Divorce is difficult even in the best of circumstances. Being on the other side of a year-long uncoupling, I can look back now and recognize a few key pieces of advice I would offer to anyone in the beginning stages First, do not try to do it alone. The ability to navigate Pro Se and part ways amicably is certainly not the norm, especially if a third party/new significant other is involved. I tried to conduct my divorce Pro Se for several months before hiring Donna. Looking back, I should have hired her immediately, it likely would have expedited the processes much more efficiently. Donna was more than my attorney. She was my champion. My children’s champions. She always handled herself with the utmost decorum and had our best interests at the forefront of every discussion.
Second, get the opinion of someone who has been through the process or is in the field. An attorney friend of mine recommended Donna. She told me Donna would do the job well, and she did. She was on top of everything, even when my ex-husband’s attorney was not. We never missed a deadline, and Donna came prepared for each hearing, anticipating all curve balls. We finalized on primary placement of our children months before finalizing the divorce because Donna had the foresight to have the documentation ready and on hand at a pre-trial date.
Third, choose a lawyer you can relate to. Divorce is brutal. Working with an attorney you do not like, makes it much, much worse. Working with Donna made a bad situation tolerable. She was not the slick, out-for-herself attorney that you always hear about. She listened to my concerns, responded to all my questions, told me when she thought I needed to take a break from all things divorce, and even looked at me, more than once, and said, “you look like you need a hug” and then gave me one. Donna was more than my attorney. She is someone I would call my friend.
I owe Donna far more than I could express. In a divorce you give and take. You never get everything you want…but I got what was most important. My children. If all of this isn’t enough to convince you of Donna’s prowess, I’ll leave you with this: Donna is now representing a client referred to her by my ex-husband. Turns out he thought she was pretty good as well. That is one thing we can definitely agree on.