This article is Part III in a series about achieving a better divorce. In Part I, you worked on the Big Picture view for yourself and your family. You spent time thinking about this and writing about it in detail in your journal. In Part II, you learned the value of getting informed about your process choices, or the various ways you can actually get divorced. This is a critical step to helping you be proactive for yourself. How in the world can you make the best decisions if you don’t even know what your choices are?
Now we are ready for Part III of this process:
Choose the most skilled professionals who can advise you and support
you through the process you choose and help you achieve your overall goals.
Who are these “professionals?” They are the lawyers, therapists, evaluators, coaches, or financial specialists who might be needed to help you through your divorce. The choices you make here will certainly impact how your divorce goes.
Let’s start with the lawyers. Some are very collaborative and good at settlement, and others are good at litigating. Some are more experienced in the area of family law than others. Some have what I call the “old school” approach to representing clients in divorce (prepare to litigate!), and others only handle cases that will resolve out of court.
Now you see why you must first choose which process you will use for your divorce. And just as there is no “one size fits all” process choice, there is no “one size fits all” lawyer to represent you. You can only get the best lawyer for you once you know which process you will be using for your divorce!
Here are some important considerations when looking for the right lawyer for you:
- Fees – The hourly rate could range from $150.00 to $350.00 an hour or more. In these economic times, there are a number of ways to minimize these costs. Many lawyers are doing more and more flat fee based work when the issues are fairly easy to resolve.
- Experience – Make sure the person you go to either specializes in family law or does a significant amount of it in his or her practice. You wouldn’t go to your family doctor for a heart transplant, right? It’s the same idea here. This is a critical time in your life, and you deserve to have someone representing you who is savvy in this area of the law.
- Referrals – The best way to find a lawyer is to get referrals from friends or family who have been through it or from other professionals (therapists, clergy, doctors) who have worked with this lawyer.
- Good Fit and Accessibility Factor – You should have a good connection with the lawyer and feel comfortable with him or her, like they “get” you. Picking your lawyer is like picking a therapist, a doctor, or which church you go to. You should feel a level of comfort and trust. If you don’t feel this, then don’t hesitate to get a consultation with another lawyer. There’s nothing wrong with getting a “second opinion!”
Use these same criteria to select other professionals you may need, and you will surround yourself with the right people for you who will help you through this challenging time with ease and grace.
For more information about choosing the right professionals for you, please visit www.mmarcyjones.com, or, buy the book, Graceful Divorce Solutions: A Comprehensive and Proactive Guide to Saving You Time, Money and Your Sanity