Divorces are common these days. The sad fact is that 60% of all marriages end up in divorce or separation. Though the emotional aspects of a breakup can be devastating for the parties and children, a Los Angeles divorce lawyer can help ease the separation.
A truly competent divorce attorney is an advisor, advocate, negotiator, mediator, and psychologist and trusted intimate so far as family issues go. While being well-experienced in litigating in family court, your attorney should also know what you can do to minimize the trauma in the transition from married to separated or divorced status.
Divorces or separations occur for a variety of reasons. They may involve differences on how the children should be raised, allegations or evidence of infidelity, lack of interest or even domestic violence or abuse. You need to know your rights and legal options under the applicable state law where you live, which can mean your attorney having to obtain a protective order or securing funds for your immediate living expenses and legal fees. Your attorney needs to be adept at discussing how best to resolve issues of custody, visitation and property distribution with you.
If there are children involved, you will need to know what child support is owed or if spousal maintenance is warranted and for how long. For instance, if you were in the marriage for several years, have children, and/or did not continue or seek a career or a degree, then some kind of maintenance or alimony might be awarded.
Characteristics of a Good Divorce Lawyer
A good divorce lawyer can make your separation much easier. You do need to find an attorney with whom you can communicate easily and regularly and who promptly returns phone calls. Your lawyer should keep you fully informed of the costs of your case, the progress toward resolution of the issues in dispute and if the law is on your side. If your attorney has not already done so, ask for ways you can save on fees such as by handling some things on your own.
Another aspect of a very competent attorney is one who seeks an early disposition of your case through methods other than litigation and who can finalize your legal separation on favorable or at least very reasonable terms. It is always best to keep your case from being decided by a judge since few parties claim victory after a divorce trial. Carefully consider what compromises or other suggestions your attorney is making, especially if they appear well-balanced and more likely to be acceptable by your spouse or partner.
Your separation may have issues concerning financial and child custody matters. A good divorce lawyer may have other professionals advise you on financial matters, real estate or business valuation appraisals. There are even divorce coaches or psychologists to whom your attorney can refer you. Having other professionals on your side can impress the court if it has to make a determination on the value of property or business interests or can at least persuade your spouse or partner that they are in a weaker position.
If your separation is less than amicable, then mediation may provide a forum that is a less costly and less traumatic way of arriving at a compromise and resolution of the issues in your case. A neutral third party, usually another family lawyer, will listen to each party, consider their concerns and situation, and make recommendations. Your Los Angeles divorce lawyer is there with you to advise you on the adequacy of any proposals or offers and the consequences and to make the process less litigious. Many separation and divorce settlement agreements arise out of this process.
Before you marry, you might consider a prenuptial agreement that can make a future separation or divorce easier to handle since you will be aware of what property or payments you will receive or have to distribute. Prenuptials are scrutinized strictly by the court if challenged. Both parties must fully disclose their sources of income, assets and debts and should have the agreement reviewed and signed off by their respective Los Angeles divorce attorney. A prenuptial can allow one spouse to give up a career to care for the children, for example, knowing that if they separate or divorce that they will receive adequate alimony or maintenance.
In any separation or divorce, having a divorce attorney on your side who will not only advocate for your interests but who will seek out ways to ease the trauma and costs can make the experience that much easier.