The 10 Myths of Filing for Divorce
If you have been thinking about divorce, it’s likely you are frightened, worried about your future and concerned about money. There is a lot of misinformation out there from well-meaning family, friends and online searches. We are here to help you get clear about your options. Let’s take a look at 1
Myth 1: I can handle this on my ownFrom the very beginning of your situation, legal representation can provide needed or necessary direction and preparation to ensure your ability to negotiate favorable terms and achieve your goals in court. An experienced divorce attorney can also ensure that you are being treated fairly by all parties involved including your spouse and the courts.
While hiring an attorney for a divorce is not mandatory, you could be risking your future by trying to work through this alone. Understanding the intricate procedures involved during divorce proceedings can be challenging, but it is essential to ensure that both parties receive what they are entitled to.
Your attorney has years of experience and can offer and obtain the best outcome for your situation.
On the other hand, maybe you just want to confirm what your rights are.
With any divorce you have choices. Competent legal counsel can help you identify the choices and help you get the best possible outcome.
Myth 2: What I share with an attorney will be used by my spouse against meWhat you discuss with your attorney is privileged and private, but, this is not the case for anything you say to your spouse's attorney.
Many people often delay making an appointment even though the matters they want to discuss are weighing heavily on their minds. One of their main concerns is privacy.
I want to assure you that all communication between you and our professional attorneys is both privileged and private. Your personal family matters are safe with us.
Myth 3: All attorneys are the sameNothing could be further form the truth. Divorce law is a complicated practice. The laws are changing all the time and are different from state to state. These changing laws make it hard for people to know their rights.
Not all lawyers perform all of the work necessary to aggressively defend his or her client in every case. A skilled attorney will not compromise any professional standards and will take every action possible to best serve his or her client.
The best divorce attorneys are experienced in the law, the court you are attending, and the process.
Just like in any other profession, there are higher skilled attorneys that you can connect with and trust. Unfortunately there are also barely competent attorneys that cause more harm to your relationship and finances. Do your homework and meet with as many attorneys as necessary until you find one you're comfortable with.
Myth 4: A divorce attorney will lie to me about their feesYou may have been told that when you hire an attorney that you will never know how much you will pay.
That is simply not true. When armed with the right questions you will know exactly what representation will cost you
You can receive the answers you need just by asking some simple questions:
o Do you charge a flat fee or are your fees hourly?
o If you charge by the hour, what is your rate?
o Will I have to pay a retainer fee and if so, how does that work?
o If you charge a flat fee, what does it include and what does it not include?
o Is the retainer refundable or a flat fee?
o Do I have to pay it all up front?
o What are my expected expenses outside of the attorney fee?
o Can you provide an estimate for these extra expenses?
o What are the possible consequences of taking certain positions?
o When is the juice not worth the squeeze?
o How do I properly recognize the value of settling versus not settling?
o How much of the work will the support staff handle? What are their rates?
Myth 5: The best divorce attorneys are expensiveThere are many well-meaning people who don't always know the facts.
In fact, a co-worker or family member may be telling you incorrect information. You may have been told that you have to hire the attorneys who drive fancy cars and wear expensive suits to be sure you will be served best.
When interviewing an attorney, you should find out in detail what work the attorney will do to defend you in your case. Sometimes, the attorney who will charge you the most money is not the best lawyer for you.
Some questions to ask the attorney are:
o Are there legal issues he or she will research?
o Will he or she interview any witnesses?
o How often does he or she go to court?
o When was the last time he or she handled a case like yours?
o Does he or she view the case as complex or simple? Why?
o Is the attorney smart? Motivated? Well educated? Experienced?
o Does the attorney have the resources to handle your case?
Ask these questions before factoring in price.
There's no shame in seizing the very best outcome. Seek advice from someone who is working on your behalf and who will discuss their fees in a straightforward manner. Your future depends on it.
Myth 6: As a Grandparent, I have no rightsGrandparents can encounter difficulty in maintaining contact with grandchildren when their own adult child is the non residential parent. Hostility between the parents may result in a grandparent being cut-off from their grandchild by no fault of their own.
Whether a grandchild's parents are divorced or were never married, an attorney can help grandparents explore the possibility of establishing their right to regular visitation or guardianship in certain limited circumstances.
Other situations where a grandparent's right to visitation or custody can be advanced include:
o Stepping into a parent's visitation schedule in the event of overseas military deployment.
o Petitioning for primary custody in circumstances where neither parent is available to carry-out parental responsibilities effectively.
o Applying for temporary guardianship in cases where drug or alcohol problems exist, conditions of neglect or abuse, or the incarceration of the residential parent make placement with the grandparent a good alternative to foster care.
Myth 7: An attorney can't help me with an abusive spouse during a divorce.While we can't speak for every attorney, helping you protect yourself and your children in the event of domestic violence or spousal abuse is one of the main responsibilities of an experienced and caring family law firm. At our firm, we have zero tolerance for those who terrorize their families and endanger their children.
Working closely with law enforcement, investigators, and other experts as needed, our office employs every legal tool and resource available to protect you and your children.
It's important to document instances of domestic violence in order to provide information to police and prosecutors. The following kinds of information are important in building a case against an abuser:
o Photos of injuries and damages.
o Copies of threatening letters, texts, and emails.
o Threatening phone messages
o Copies of medical or emergency room reports
o Police Reports. Be sure to contact law enforce for each occurrence of domestic violence.
As your attorney, we can file an Injunction for Protection on your behalf to ensure the abuser is removed or barred from your home. Depending on your situation, we can also put you in contact with counseling and support services including shelters, if necessary.
We are vigilant in our efforts to protect you from your abuser and staying in contact with the authorities so we are prepared to respond to any violations involving Injunction for Protection, criminal assault, or phone harassment.
Myth 8: Mothers are always awarded primary custody of the children in a divorceThis is not true. Courts have the responsibility of making custody decisions that best serve the children. Stability for the children and continuity are among the judge's primary concerns.
The judge will review the facts of the family including evidence showing which parent primarily cared for the children during the marriage. In our modern family structures, courts are increasingly favoring a plan a allowing both parents equal time with the children. You should understand that the court considers many elements in determining the child's best interest. A good attorney will help you understand every element to be considered and what steps can immediately be taken to help achieve the outcome you desire.
A family law attorney serves as your partner in a custody situation. The trusted relationship between a family law attorney and the client will permit sound decisions to be made about approaching these delicate matters. Don't go into a custody evaluation without knowing everything there is to expect. An ounce of prevention can be worth a pound of cure.
The current law regarding custody determinations is gender-neutral and each determination is made after considering many elements.
Myth 9: Why bother getting alimony or child support since it isn't enforcedWhen a divorce is finalized, either by mutual agreement of the parties, the court finalizes the property distribution, parental responsibility and timesharing, child support, and alimony orders. From that point forward, both parties are legally obligated to follow the Final Judgment of Divorce or risk contempt proceedings.
Unfortunately, not everyone abides by the court order all the time. If you are experiencing problems receiving your court-ordered child support or alimony, or you need help with a parent who regularly violates the visitation agreement, a good divorce attorney can help. Not every violation or breach of the Order is given the same weight by the court. A good attorney can answer your specific questions about enforcement.
There are a variety of actions that may be taken against a party who is not living up to the terms of a court order. Depending upon the type of order that has been violated, consequences may include:
o Garnishing wages (having money taken directly from a paycheck) in cases of child support and alimony.
o Seizing assets in a bank account.
o Loss of their driver's license until arrearages are paid.
The thing to remember is that enforcement actions typically must be initiated by the non breaching party or victim. In some circumstance the state may go after the other party on your behalf. It is wise to have an experienced attorney review your circumstances and inform you of your options.
Myth 10: I can't afford to hire an attorney - they are too expensiveHow much a divorce eventually costs depends primarily on you and your spouse and how you decide to approach a divorce action. Typically, you should anticipate paying more for a divorce dealing with more complex issues or if one or both parties refuse to cooperate.
If the two of you have a civil relationship now and can continue that civil relationship through the divorce process, then the involvement and the cost of a divorce attorney will be minimal. If you do not get along with your spouse and must use your divorce attorney to resolve every aspect of your case for you, then the cost will be more.
How much your divorce will cost is, in large part, in your hands and within your control.
Final ThoughtsThank you for taking the time to read this Special Report. It is my intention to provide you with good information that you can use to make a more informed decision.
There is no way that I could answer every question or cover every situation in this Special Report. The best way for you to get the most accurate information concerning your unique situation is to make an appointment today with my office.
You are under no obligation during this appointment, and we can talk about your unique situation and help you determine the next step together.
Give my office a call today at (727) 888-2366.
Remove the stress, worry, and doubt and speak to us today. You will be glad you did.
Bill Beck, Esq.