Even though the 2011 census showed that New Jersey has one of the lowest divorce rates in the country, there are still those who insist on ruining New Jersey’s good record.
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Questions That You Need To Have Answered
Find out the last time that your lawyer was actually in divorce court. If they even hint at the fact that that they haven’t been, and they tell you not to worry because it’s no different than any other lawsuit—run for the hills and look elsewhere. Find out how much this is going to cost you in services and fees because there are more fees than you can shake a judge’s gavel at for:
- filing fees
- fees for the process server
- transcripts deposition
- court fees and more
It’s also important to ask your divorce lawyer whether they will be handling your case or passing it off to their “Hi, I just graduated law school” assistant. Larger firms frequently lure you in with one of their most successful and experienced divorce lawyers but then pass off your case to one of their less experienced legal representatives. You’ve just gone from having the big guns on your side to some little pipsqueak with a pea shooter.
Is Your Lawyer Experienced?
Much of the time cases can be settled out of court (ideally that’s what most parties are normally striving for). A more personal environment, fewer fees and less stress can all be perks for settling out of court. But is your lawyer willing to take your case to trial if it becomes an absolute necessity? There are lawyers who concentrate on default divorces or no fault divorces exclusively. You have to decide whether or not that may or may not fit your needs.
You might need someone with the knowledge and competence to stand up for your rights in court. And if this is their first ever divorce representation (and this may seem cruel), ask for someone else. Granted, they need to get experience somewhere; but do they need to get that experience through one of the most devastatingly important circumstances of your very lifetime?
Share And Share Alike
Your lawyer should be sharing with you their strategic, yet flexible, plan. They should absolutely, positively take no more than a two-day maximum period of time in which to answer any phone call from you and your divorce lawyer should at all times act courteously and professionally. You in turn must share any and all information with your lawyer that is pertinent to your divorce case.
You may not always see eye to eye when it comes to your lawyer’s recommendations, and that’s OK; by the time you go to trial (if your divorce does indeed have to go to trial), you will need to be on the same page. Consider what they’re saying because they’ve done this before and are experienced in divorce proceedings. (Remember? We cleared that up earlier.) Ignoring your attorney’s advice on a consistent basis could end up in the two of you parting ways and you having to start again from point A.
See, now you have to divorce your attorney!
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Getting To Know You
When you first sit down with your lawyer for the first few consultations, you may go through a ‘getting to know you’ period. You’re going to be emotional and emotions can’t help but influence our decisions. Your attorney on the other hand, can step back and see things from a wider view with a calmer frame of mind.
Emotions and legal proceedings do not go together well. Let the experts handle your divorce case with their expertise. What you shouldn’t expect from your divorce lawyer is miracles and magic. What you can expect is legal representation to defend your rights as they apply to your newly single life in general, your assets and your children.
Feel out your attorney before you sign on that dotted line. It’s your money and it’s your divorce; you have to be comfortable with the person representing you; God knows it’s going to be hard enough to be comfortable with anything else. Everything is going to change from here to the end. Nothing is going to be the way you knew it once was ever again. You need someone special to go through that with you.
But Perhaps What You Need Is Not A Lawyer!
Truth be told, lawyers do have their own agendas and more often than not, you will find that the lawyer you have hired imposed more ideas and decisions on you than the issues in your marriage that caused the breakdown between you and your soon-to-be ex. With a lawyer, what you will be going through is known as a litigated divorce. But if you are looking for an amicable way to handle the divorce while getting what both of you want as the conditions for the divorce, try taking a look at mediation. It is where the right legal help may actually be for you!
Maryana Kanda, an accredited family and divorce NJ mediator, knows the importance of providing the best legal advice in a divorce.