For most people involved in a divorce, it is their first time going through the process. If the same is true for you – or even if it’s not – don’t be afraid to look to your attorney for his or her expertise and knowledge to help guide you through the process. Here are three things that every family law attorney should be offering to you as the client.
- Creative solutions to resolve your caseNo case is exactly like any other, and what works for one family might not work for yours. It is important that your attorney has suggestions for some creative solutions in your particular case. For example, you may still have a good relationship with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. In that case, it may not be in anyone’s best interest to immediately file a complaint for divorce. You might benefit from being able to resolve your case entirely before either party files – either with the assistance of a mediator or just your respective attorneys. There are also situations in which you can structure your settlement in a creative manner. For example, if your spouse is going to pay you alimony but cannot afford the monthly amount you believe you need, your attorney could propose structuring the support obligation in a way that works out to slightly lower monthly payments, but then you receive a larger portion of an annual bonus. Settlement agreements can be creative, and your attorney should be offering you suggestions for resolution that may not be the standard but are appropriate for your case.
- Referrals to experts that may be necessary in your caseIn many cases, it is necessary to utilize experts to support your case in the event of a trial. There is a wide range of experts that may be used, including custody experts; appraisers of homes and personal property; employability evaluators; and financial experts. Family law attorneys are well acquainted with the various experts that may be useful in your particular matter. Your attorney should be offering you suggestions about what types of expert may be needed in your case. He or she should also offer you the names of some experts that they have used previously or are familiar with through the course of their practice. There is a wide array of experts available, and your attorney will be able to guide you toward the experts that will allow you to present the strongest case you can.
- Realistic goals for resolution in your matterSometimes clients are swept away by the emotion in their case and begin making demands regarding what they want their settlement to be. These demands may not be realistic, and your attorney should be telling you why a particular request may not be included in a final settlement agreement. Your attorney knows the law and will be able to guide you toward a more realistic resolution in your case. For example, it’s common for clients to say that they have been a stay-at-home parent for a number of years and they wish to continue to do so and receive alimony for their expenses. Your attorney should discuss with you the two issues that this request raises: 1. That you have an obligation to contribute to the support of yourself and the children; and 2. That, more than likely, it is not financially possible for one spouse to support two households on his or her income. Your attorney should discuss with you the likelihood that you will have to work in some capacity and will likely be imputed an income even if you choose not to work. Allowing unrealistic demands to continue will only serve to harm the client as it will likely result in a longer divorce process.
If you are interested in divorce, call the attorneys at DeTorres & DeGeorge to schedule a consultation.