When confronted with a Travis County divorce case (or any other location for that matter) many people will choose not to hire a lawyer, even if their spouse has hired one. Some make this decision out of a sense of guilt or a desire to not turn it into an “ugly” divorce. Others don’t really think a lawyer will make much difference in the outcome of their case. There are also those who think they cannot afford to hire a divorce lawyer. Hopefully, this article will show that you cannot afford to not have a quality divorce attorney represent you in your divorce case.
Don’t Face Divorce on Your Own
As an experienced Texas divorce attorney I have done many consultations with people who previously appeared in court or settled cases without representation and were hoping that I could undo the damage that had already been done. With a few exceptions, there was nothing I could do to improve their bad outcome. It is unfortunate because most of the damage could have been avoided with a good divorce attorney.
A Bad Decision in Your Divorce Today Can Have Long-Lasting Effects
Examples of bad outcomes include getting a bad property division. I once met with a man whose ex-wife had been represented in their divorce by a very good board certified family law attorney. The husband felt the divorce was entirely his own fault (in my experience, this is rarely true) and out of a feeling of guilt he had signed off on a Divorce Decree that not only gave his wife 100% of the community property but also obligated him to pay alimony far in excess of what a court would have ordered. About a year after the divorce his business suffered a severe down turn and his income dropped dramatically. There was very little I could do to help him at that point. This was unfortunate and unnecessary as any competent divorce attorney would have advised him strongly against accepting the settlement terms.
How Good Advice Can Make a Difference
Here is an example with a happier outcome. The client came to see me early in the process. He had been married for several years and had two children in elementary school. His wife had been talking about divorcing him for quite a while. Near the end of the summer she told him that she was taking the children and going to another city to stay with her parents. She planned on enrolling the children in school there. He told her he disagreed but she packed the kids up and left anyway. Although he didn’t want a divorce he was smart enough to realize he needed the advice of an experienced divorce attorney.
It was explained to him that if let her enroll the children in school out of town and waited, hoping that she would come back, it would greatly damage his case and likely result in her being able to get a final order making the children’s primary residence the new city. If he wanted the kids to live in the same town as him he needed to act promptly to avoid creating the appearance that he willingly allowed wife move to the children. He understood the gravity of the situation and immediately filed for divorce, allowing him to get in front of a judge and very quickly get an order requiring wife to return the children home. Had he not quickly gotten good advice and quality representation the outcome (and thus his relationship with his children) would likely have been very different.
As you can see, it is extremely important that you get sound advice and a good divorce lawyer when confronted with the possibility of divorce. If you face the possibility of divorce make sure you get advice and representation. It is money well spent.
This is a video by Scott Morgan, giving his three best tips on how to find the right divorce lawyer for your case. It originally appeared on his blog at austindivorcespecialist.com. If you would prefer, you can read the transcript below:
I’m Scott Morgan, founder of the Morgan Law Firm. I am a board certified Family Law attorney and I have practiced family law since 1994. In this video I am going to give you my three best tips for how to pick the right divorce lawyer for your case.
My first tip is to find out choose a lawyer who is experienced and focused on family law and divorce cases. Sometimes people hire attorneys for their divorce who have very little experience handling divorce cases, thinking that as long as the lawyer has trial experience of any kind that is enough. Nothing could be further from the truth. Family law is a very specialized area that is constantly changing. You really need someone whose focus is on family law.
Tip number two – find out what past clients have to say about the attorney. There is no substitute for getting actual feedback from someone who hired this same attorney and worked with him or her. If you were referred by someone you know who was a past client, all the better. Ask this person what it was like to be a client of that lawyer and, if they had it to do over again, would that hire the same lawyer and why or why not? This will give you the very closest thing to the actual experience of being this lawyer’s client before you decide who to hire.
Lastly, tip number three – After you meet with the lawyer for the first time ask yourself if you would be comfortable working with this attorney. No matter what the résumé says, no matter what the lawyer’s past clients say, if you just don’t feel comfortable with and confident in the attorney, you should keep looking.
Obviously, hiring the right divorce lawyer is a very important decision and one you want to get right the first time. Making the wrong decision and having to switch attorneys in the middle of a case is no fun. But if you follow these three simple tips you are much more likely to find the right attorney for your case.
If your case is in the Austin area feel free to give our office a call and schedule a consultation. We would be happy to see if we could assist you.