Divorce is a time of uncertainty, of change. Everything may feel like it is caving in around you. You may already be dealing with serious trust issues, and now you have to find yourself trusting another human being with your story, your funds, your future. That’s a daunting prospect, and one not to be made light of! It’s okay to be scared, but a few words of advice before we begin dealing with your fears:
- Don’t turtle. Hiding from the problem makes the problem bigger. Don’t put off hiring a divorce attorney when you know a divorce is going to happen. You need advice now, because things that people do while they wait can sometimes cause serious harm to the development of their cases later.
- Likewise, don’t jump the gun. I have sent people out of my office occasionally when it was clear they were not ready to divorce. Just because you are angry does not mean it’s time. If you aren’t sure, get yourself a marriage counselor first, not an attorney. A marriage counselor can help both of you decide if you can repair the relationship or, if you cannot, can help you move on.
- Don’t make decisions out of vengeance. Some lawyers love it when a client comes into their office filled with rage, because an angry person will spend any amount to hurt the other person, even if it doesn’t lead to a better result for them. I prefer a client that permits the process to be about what is best for them, as opposed to what is worse for the other side, because a client focused solely on vengeance ends up inevitably harming their own interests. The person you are two years from now, when the anger subsides, will regret your fury-fuelled decision making, maybe not because you will care about that person more, but because you will realize what you didn’t do to care for yourself.
- Don’t assume that every story friends tell you is true, or can be universally applied. Yes, so and so may have gotten $500 a week in alimony for life, but what they didn’t tell you was a whole host of legal reasons why that happened to them, but won’t be happening to you. Your lawyer can tell you what the law is, how it applies to the unique facts of your situation, and some likely outcomes. If those outcomes don’t match what Cousin Bettie got, that’s probably because Cousin Bettie had different facts to work with.
- Trust your gut. You will hear me say something about this many times in this book. If a lawyer makes you uncomfortable at the initial meeting, don’t expect that to change.
To learn more about what you can expect from your divorce lawyer, check out Lynda’s new book, Breaking Up: Finding and Working with a New Jersey Divorce Attorney.
For a free consultation about your legal matter, call us at (856) 227-7888, or contact us at [email protected]. We have locations in Camden, Burlington, and Gloucester counties, and are happy to discuss your options.
The above is not specific legal advice nor does it create a lawyer-client relationship. Do not rely upon it without consulting an attorney to see how the information presented fits your unique circumstances.