Continued from page 1
Mediation may be best answer. If you and your spouse can still communicate and have some common ground, mediation may be most economical, efficient, and effective way to resolve issues in divorce. The mediator must be well trained and be competent in area of family law. You should consult with an attorney before and after mediation to be properly advised on negotiation of issues and on whether final result is a comprehensive solution.
You may need guidance in selecting an attorney. Your union, company corporate attorney or human resource department may be a source of names. The attorney should be practicing primarily, if not exclusively, in area of family law (the area has become too complicated to be effectively handled by generalist). The attorney should have most current research software and resources available within office (Lexis and FinPlan Divorce Planner are good examples). Competence, comfort and convenience are three primary considerations in selecting attorney. Evaluate whether attorney has a plan which will properly allocate resources to achieve realistic and wise goals.
You should be cognizant of importance of limiting conversation with attorney to nuts and bolts and not try to convince lawyer that soon to be ex-spouse is a less than admirable human being; that's for a counselor. It will also save time and resources for an already stretched budget. Also, one should not fear asking another attorney for a second opinion at any point in process. It is no more improper than having a doctor provide a second opinion on a serious medical condition.
The divorce process is time consuming in even simplest cases and will make demands upon your schedule. Because courts and your attorney are probably working same schedule as you are, it is probable that some absences and interruptions of work will be unavoidable. Court dates, especially, are not optional. Advise your employer immediately of any court dates, as those occasions may require an absence from work for at least one half day. When you provide documentation regarding income or other employment information, keep in mind that courts have strict guidelines and time limits. Promptly providing necessary information is essential.
Lastly, as an attorney, I remind my clients that legal process of divorce is basically to divide assets, arrange custody, establish support, and address insurance and debts among other issues. It is not last argument or final revenge. While attorney can assist a person going through divorce process on legal matters, emotional help is more appropriately available from close friends or professional counselors.
Please contact me if I can ever be of assistance in answering a question about legal representation in divorce process.
Charles Goldstein practices family law in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is committed to providing accessible, effective and reasonably priced family law litigation and mediation services. For a free telephone consultation, call 952.449.5299. http://www.fmlylaw.com