Signs your Divorce Attorney is Not Right for You!
Just a little advice. If you’re getting divorced don’t hire the real estate attorney
that helped you on the closing of your home. Guess what? He/she probably
doesn’t know the important nuances of divorce law. Would you hire
a tree surgeon to remove your gallbladder? The answer is “No.”
Please don’t be lax when it comes to hiring your divorce attorney/mediator,
it can mean the difference between obtaining a good divorce settlement
or losing it all.
I received a call from a concerned psych colleague recently who told me
she was very worried about one of her patients. She said that her patient
was going through a divorce and having a really difficult time. It didn’t
sound as though the lawyer was advocating well for the client. Oddly enough
it wasn’t her spouse causing all the pain, it was her inept attorney!
I offered to meet with her patient and was horrified to discover what her attorney
had not done!! It was six months into the process and her attorney had not asked to
see any of the spouse’s financial documents, tax returns, W-2’s,
statements from accounts in his name only, and credit cards. She was ignored
repeatedly when she called to speak with him, and when she did he didn’t
explain to her what was going on. Now a separation agreement was drafted
and this terrified woman was being pressured to sign an agreement without
any understanding of the family’s financial picture. Her attorney
hadn’t even explained what she would be entitled to from her twenty
There had been no financial discovery, no exchange of financial Statements
of Net Worth, no evidence of the spouse’s true income and so on.
How could an attorney in good conscience expect their client to sign an
agreement without giving her any information or supporting evidence of
what she would be entitled to?
Turns out her attorney had helped her with a landlord/ tenant matter previously.
This was not an experienced divorce attorney equipped to get her the best
possible divorce settlement.
Here are some red flags that you may not have the best representation:
The lawyer is clueless!
Yes, I said it. If your divorce attorney doesn’t ask for financial
documents from opposing counsel to be able to properly guide you on what
your are entitled to when it comes to spousal support, equitable distribution
or child support - you’re in trouble;
Doesn’t answer your phone calls, emails
If you are ignored, don’t get returned phone calls, don't get
a response to an email and feel like you know nothing about your case
- be concerned;
Not willing to do any negotiating-very aggressive or too passive
This can put you at a disadvantage both emotionally and financially. An
attorney in a divorce matter should be first willing to negotiate –
part of good representation is for an attorney to approach your case from
multiple angles to get the best possible results- your attorney shouldn’t
just want to rush to court to rack up outrageous attorney fees;
4) On-line reputation-not so good :(
If your attorney is non-existent online or has repeated bad reviews (on
AVVO-for example) pay attention! Every attorney can get the occasional
unhappy client, but if there is a string of bad reviews - you may have
the wrong lawyer.
I know the idea of changing lawyers is daunting. But it’s better
to know now and make the change so you don’t lose out on a good
settlement. I have counseled and worked with many client’s who have
transitioned from one lawyer to another. If you are not happy with your
lawyer it is important to take this step.
Let’s face it. You’ve taken the really difficult step to get
out of a bad marriage, now you have to step it up and divorce your attorney.
Your sanity and financial security depends on it! You are going to live
with the results for a long time and so are your children.
If you would like a second opinion on your divorce matter, call me. With
over 35+ years experience I can spot a bad deal and can help create the
best possible deal for you and your family. Getting a second opinion can
really help! 212.734.1551.