Caution: Be Careful Choosing Your Divorce Attorney!
As a divorce coach, I see many clients who are unsatisfied with their divorce lawyers. The situation is typical. They are confident in their choice of an attorney in the beginning of the divorce, but as the months and sometimes years linger on, they start to lose faith in the professional they have entrusted their future with.
Unfortunately, there are some divorce lawyers who are only interested in making money. They quickly assess your financial picture during your initial consultation. When the retainer runs out and they do not see any foreseeable way to earn more income from your case, they encourage you to settle, even if the settlement may not be in your best interest.
I am currently coaching a client in this exact situation right now. Her lawyer is advising her to take a settlement that would include no alimony, even though she gave up a thriving career years ago to be a stay at home mom. Her husband currently earns six figures a year. Based on the length of the marriage, in most states this client should be eligible for alimony, although the length and amount would vary. So why would this client’s attorney advise her to forgo alimony in her divorce settlement? I suspect it is because, due to the rapid decline in the housing market, their home has very little equity and there are no other liquid assets. It appears as though her attorney has lost interest in her case and if the case is prolonged or goes to trial , she will not make a profit.
In all fairness, lawyers are in business to make money and have high expenses they must cover. If a client does not have the ability to pay, they may have a hard time legally removing themselves from a case. Not all divorce lawyers are callous and uncaring. The problem arises when they put their own financial interests ahead of what is in the best interest of their clients.
You must exercise caution when choosing your divorce attorney. You need to interview people you know who have gone through a divorce. Consider what you hear. Did someone go through hell because they had a bad lawyer, or did a good lawyer help them through a hell that could’ve been a lot worse? Did another person’s divorce go smoothly only because there was little to contest, or did the lawyer successfully foresee problems, and settle them in advance? You may want to find someone who was in a situation similar to yours. Can this lawyer avoid crises? Can this lawyer handle crises?
It is also crucial that your personalities click. You will spend a lot of time with this person; you need to feel comfortable with him or her. In the end, consider all these factors, and allow your intuition some sway. Can you get along with this person? Do you trust them? With the right attorney’s guidance you can work together and speed the process of your divorce. Once you find the right attorney, you will feel more confident in your divorce outcome.
Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., with evening and weekend consultations available by appointment.
The Law Office of Kelly Koch is located in Corpus Christi, Texas and provides family law representation to clients throughout South Texas from communities such as Corpus Christi, Robstown, Port Aransas, Aransas Pass, Sinton, Kingsville, Alice, Portland and Rockport.
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