Saturday, October 11, 2008

Divorce Attorney: Top 5 Things You Should Consider When Choosing a Divorce Attorney

Divorce Attorney

Rarely in day to day conversation is the criterion for selecting a good lawyer discussed. In fact, most Americans can move throughout their daily lives and never encounter the need for an attorney. In issues of family law and divorce, especially where complications may arise in custody matters and assets, it is advisable that one seek attorney representation. Divorce, in and of itself, can be a highly taxing experience both emotionally and financially. When selecting an attorney to represent their interests, few people who enter the challenges of divorce for the first time know how to choose the right divorce attorney. Here is list of the Top 5 things one needs to consider when choosing a divorce attorney.


Most people believe that lawyers come a dime a dozen. However, lawyers with experience are much more difficult to find. Experience is likely the single most important factor most people examine when choosing an attorney to handle their family law matters. Experience aids an attorney in numerous ways.

First, an experienced family law and divorce attorney is more likely to anticipate issues and items that you may have overlooked. Divorce is often a tumultuous experience, and when emotions are involved, simple decisions can become more complex. A good attorney should be able to help you consider items that you may have missed.

Secondly, experienced divorce attorneys become familiar with court tendencies, and can most often anticipate the process a judge may take in deciding a case for or against you. Judges can develop reputations for being thorough, fair, extremely tough, or lenient. Since most people do not spend their days in a courtroom, it only makes since to look to your attorney for guidance in this area.

The question of how much experience an attorney should have is really one of personal preference and comfort. When considering a family law and divorce attorney, be sure to question the attorney regarding specific experience handling cases similar to yours. Thirteen years of legal experience handling traffic matters equates to nothing in the family law arena.

Be careful not to oversell the importance of attorney experience. It is only one factor to consider when hiring a family law and divorce attorney.

Commitment and Availability

Chances are if you are considering a divorce, you need an attorney who can make themselves available when you have questions or matters of urgency. Let’s face it; no one wants to talk to their attorney’s voice mail.

Many attorneys balance multiple cases and clients at once, but a good family law and divorce attorney has the ability to make you feel like the only client even when you are not.

When you first consult an attorney, it is a good idea to question the attorney’s workload and ability to meet and discuss matters of your case. Do not expect your attorney to be a marriage counselor, but do expect him or her to listen and respond accordingly.


Know what you are paying for and how you are paying for it. How your divorce attorney is charging you and collecting fees should not be a secret. If you're being charged a fee for phone calls and staples, be sure that you are well aware before it is too late.

Divorce and family law issues can be costly. There are do-it-yourself divorce filing kits, but be sure you understand completely what you are getting yourself into. It may be advisable to pay an attorney to review any documents before you have them filed.

The two most common fee billing types are hourly and flat fees.

Hourly Rates - Your attorney may choose to bill at an hourly rate that may be divided into several time increments. The set rate usually depends on a number of factors, with experience and average going rate being the most popular. "Big City Lawyers" usually charge Big City rates.

Flat Fees - Some attorneys prefer to bill a certain flat fee amount to handle your legal matter. Usually this rate takes into account the amount of anticipated time he/she will spend on your matter (often with consultations and other forms of communication included). Flat fees allow you to avoid billing surprises, but understand that flat fee attorneys are only obligated to handle the matter for which they are hired.


If questioned, most people would opt to have television-type divorce attorneys who control the mood and demeanor in the courtroom. In reality courtrooms rarely, if ever, play out like television dramas. The dramas are accurate in one aspect; not everyone leaves the courtroom satisfied.

When choosing a family law and divorce attorney you should consider hiring an attorney whose style most accurately represents how you want your case handled.

Attorney reputations spread like break room rumors. Opposing attorneys often decide quickly how far to push or when to back down. Every fancy suit does not equal a winner. Sometimes the bumbling and fumbling attorney displayed in television dramas can be the most detail oriented and skilled litigator.

Before you commit, ask around, consult your local bar association, and read your potential attorney's online ratings and reviews.

Resources and Follow Up

Resources and follow up are the two factors that most clients overlook when choosing a divorce and family law attorney. When court proceedings are complete, clients are usually relieved to have some closure. Clients, who are tied up in the emotions of their case, rarely give themselves adequate time to process and cope with the events and life changes.

Beyond the courtroom your attorney should be able to help lead you to resources that may help you and your loved ones cope and move on with your life.

The Sixth Consideration

After all of the above items are considered, you are the most important factor. Understand what you are bringing to the table and seek out an attorney that can best meet your needs

Alesia M. Vick is the lead attorney at the Law Offices of Alesia M. Vick in Knightdale, NC. She is a licensed and practicing attorney in North Carolina. Her practice specialty is family law - divorce, separation, child custody, and adoption. Her written article topics include "Female Divorce Attorneys - Are They Better?" and "Dads and Divorce – What Today's Fathers Need to Know Before Entering the Courtroom". More about Attorney Alesia M. Vick can be found on her firm website at

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Divorce Attorney: How to Keep Your Divorce Costs Inexpensive

Divorce Attorney

Divorce is not only emotionally draining, mentally tiring and painful - it's also expensive. When you have little resources to start with, the idea of paying for a divorce can be very daunting. However, there are ways to get a divorce without having to pay a small fortune. Most people don't know about those ways or don't consider them when getting a divorce. This article discusses how to keep your divorce costs inexpensive so that you can more easily move on with your life.

Attorney's Fees

The most expensive thing you will probably pay for when you're getting a divorce is your attorney's fees. Attorneys not only require an up-front retainer in order to represent you, but they also charge you outrageous hourly fees along with fees to file paperwork, do research and much more. In fact, you're practically getting scammed even though most people think you MUST have an attorney when you're getting divorced. This isn't true. Mediation is one of the cheapest ways to obtain a divorce (along with being less emotionally charged) and you don't even need an attorney. You and your spouse decide amongst yourselves where your assets and property will be divided and custody issues if you have children. This is a great way to keep your divorce from being too expensive.

Mediation Charges

If you do decide to go with mediation, you should know that the charges will end up costing you less than a typical divorce. This is because mediation is almost always the quickest way to get divorced. While a courtroom battle can go on for months and even years, mediation is usually over in just a few visits. Mediators are trained to work with spouses who may be bitter, hostile or angry at each other. They help the couple get past those feelings in order to decide what's best for both people. This helps you move on with your life more quickly and avoid the circus of emotions that courtroom divorces often bring.

If You Must Hire an Attorney

If you decide that you must hire an attorney, there are a few things you can do to make your divorce cheaper. Find an attorney that allows you to pay a flat fee for the entire divorce process. They do exist, although they may be difficult to find. This will save you money because you won't be paying for any extra hours or days and you won't be paying more for research that the attorney (who is supposed to know things) must conduct. If you can't find an attorney who will accept a flat fee, you may at least be able to negotiate with the lawyer for a cheaper retainer and hourly fee.

Divorce is one expensive process, but with the tips and tricks above, it is possible to get through it without putting yourself in the poor house. Remember that when you are hiring an attorney, you will essentially be the 'boss,' so try to negotiate and if you're unable to, find another one! These tips will help you get your divorce in a cheaper way so that you can move on with your life.

Danielle L. Taylor is a freelance writer and mom of 3, who's come through a devastating divorce with her husband of 15 years after his infidelity and was able to get back on track as a strong, happy and free person. To read more of her articles visit - one of the most active communities for divorce support in the Internet.

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Divorce Attorney: Divorce and Cancer, Finding a Specialized Cancer Divorce Attorney

Divorce Attorney

The noted and respected brain cancer specialist, Dr. Michael J. Glantz, recognized during his work that there was a notable increase in the number of divorces and separations among his patients. Many of his married cancer patients, diagnosed with brain tumors, also faced the simultaneous personal catastrophe of divorce from their healthy spouse. It may seem difficult to believe at first, but these cancer-related separations actually created the need for divorce attorneys who completely specialize in helping clients with cancer.

When a person is first diagnosed with cancer, the emotional stress levels arising from the situation for the couple or the entire family must be coped with in some way. This cancer-related stress is known to correspond to many cancer-related divorces, and other personal life challenges. Cancer divorce attorneys in particular must become immensely knowledgeable about the disease itself, and the many changes that their client's life will endure throughout this difficult time.

To handle those divorces that occur very soon after an initial cancer diagnosis, a specialist divorce attorney is a definite asset and even a necessity. Many patients actually prefer to go through a formal marital separation, in order to reduce the emotional burden on the remaining healthy partner. It is very important to understand that, when life-threatening afflictions such as cancer take hold, the patient's marriage needs just as much attention as the disease itself if it is going to survive. Cancer divorce lawyers may be consulted because the healthy partner may be unable to cope with future responsibilities and changes - both physical and emotional - in their own life.

Cancer divorce attorneys have a tendency to be associated with cancer related groups, such as the American Cancer Society and others. Because of this association, they are often able to understand many aspects of the psychology of the partner seeking the divorce and their emotional needs and vulnerabilities. The affected family may even be introduced by the cancer divorce attorney to various cancer welfare groups, in order to better assist the couple in coping with the illness. Cancer divorce lawyers may sometimes also try to prevent an actual legal separation by convincing the couples to attend some sort of couples counseling sessions within many of the cancer resource groups.

Unfortunately, a large percentage of marriages simply will not be able to stand against the reality of the cancer. It may not, in the end, be possible to save the marriage especially in cases wherein the marriage was already disintegrating prior to the cancer diagnosis. In these cases, it may be necessary to obtain the services of a specialized cancer divorce attorney because the legal, emotional, financial, and psychological aspects are so very inter-related in these cases. Human relationships are so complex and inter-dependent, that most of us have a hard enough time managing them when we're healthy. To study and understand these complications and provide a good array of options, a professional cancer divorce attorney is truly an imperative.

Divorce Attorney: How to Choose the Right One For You

Divorce Attorney

Divorce is a stressful time for everyone. There are many raw emotions to deal with, maybe even children to think of, and on top of all that, you have to investigate divorce attorneys. While divorce attorneys don't come cheap, they can help ease the stress of a clean break, with all parties adequately looked after.

Ensuring that you find the right divorce attorney means finding one who makes you feel comfortable throughout the process. It is sometimes helpful to get recommendations on divorce attorneys from friends who have been through a divorce. However, each situation is different, so it is vital to interview a number of divorce attorneys before you decide on the one for you.

When interviewing divorce attorneys there are some questions that will provide you with a good foundation on which to base your final decision.

Initial Consultation - Free Or Fee

Before you physically go and meet with your prospective divorce attorneys, check as to whether they charge a fee for their initial consultation. In larger cities, like Los Angeles and Chicago, divorce attorneys will charge a small fee for their initial consultations. While this practice shouldn't deter you from seeing the attorney, think twice about interviewing a divorce attorney charging a large fee for an initial consultation. These attorneys can sometimes specialize in high profile divorces and, unless that's you, you probably won't need their expertise.

Divorce Law Specialist Or Generalist

It's important to ask your selected divorce attorneys whether they solely practice divorce law, or if it is just a part of their overall practice. If they don't specialize in divorce law, ask them to give you real examples (respecting confidentiality of course), of their divorce clients. If they only have one or two divorces that they have handled before, be extra critical in the other areas of your interview.

If you have children caught up in the divorce, it is also helpful to ask whether are certified in family law. Family law has many different facets, which vary from state to state. Ensuring your divorce attorney is fully qualified will ensure you get the best for your children.

Fees And Total Cost

An attorney's fees can often be incredibly expensive. However, in your interviews ask for a complete breakdown of fee structures. This is essential to avoid being charged with hidden fees at the end of the divorce process. Many divorce attorneys charge by the hour. Some even charge by the minute, so find out how your prospective divorce attorney charges.

Also, investigate whether you are 'on the clock' the minute your prospective divorce attorney picks up the phone. Find out if you will be charged for phone calls where you ask a quick question, such as "Did you send me the paperwork to sign?"

Disbursements are also common in the legal profession. This is where clients are charged a set amount to cover photocopying, faxing, mailing, and more. While this is all necessary, don't be afraid to question your prospective attorney on the matter, especially if you have a simple case.

Ask your prospective divorce attorney for a total cost figure. Most divorce attorneys you interview will find it difficult to answer this question. Look for an attorney who asks detailed questions about your particular situation. Their thoroughness during your interview will give you a look at how thorough they may handle your divorce. At the end of the interview, you should have a rough estimate of the total cost with plenty of room for unforeseen extras. Asking these main questions in your interview will ensure that you choose the right divorce attorneys in Chicago Los Angeles, or any other city.

About the Author: Christine O'Kelly is an author for John C. Vojta, Attorney at Law. The Vojta Law Office has a team of Chicago divorce attorneys specializing in divorces, separations, adoptions, paternity, child custody, and spousal support. Vojta Law assists people needing divorce attorneys in Chicago.

Divorce Attorney: 10 Pre-Divorce Actions

Divorce Attorney

Divorce is undoubtedly a very traumatic process and affects a great deal of your emotional and financial situation. But sometimes for the better good, this traumatic process is necessary and coping up with it may take a bit of an effort but eventually everything works out. Getting a divorce these days is not much of an issue as most of the legal technicalities could be handled by an attorney and you do not even have to worry about finding one because you can do it online too. Every state has different laws for divorce and other areas such that and its better to hire an attorney rather than stepping into all of this alone cause believe it or not you would need support somewhere down the road and attorneys really help when situation like this occurs. There are several pre-divorce actions you should consider before filing for divorce.

1. Line up your finances: Before filing for divorce, you should make a list of all the finances you have including joint or individual assets, liabilities, credit card statements, bank accounts, insurance plans, retirement plans etc. Your divorce attorney would need the list of your finances to prepare for your divorce case and having it prepared before hand makes the process much faster and you would have an idea about the division of the assets and liabilities before filing the divorce.

2. You think you can handle the finances? Up until now your house was jointly or single-handedly managed by your spouse. Before filing the divorce you should consider your financial situation a bit. Think about if you can handle the finances alone. If not, then is your spouse ready to pay a percentage of your expenses? On all these grounds your attorney would be able to prepare the right case for you. Try getting some help from your financial advisor(s) regarding the situation and analyze the whole thing.

3. Property issues: According to state divorce law, only that property which is jointly-owned or is acquired during marriage is supposed to be divided. Prior-marriage properties are not divided according to state laws. This sounds easy but believes me you would cry "Jesus Christ!" once this get bad. Its one of those legal technicalities where you should let your attorney work for you.

4. Get an Attorney: Cleaning up your own mess by yourself is something very brave and not many people do that but in a sensitive matter like divorce where so much is involved you should get a pro to work out things for you. Sure you can do it by yourself but it is not recommended for you unless you yourself know law or happen to be an attorney. Attorneys line up your legal work including your financial statements etc and work the way you want them to plus it really helps a lot when someone is there to advise you the right thing in difficult times and it makes the decision-making process a lot easier. So, get an attorney.

5. Close Assessment: When you get into a divorce case you are letting the court, attorneys, and your spouse to scan and analyze every bit of a detail of your life like a DNA sample. Everything affects a great deal of court's decision so you should make sure to be as rational as possible during the case. Rational in all senses: behavior, behavior with children, financial activities, your lifestyle to be precise. The court and your spouse (specially) would be scrutinizing your activities to get any made-up evidences so try not to be on the edge during the case.

6. Child-Custody: If there are children involved in the case then you should know your rights about child custody and you should consult your attorney for any assistance required about child-custody and state laws in that regards.

7. Set of Documents before you file for divorce: You would need to have your and your spouse's income documents (paycheck statements, tax return etc), monthly bank statements, 401k (account statement of pension account, pre-marriage account statement), complete records of credit/debit card transactions, real estate records (deed of trust, warranty deed, documents to prove any prior-marriage individually owned real estate assets, purchase slips), debt and mortgages statements (payoff balance statements, creditor's statements showing payoff position), correspondence proofs (faxes, emails or letters in which your spouse admitted anything relevant).

8. Understanding of rights: Fully understand your rights before filing for divorce. You should know about the right property distribution, alimony, child support/custody rights, and distribution of debts right (at the time of the divorce, debts are equally divided according to the state laws and case scenarios). Consult your divorce attorney for the awareness of your rights when it comes to divorce.

9. Relieve some pressure off: With a traumatizing situation like divorce where you cut almost half of your life away from yourself including someone you took vows with, you ought to be stressful and angry. Realize that life has ups and downs and the only way to survive is to move on. It of course takes quite a time to heal but by trying harder, it's going to be alright eventually. You can try visiting new places to divert your mind from all the stress and be social. If you cut yourself off from the society just because you are going through crisis then the crisis are going to be much harder and you don't want that for sure.

10. You really think this is it? Always keep your mind open to think if this is really what you want. Divorce is an option but not an obligation. Things sometimes don't work out and if we analyze our situations a bit so we might be wrong somewhere so always keep your doors open for getting things work out. As they say, it's never too late so it's true that it's never too late to make things right. If you go for the right thing with the right attitude then there is no chance that you would fail.

For further information regarding divorce laws in different states and divorce attorneys, please visit:

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Divorce Attorney: The Divorce Attorney Discovery Trap

Divorce Attorney

For those going through a divorce who already have a Rhode Island Divorce Lawyer, this may be something you have come across. It is called "template discovery". It is not a practice that I participate in. Some divorce lawyers will justify the practice by stating that template discovery is necessary to prevent a claim by the client of legal malpractice on their part. I completely disagree.

I am, however, getting ahead of myself. It is best that I explain what "template discovery" is.

During the course of any litigation process, including divorces and separations, their are certain procedural rules that allow for methods to be used to "discover" the other party's position, asset, etc. These methods are best referred to as "legal tools" that are afforded to litigants and their attorneys.

One such tool is called "Interrogatories". These are simply questions that must be answered under oath or objected to by the person to whom they have been sent within forty (40) days of the date they were sent. The date they were sent is known as the date of certification and it is contained in a formal "Certification" clause at the bottom of the interrogatories and other forms of discovery. Interrogatories are limited to thirty (30) in number unless a party obtains permission of the Rhode Island Family Court.

Another such discovery tool is called a Request for Production of Documents and Other Things. This is a document prepared and sent to an opposing party for him or her to produce documents and other relevant things for inspection within twenty (20) days of the date the request was sent as set forth in the "Certification" or to object to the production based upon a legal basis or privilege. Requests for Production of Documents are unlimited in number and may be sent in numerous sets. Although the Rhode Island Domestic Relations Rules of Procedure required only that you produce the documents and other things for copying and inspection (presumably at the opposing party's expense), litigants typically produce copies of the documents and other things to the extent possible and mail their to the opposing party to their divorce attorney.

Another discovery tool provided by Rule 36 of the Rhode Island Rules of Domestic Relations Procedure is called a Request for Admissions. In this document a divorce litigant is ask to admit either the truthfulness of a particular statement or the genuineness or authenticity of a particular document. Litigants who receive a Request for Admissions have only ten (10) days from the date of Certification on the document to object to the request based upon a legal ground or privilege and only twenty (20) days to file their formal response to the requests that are not properly objected to. Failure to file the objections in a timely fashion, and failure to file a response within the (20) days is considered a waiver of objection and the genuineness of documents and statements are deemed admitted.

Depositions are also a discovery tool that may be used in the Rhode Island Family Court but permission of the court must first be obtained before a deposition may be taken and depositions are not pertinent to this article.

Now that you understand a bit more about the discovery tools available in a Rhode Island Divorce proceeding you will better be able to understand the concept of "template discovery".

Template discovery is usually reserved to Interrogatories and Requests for Production of Documents. In essence the divorce attorney has created a set of Interrogatories and/or Request for Production of Documents as a "template". In other words, the Interrogatories and/or Request for Production of Documents contain every question and every request that the attorney might want to ask in ANY divorce case. Now a portion of the Interrogatories and the Requests for Production might well relate to your case. In fact it is possible that that all might relate to your case. However, these are templates that were created months or even years ago to be used over and over again. Generally they are given to a secretary the caption is changed to put the name of you and your spouse, the Docket number is changed and the date of Certification is filled in differently.

Now, I must admit that as a divorce attorney this is economical. You have one set of each document and you send it out in every case. It saves enormous time for the attorney. Yet here is the kicker. If each of those documents took 2 hours to create, even if it was 10 years ago, you'll find in some cases that you as the client are charged 4 hours for these Interrogatories and Request for Production of Documents. Do you find that fair? I certainly don't.

Take a look at the Interrogatories and Request for Production of documents that were sent to your spouse by your attorney. Do they relate specifically and ONLY to your divorce issues or do they ask for a bunch of things that don't relate to your situation at all? If they don't, call you divorce attorneys and get your bill. How much were you charged for "preparing' those documents? If you see several hours of time on your bill and the discovery isn't specific to your case, you've been a victim of "template discovery" a method used by some divorce attorneys to make extra money without doing the work.

Divorce is hard enough without your own attorney taking advantage of you. In closing, there is one more thing you may want to consider. Did your divorce attorney ask your permission before sending out this discovery?

If you think you've been taken advantage of in the manner described above, you may want to take it up with your attorney. You may be due a credit on your bill.

Learn more about RI Divorce Lawyer Christopher A. Pearsall.

Get FREE detailed information from the RI Divorce Attorney

Contact Attorney Christopher Pearsall at (401) 632-6976 now for your low-cost consultation from Rhode Island's Most Affordable Divorce Lawyer.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. You should not take legal action without legal advice from a licensed practitioner who has been fully informed about your specific circumstances.

The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all attorneys in the general practice of law.

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Divorce Attorney: Interview Smartly Before You Hire a Divorce Attorney

Divorce Attorney

When a marriage has broken down, divorce is often inevitable and a divorce attorney needs to be found; some advice on what to look for is below:

Skilful in this type of case

Have the right disposition

Be trusted by their clients

In these circumstances you will need a divorce attorney who has at least half their workload in this area and one that is able to act as a mediator. It also follows that you feel comfortable with them and feel confident they will serve you well.

Those attorneys who prefer mediation will look to solve problems by talking and not through the conflict based approach many attorneys wish to provide. Preparation for both your divorce attorney and yourself is important so when you contact them, make sure you know exactly what you intend to question them about.

Make sure you know exactly what you intend to ask and record the answers as each time you contact your lawyer there will be a charge involved so note times dates and durations of conversations. Try to keep actual meetings to a minimum and where points have to be clarified, use the phone or send a letter.

An attorney does not come cheap so use them only for the purpose you hired them for, legal advice, they are not there as an emotional problem solver, there are other professionals who specialize in that area. To get the best out of your divorce attorney, leave any petty arguments you and your spouse have, aside from the divorce case.

Let your lawyer know from the start that you will be in charge of the case and they are there for legal advice and not as someone to lean on when things start getting rough. You are employing them for their experience but at the same time you need them to understand that it is your divorce and you want to make the decisions about how it is too proceed. Ask that you be sent copies of all documents and letters and let them know that you expect phone calls to be answered by the next working day after all you are the one paying the bills.

Not all cases need a courtroom to be decided upon so you could employ a lawyer just to help you with a marital settlement, legal information or advice. You may decide to carry out research first before you contact them, only asking your lawyer questions you have not been able to find answers too. Some people only use a divorce attorney to re-read and check a marital settlement they have drafted on their own but at least these people have the backup of using a lawyer if all else fails.