The focus of this week's article is what to look for in a good divorce attorney, if your marriage is heading towards an irretrievable breakdown. It's fair to say that most divorces will produce varying degrees of hurt, anger and feelings of betrayal by the parties involved. Having the right attorney to advise you during this difficult time of your life cannot be over emphasized. In my years of practice I've come to recognize some truisms regarding divorce, which I share here with you.
The first is to remember that divorce is not limited to a particular type of person or even race or religion. Many "good" people get divorced. For some, divorce may thrust upon them and therefore would come as a complete shock. I've seen people who thought were in a happy, stable marriage only to be suddenly confronted by the fact that their marriage was collapsing and the world as they knew it, was no more. Love is indeed "a funny thing". If your spouse has now found comfort in another's arms and wants 'out' of the marriage, there is very little you can do in terms of the law to demand reconciliation. What qualities should you look for in a divorce attorney?
It goes without saying that she or he should know the divorce laws very well and be kept up to date with what is happening in that arena both in terms of recent case law, as well as changes in legislation. The attorney should be someone with whom you can trust to have your best interests at heart at all times. Apart from knowing the law, the attorney should also be accessible, professional, empathetic to your situation and have a good "listening ear". She or he should be caring about your well being and those of the children (if any) and offer advice with a degree of professional detachment. It's crucial that the attorney does not become so totally immersed in the situation where he loses objectivity and get a false sense of reality.
During my years in legal practice I think I've come across the gamut of human emotions which people who are going through a divorce, are faced with. These may range from feelings of betrayal and pain to vengefulness and greed. Sometimes getting professional counseling to help cope with the sadness and feelings of loss that may accompany the divorce process is necessary. My role as a divorce attorney is provide the client with legal advice by presenting all the options available to the client.
Together with the client we then work out the most suited solution and seek the best legal outcome possible. In this way the client is in full control and is able to make an informed decision, knowing the positive and negative consequences of the stance he or she has chosen to adopt. Whilst the attorney must be tough in representing the client's interests, she or he should also consider alternative means to achieve a resolution of the matter.
These would include negotiating with the "other- side" attorneys or considering mediation, as a way to achieve an expeditious and cost effective solution to the divorce process.
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