Q: Does hiring a lawyer mean that I have to go to trial?
A: ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! Better than 90% of all civil cases – including divorces – settle at some time before trial. The issue really is how much money do you want to spend, how motin emotional capital do you want to invest and how much damage will your family suffer before youyou’re your spouse come to your collective senses and NEGOTIATE a deal that makes sense for both parties?
So I really don’t get “my day in court?” Highly unlikely. But the better question is: Do I want a judge who does not know me, my interests or my family to decide what the rest of my life is going to look like?
The bottom line is the more that you – and your to be ex-spouse – decide through a negotiated process; the more money you will save, the less time your divorce will take, the less damage that will be done to you and your family and the better the prospects for your future.
This reality is why at Hunt Legal Group we encourage active participation of our clients in restructuring their families and alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes such as mediation or collaborative law or even meaningful good faith negotiation in litigated divorce.
Q: Can I find an attorney to handle my divorce for a flat fee?
A: “Never say never,” but it is rare to find an attorney to handle a divorce – even a “simple” one – for a flat fee. If you do it is likely that the fee is more than you would traditionally pay or the lawyer is not that experienced in family law. The reason is that even simple divorces are nonetheless fairly complex and life-changing transactions.
People are motivated to seek a flat fee in order to not only control costs, but also in some cases to prevent the shark lawyer from running up the bill by making a fairly amicable divorce a war.
There are better ways to control legal costs. A truly simple divorce requires less time and, even if charged for on an hourly fee basis, still results in lower legal expense. Attorneys are generally unwilling to offer flat fees for divorces because of the unexpected and unknown circumstances that can quickly turn the simple into the complex. As the client you are better able to assess whether your divorce is truly amicable or whether there are potential divorce time bombs lying under the surface. Couples do not wake up one morning and decide to divorce. The decision is made over time, typically months or even years. During this time secrets between the parties accumulate. They may include stashing away some cash, hiding new credit card charges, withdrawing money from joint accounts or even secretly entering into a new relationship. The lawyer has no way of assessing whether one or more of these secrets are going turn the amicable negotiation process into a divorce nightmare. Therefore the experienced divorce attorney is not eager to make such a wager.
There are also better ways to control your divorce lawyer. First make your selection carefully and do not be overly focused on price. Does the lawyer understand what YOU want to have happen? Does he or she understand that YOU – with good counsel – want to control process and make the strategic decisions?
At Hunt Legal Group we require that you actively participate. We want to help you identify what your interests truly are and help you filter emotion from reasoned evaluation. This is why we eagerly endorse alternative dispute resolution (ADR) approaches in divorce such as mediation or collaborative law. Even in litigated divorces, efficiencies and ADR approaches can be employed. We know that this event in your life is a personal crisis and a life-changing event. We are dedicated to reducing the pain – and the cost – of the transformation of your family.
Q: As a Divorce Lawyer Do You Promote Divorce?
A: ABSOLUTELY NOT! Termination of a marriage is a life changing tragedy. Prospective clients frequently come to us for information as to the process, how much it might cost, how long it will take, what are the potential outcomes, etc. Then they go home and consider their options. Some return; some do not. The clients who return and wish to move forward have done so after careful consideration of all of their options, including counseling, reconciliation as well as termination of their marriage.
Even those who come to our office just seeking information, the very act of making the inquiry is not lightly entertained. We recognize that potential divorce clients are hurting when they come for a consultation. We listen compassionately and provide the information these people are seeking. But the decision to move forward is entirely the clients’. Even if the process is begun, clients can and sometimes do, change their minds. As the client, you control the process from the beginning to end.