- Not all advice is good advice. Everyone thinks that they are a divorce expert because they themselves went through a divorce or they know someone who went through one. Keep in mind that every case is unique and follow the advice of your lawyer.
- To find a reputable lawyer, check with reputable sources. Personal referrals are important, but because every case and client is different, objective credentials are helpful too.
- Chemistry between the lawyer and client is important. Choose a lawyer that you respect. You will need to depend on that lawyer's advice and guidance with respect to the most important issues in your life.
- Use common sense and beware of a lawyer who tells you those things he or she thinks you want to hear. There are no guarantees and promises a lawyer can honestly make about the outcome of a case.
- Avoid the impulse to be unnecessarily punitive and vindictive towards your soon-to-be ex-spouse. You most probably will still have to deal with your former spouse long after the case and lawyers go away.
- Consider alternative means of dispute resolution. Sometimes you have no choice but to fight. Often, however, trials represent the failures of the lawyers or the litigants. At the end of the day, you have to pay for the trial and are stuck with the results a judge thinks is best for you.
- There is a difference between being optimistic' and realistic' with regard to expectations at the conclusions of one's case. Optimists consider the best case scenarios as likely outcomes too often, and frequently come away from the divorce process disappointed. Realists, usually those who accept that there is no "justice" upfront, are more likely to leave the divorce process feeling like they were treated fairly.
- Be patient. It took a long time to make your mess; it will take a while to clean it up.
- You are entitled to having your phone calls returned promptly, your questions answered honestly, and a billing statement provided regularly or upon demand.
- A client must recognize that the consequences of some of their decisions are uncorrectable. A good lawyer will work hard to fix past mistakes, but he or she cannot always correct the consequences of bad decisions.
12:00 AM EST
November 1, 2004