“My spouse has just served me with divorce papers and I am going to see an attorney. What can I expect will happen to me in the divorce?”
Troy, Michigan divorce attorney Ronald Bookholder answers: “The role of the lawyer in educating you is a multi-faceted process. The client needs to provide information to the lawyer, personal and financial, that enables the lawyer to understand your situation. Lawyers need to educate themselves about you and your case in order to give you appropriate feedback. Ask the lawyer about the divorce process and what you may expect as you go through the process. Provide the lawyer a history of your marital relationship, what you perceive caused the breakdown of the marital relationship and what your spouse perceives may have broken down the marital relationship, if you know. The lawyer understands that this is an extremely stressful time for you and may make suggestions for you to seek therapy to help you through the process.
Expect the lawyer to listen to you, try to focus you on what is important, and to review the information that you provide to them. Expect the lawyer to absorb and analyze all relevant information in your case and to provide both practical and legal suggestions to you, enabling you to make informed decisions concerning your matter. Remember, you ultimately are the decision-maker and must be properly educated to make fair decisions for yourself and your family. Conversely, it is your job to help educate the lawyer so that the lawyer can give you appropriate feedback. Be sure that you disclose personal and financial information openly and voluntarily. Your counsel cannot help you unless he understands your situation. Do not hold back informing your lawyer of all of the facts surrounding your situation. Your counsel cannot properly advise you without knowing all the facts. Most importantly, make sure that you have a comfort level that you will be able to work with the lawyer before entering into a contract to have counsel represent you.”
Ronald M. Bookholder is a family-law attorney in Troy, Michigan.