat about anything besides the divorce or things pertaining to the divorce. You are paying for his time, whether you wish to talk about your golf games or the weather. Try to keep the attorneys mind on your case as well, instead of how great the weekend was.

* Do not ask for extra papers or copies. Make your own copies and remember to write down anything when you are talking with him. Forgotten items can run up your bill because you have to call and ask more questions.

Anyway, you can think of to help your attorney and not chitchat about everything under the sun can save you hundreds of dollars in the end.

Posted in Divorce and Money, Divorce Attorneys | No Comments »

How to Communicate with Your Divorce Attorney

Posted by admin on 27th April 2006

After you found an attorney, you should know how to communicate with your divorce attorney so he can learn everything he needs to know to represent you in court properly. If you leave out things that you really don’t want brought up in court, your soon to be ex-spouse and his attorney will be certain to mention those. When this happens, your attorney does not have the information he needs for the counter-attack. So, above everything else, be honest! If you have secrets or any skeletons in your closet tell your attorney upfront, so he can handle these little secrets when they are used against in court.

When you communicate with your divorce attorney, he will ask you all kinds of questions, be honest and answer right away. If you try to get around the answers, you are just running up your bill. Be precise and exact. These he will need to know include:

Why do you desire a divorce? Is a divorce really, what you want, or are you just playing minding games with your spouse to get them to open their eyes. What are your reasons for wanting a divorce? Be sure you tell him every reason.

He will also need all the names of the people in your immediate family, you, your spouse, and the children including home and work addresses, telephone numbers, ages, where each member of the household was born, social security numbers, and physical and mental health of each member of the family.

Facts pertaining to the marriage: The date of the marriage, the state in which you were married, were any prenuptial agreements signed, any previous marriages and the details of any divorces.

He also must know what he is going to be up against when it comes to custody of the children and if you both are willing to allow contact with the children.

Information regarding both of your finances before the marriage, any assets you brought into the marriage and any debts you had before the marriage. What are both of your incomes today and what are the expenses and are these debts joint or individual. Names and addresses of both of your employers, information on bank accounts, investments, insurance, and pension plans. What tangible property do you both own such as a house, car, rental property, etc…? Was this bought prior to the marriage? What is the household budget such as how much is spent on housing, clothing, food, gifts, vacations, etc… If you have children, who is the primary care taker and are there any costs due to childcare.

That is just a few of the items your attorney will need to understand how best to represent you. You should be able to explain to your attorney what your goals are regarding the divorce and what you seek. You should know before you go to court how you want the property divided, who you wish to have custody, visitation and anything else that is important to you should be communicated to your attorney.

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Common Client Mistakes When Dealing with Divorce Lawyers

Posted by admin on 27th April 2006

Everyone makes mistakes when dealing with divorce lawyers. You may find yourself without even thinking, lying to your attorney, not giving him all the information he needs, or just being to humble and embarrassed concerning your personal life. When people are going through a divorce there are many emotions coursing through their veins and it can be hard to keep a level head and not make a few mistakes. However, there are some common client mistakes when dealing with divorce lawyers that you must not make. These include:

* Keeping Secrets – If you have skeletons in your closet be the first to say so. If you do not let your attorney know about any thing in your past that your soon to be ex-spouse knows about you, it will be mentioned in court by your spouses attorney. So, your secrets will be exposed anyway.

* Do Not Lie – Any questions your attorney asks, tell them the truth. If you have had an affair to be not be embarrassed, just answer truthfully. No matter what the circumstances may be.

* Do not run up your divorce bill, by using your attorney as a counselor. Attorney’s charge a lot more to cry on their shoulder than a therapist does.

* Forgetting about taxes – If you desire the home, remember there will be property taxes, insurance and other financial obligations that go along with the ownership of the home. If you desire the home because you are seeking custody of the children, find out more about the finances to keep this home running and talk to your lawyer about your concerns.

* Not speaking your mind – Your lawyer cannot read your mind and decide what you want in your divorce. You must be able to tell them exactly what you believe you deserve such as the house, the children, etc… and why you deserve them.

* Not listening to their advice – If they tell you to stay away from your spouse or do not visit the children at this time, listen. They are giving you this advice to help you in the end achieve your goals at the end of your divorce.

* Letting the attorney be in control – Yes, they know the law, but they do not know what happened during your marriage and what you deserve. An attorney works for you, they should not be in control of what happens to your life. You hired them to aid you in getting what you deserve from the marriage, not to tell you that you should forget it and go for a settlement that is less than what you deserve. What you get will be decided by the court, not the attorneys.

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