Divorce Choices

Posted on September 10, 2013 by Gail Otis

This is the first in a series about how to consider options for pursuing a divorce and how to work with your attorney to keep costs down.

Experiencing a divorce can usually be described as one of the worst times in one's life. Regardless of how the action is initiated, or who wants the divorce, the experience is probably going to be extremely stressful, lengthy, and can often be very expensive. Before you take action, consider the options available for settling your divorce in a way that can reduce, if not eliminate, the stress and financial harm that frequently occurs in contested divorces. In the Massachusetts Probate & Family Court, a divorce is expected to take 14 months, on average, to be resolved. The length of time, and the cost, can increase drastically if the divorce becomes an angry battle over custody, support, and/or asset division.

Many times a divorce is initiated because one party feels wronged, and that anger can carry over into the decisions made as to how to proceed with the divorce. Taking some time to try to work out the anger before the divorce begins can be very beneficial. Whether you are the party seeking the divorce, or the spouse who feels betrayed and hurt, a divorce is often a painful process that is stressful for all involved - the parties (spouses), children, extended family, and even friends. One of the best things you can do for yourself before embarking on the divorce path is to begin working with a therapist to help you through all of the emotions that will follow. We encourage clients to begin working with a therapist as soon as the divorce becomes a possibility - don't wait until you are in crisis to try to find a good therapist.

The next step you should take is to find a good family law attorney, one who has considerable experience handling divorces, or other family law matters such as custody actions, modifications of divorce judgments, etc. It is important to meet with anyone you are considering retaining. You should ask how long they've been practicing, what percentage of their practice is divorce/family law matters, in which Probate & Family Court divisions do they typically practice, what is their hourly rate, how do they bill, do they issue an invoice monthly, how quickly do they return phone calls, etc. Does the firm have a website, has the attorney ever published any family law work, has the attorney ever been a speaker on family law issues, does the attorney attend annual continuing education meetings - answers to questions such as these will help you to understand whether the attorney possesses the qualifications that are needed to assist you and your family through the process. It is a good idea to solicit recommendations from friends or colleagues, but always meet with the prospective attorney and ask questions to help you to make the right decision. You will be working closely with that person throughout the difficult process, so it is very important that you feel as though you are heard, your questions are answered, that the attorney is accessible, and that your case is as important as all their other cases.

Divorce Tags: Divorce, Litigation, Attorney, Family law, Therapist, Custody, Support, Modification Comments (0) Trackbacks (0)

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