Divorce comes about in many different ways. Whether you initiated the divorce, together you and your spouse decided divorce was the right choice, or you were blindsided by your spouse’s unilateral decision to divorce, now that you are divorcing you need to build your divorce team. Some of this can be done with the assistance of your divorce lawyer. Building other parts of the team, however, require some conscious, proactive decision making on your part.
Building Your Divorce Team: Finding the Right Lawyer
Of course, having the right divorce attorney is essential to building your divorce team. But how does one find the “right lawyer.” As a starting point, you should find a lawyer that you feel comfortable with. Any lawyer can file the necessary paperwork to begin divorce proceedings. However, if you are not comfortable with your lawyer, how will you be able to trust their judgment? Divorce is often fraught with emotion. The stress associated with changes in one’s living situation, the financial strain of funding a divorce, the perception of judgment from family and friends can all contribute to feeling overwhelmed. When you have to make decisions about your future, you may need the objective thoughts of your attorney when assessing a proposed settlement or other course of action.
You also want an attorney who has family law experience. You may be very comfortable with your sister’s best friend, who happens to be a personal injury attorney. However, if your sister’s best friend doesn’t have experience in family law, your comfort level with her is probably not enough. Questions to ask a potential divorce attorney include:
- What percentage of your practice is family law?
- How much experience do you have with divorce cases?
- How many of your cases settle without a trial?
- Can you describe your billing process?
- Are you familiar with my spouse’s attorney?
- What do you think of mediation?
- Is your firm able to handle a collaborative divorce?
Finding the right divorce lawyer is an essential first step in building your divorce team. There is nothing wrong with interviewing several attorneys before making a decision. Another thing to consider is who else will be working on your case. Some family law practitioners work solo, while others have a team of paralegals and case managers who also work on the case. There are pros and cons to both approaches. The important thing is for you to understand the approach your attorney will take.
Building Your Divorce Team: Other Divorce Professionals
Depending on your specific situation, you may need one or more of the following additional divorce professionals:
- Forensic accountant
- Financial planner
- Parenting professionals
- Business valuation experts.
Each divorce is different, so the experts needed in one divorce may not be the experts needed in another. For example, sometimes one spouse hides assets. The professional needed to track down hidden assets wouldn’t be used in every case, only those where hiding assets is suspected.
Depending on whether you are seeking a collaborative divorce or are taking a more traditional approach will dictate whether you and your spouse pay for a single set of exerts or each pay for your own experts. It is a good idea to talk to prospective divorce attorneys to see what experts they may thin you need for your divorce.
Building Your Emotional Divorce Team
Your emotional divorce team is also important. While your legal team will take care of the legal divorce, coming to terms with your divorce emotionally is an entirely separate matter. In some cases, you have done the work for your emotional divorce already. In other cases, you may struggle with your emotional divorce for months or even years after the marriage is legally over.
Take some time to consider who you want on your emotional divorce team. Close and supportive friends are a good start. But also consider talking to a professional, such as a therapist, to help you through your emotional journey. You may be surprised at the feelings that a divorce evokes in you. It is a good idea to start building your divorce team for when you need them.
Do You Need a Divorce Attorney?
If you need a divorce attorney, contact the firm of Fait & DiLima. Our firm focuses exclusively on family law issues. We look forward to working with you to resolve your legal issues so you can move forward with your life. Contact us to schedule a consultation at (301) 888-6384. We maintain offices in Rockville and Frederick to serve your needs. After discussing your situation, we can identify potential professional divorce team members to assist in achieving your goals for your divorce.