5 Ways to Get More from Your Divorce Attorney
- Start with the right information. Before your first visit with your attorney, find out about the rules and procedures for divorce. A survey of readers of Nolo divorce books shows that the single most important factor in a smoother divorce is starting off informed and having the control over your life this gives you.
- Understand what kind of help you can get from an attorney, and the law, and what kind you can’t. Most problems in divorce are emotional, not legal ones, and the legal system has no solutions for anything but legal problems. Don’t expect your lawyer to solve your emotional problems–there are better ways to get this kind of help.
- Be prepared! Organize your information and documents ahead of time and bring them to your first visit, so you can hand them over and not waste a lot of time (and money) on the facts. With good preparation, you will be able to ask intelligent questions. The lawyer will be very aware of dealing with a client who knows what’s what, and you will get better care and more respect.
- Control your case. Client control of divorce negotiations is the most significant predictor of a good post-divorce outcome. Take responsibility for knowing what’s going on and for making your own decisions. Actively participate in your negotiations.
- Keep business and personal matters separate. Many aspects of divorce are businesslike: money, property, procedures, negotiation and agreements, lawyers, and taxes. Business and personal/emotional matters do not mix well. The best way to reduce conflict and legal expenses is to keep them separate.
Copyright 2009 Ed Sherman
Ed Sherman is a family law attorney, divorce expert, and founder of Nolo Press. He started the self-help law movement in 1971 when he published the first edition of How to Do Your Own Divorce, and founded the paralegal industry in 1973. With more than a million books sold, Ed has saved the public billions of dollars in legal fees while making divorce go more smoothly and easily for millions of readers. You can order his books from nolodivorce.com or by calling (800) 464-5502.