Although we enter marriage intending for it to be a lifetime commitment, circumstances can change in an instant and exigent factors can damage relationships in ways that are irreparable. However, such occurrences are not beyond the realm of expectation, so society does provide remedies and options for parties to move on and make the most of their post-divorce lives. With a competent divorce attorney, a divorce can be an opportunity to build a new life for the future rather than dwell on an unfortunate relationship in the past. Before you hire a Bay Area divorce lawyer you should do some research to ensure your rights are protected.
First, no matter what anyone says to the contrary, it is essential to have a lawyer guide you through divorce proceedings. In many ways, the law treats marriage like a contract, so the negotiations for contracts that aren’t completed as planned involve a lot of legal concepts and terminology. Because of the gravity of the situation, a misunderstanding can be devastating. Considering what you have to lose, the risk of going forward without legal counsel, particularly if your former spouse has legal counsel, is one that is not even worth considering.
Secondly, you need to realize that every lawyer is not the best lawyer for you. Analyzing the experience that a lawyer has is crucial, so be sure to review what work the lawyer has done prior to handling your case. Most attorneys have this information published on their firm’s website, so it should be readily accessible. Be sure that the attorney you plan to consult has experience working on divorce cases, not just any experience. Although being in the legal field does provide insight into a variety of issues, the best advocate for you will be one who has a consistent history of experience working exclusively on divorce cases. This will ensure the attorney is up to date with the latest changes in divorce law and understands the considerations one should make when difficult issues arise.
Once you have settled on a lawyer, consider the option of having you and your spouse using the same attorney. This can help both of you save money and it also ensures that there will be no miscommunications between lawyers that can cost you some assets or rights. Having the same lawyer will make the proceedings easier and will promote a better chance that both sides will be satisfied with the outcome. It can also be easier to work out payment plans and settlement options when you are working with the same lawyer.
Additionally, you should look into whether any recent cases in your jurisdiction are considered to be “landmark” or game-changing decisions. Typically, cases like these reflect changes in society and policies that are intended to promote a distribution of right that is more closely aligned with community values. Asking your attorney whether or not he is aware of such cases is also an important question to ask when you’re trying to figure out how capable your representative will be.
Lastly, be sure you know how to negotiate. If you don’t be sure to brush up on your negotiation skills using a book or reference website. Even references that are intended for business professionals can help you identify strategies for protecting your interests and reaching compromises that are beneficial for both sides. Bargaining is a difficult skill to master, but when you talk over your concerns with your attorney and prioritize your desires before entering negotiations, you can find success.
Although modern divorce law is more simple than it was in the past, there are still many potential pitfalls. Be sure to do research to ensure you find the best Bay Area divorce lawyer for you. But once you hire a lawyer, your work doesn’t end; you need to be sure that your interests are represented at every step of the way.