Divorce and Attorneys: How to Manage the Costs of Divorce

Q. I’m overwhelmed by the legal questions – who to turn to? How do I keep the costs down? How do I really come up with a realistic financial agreement with my spouse? Do I trust what the lawyer is telling my soon-to-be ex?

A. Welcome to the somewhat baffling world of family law! I want to make it clear that I am not a lawyer and cannot offer you legal advice. However, as someone who’s been a consumer of the legal system and have worked to help promote more respectful and cooperative ways of getting divorced, I have a few tips for you. First of all, realize that no matter who you get on your divorce team, you must be the quarterback. One big mistake I see people make is to wander into a lawyer’s office, filled with emotions ranging from deep sadness or profound anger. They are uninformed about their legal options, and expect the lawyer and the legal system to somehow rectify things. This can be a costly mistake. Your lawyer is an expert on the law, but you… Continue reading

Divorce Decisions: A Step-by-Step Approach

Q. “I haven’t started the process yet. I’m looking for a step-by-step and/or checklist to begin to engage the process. The task seems so daunting and I’m so emotional drained and I can’t think straight. I have project management skills, I’m having problems using those skills to get this process started and see it through to the end. Do you know of a checklist or plan I can use to help guide me?

A. When I saw your question come in I just had to pounce on it – I actually have an easy and elegant solution for you! You are absolutely right that this is an emotionally draining time. Every single piece of your life has been turned on its head all at the same time. There is a LOT of information out there, but in this state of extreme life change and emotional overwhelm it is hard to absorb, yet alone apply, any of it. A big problem is that when emotions run high,… Continue reading

Divorce: Do You Really Need a Lawyer or Not?

Q. “ My husband and I have decided to file for divorce, and we have two children and some real estate as assets. He thinks we can work out the divorce on our own, but I wonder if I should get a divorce attorney. I want to make this a civil process, but am afraid on feeling unprotected.”

A. This is a great question that I know many divorcing couples face. If the decision to divorce is a mutual one, is it advisable to do-it-yourself in terms of making your decision to divorce a legal reality? People’s most common objection to working with a lawyer is cost. Unfortunately, we’ve all heard of cases where some lawyer ramped up the litigiousness and seemed to add more to the complexity and grief. In my experience, that is more the exception than the rule. I am not Continue reading