Most of us know better than to make life-altering decisions during emotional times. But divorce is frequently the exception. The moment the word “divorce” is on the table, our emotions run wild. Fear, anger, shame, and sorrow gain the upper hand. We make extremely important choices under the influence of great stress and clouded thinking.
In particular, your choice of a divorce lawyer has the potential for long-lasting consequences.
While there are many aspects of divorce you cannot control, the one thing you can control is how you approach the divorce process. It starts with your legal representation. Your divorce lawyer sets the tone of the divorce – from your side of the street, at least.
There’s a lot to be said for divorcing as smoothly, efficiently, and peacefully as possible. Your sanity and well-being are preserved, your expenses are contained, and most important, the impact on your children is greatly reduced.
So how do you accomplish a less stressful and more productive divorce? Start by finding an attorney who is:
- A problem-solver vs. a flame-thrower
- Interested in finding the best possible outcome for your entire family, while protecting your future
- Understanding of the fact that you and your divorcing spouse will need to communicate as co-parents after the divorce
- Concerned for the well-being of your children as much as your own well-being
- Protective of your credibility
- Mindful of how your actions will be viewed by the court
And there’s more to consider. A successful divorce lawyer:
- Keeps in mind your financial situation and is willing to create a strategy that doesn’t drain your retainer
- Makes sure you understand and are comfortable with the strategy
- Enjoys high respect within the legal community
- Is open to incorporating your financial adviser’s input
- Has the ability to advocate for you and/or use more aggressive methods in a productive manner
That last item is worth emphasizing. Sometimes we think we need an attack shark, when when we really need is a shark that will use its strength appropriately. A good attorney will understand when and where to flex your muscles – and know when compromise is a smarter tactic.