On a list of 43 life-changing events that can alter your health and well-being, divorce is ranked second, according to the Holmes and Rahe’s Stress Scale. At 29 years of age, I had lived through 10 years of an unhealthy marriage, had two young children, and was facing a divorce. Although I didn’t want to face the very long and challenging road to divorce, I knew that I needed to move out and find another place to live.
Each and every day was filled with anxiety and stress. I worked as a legal secretary for some of the best attorneys, but I didn’t have someone to give me advocacy, financial guidance and emotional support. It was during this time, with little guidance and a lot of stress, that I was faced with making decisions that would affect my life, the lives of my children, and my family’s future. I felt as though my attorneys and my ex were in control and I was along for the ride, as though I had no one in my corner. I had excellent attorneys, but they could only respond to the Court’s decisions and my direction, and I didn’t know what directions to give. I needed to assess the situation and make the best decisions I could with the little information that I had at the time.
I have worked as a paralegal and a business manager in a law firm for the past 30 years. Having gone through my divorce alone, I know that as a woman, I can do more for others now. That is why I am passionate about helping women gain control of their financial and emotional futures, in any situation, but especially for those that are facing a divorce. I understand and recognize the need for a therapist to provide that emotional support when there is no one else to turn to. I see the value in having a financial planner who is experienced and who knows the financial aspects of the legal process and divorce. I also know that choosing the right attorney will directly impact not only the financial, but also the emotional outcome of the divorce process.
“How do I choose the right divorce attorney?” This is one of the most common questions I am asked. Woman tend to seek legal counsel when they are faced with fear and anxiety. But how do you know, when choosing an attorney, if they will fight for you during the divorce process? Our job at Divorce U Solutions is to help our clients create a foundation of communication with their attorneys to ensure the divorce process offers them the best possible outcome.
Choosing the right divorce attorney is a vital step in the divorce process. The attorney you hire will be responsible for defending your rights. Even though you have found a family law attorney, that doesn’t mean that the primary focus in the divorce process will be protecting your rights or your best interest.
10 Questions to Ask to Help You Choose the Right Divorce Attorney
Can you give me an estimate of the total cost of the divorce?
What is your hourly rate? How frequently will I be billed and when will be payment be expected? How much retainer do you require initially and on an ongoing basis?
What other fees, costs, and expenses will I be responsible for?
Will you provide me with a free monthly progress report?
Will the progress report also notify me of budget changes?
Will you personally handle my divorce negotiations?
Are there other attorneys with less experience or paralegals who can complete some of the required work at a cheaper rate?
Are you more likely to tell me what to do, or offer options and expect me to make a decision?
Will you be my main contact or will I be working with another attorney on your staff?
What is the best way to contact you, and how quickly should I expect to receive a response?
These questions will help you determine the type of communication you will have with your divorce attorney. I know it can be intimidating to sit one on one with an attorney and ask these questions, but I also know that these questions will play a vital role in the relationship between you and your attorney. If you don’t feel that you can ask these questions, have someone close to you attend the consultation and ask these questions for you.
It is so important to remember that everyone’s situation is unique. What may work or not work for someone you know, may have nothing to do with you and your family. Just keep this in mind as you receive advice from everyone.
We created Divorce U Solutions because we understand your concerns and because we have been through the divorce process. We have helped many clients prepare for divorce, we have given them the knowledge to feel empowered and in control of their lives again, and we have helped them get organized so that they feel they can move ahead in their process with confidence. We can guide you to state-specific resources, and go through your budget with you so that you feel prepared before seeking legal counsel. It’s not easy or fun to ask the tough questions, but we are here to help you do just that. Asking tough questions of yourself and your attorney will only further prepare for your new, post-divorce, life.
We offer some helpful free resources at Divorce U Solutions, so no matter how you proceed during this life transition, be sure to access as much information as you can before making any binding decisions. #UwillbeOK!