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learning how to hire a divorce lawyer

How to Hire A Divorce Lawyer (The Right One for You)

Whether you’re contemplating getting a divorce or ready to act, your first step is NOT to make any immediate decisions but to get educated on what the divorce process looks like and how to hire a divorce lawyer.

You have choices, and you need to understand what they are. Divorce laws can change quite a bit once you cross state lines, so the best place to start your research is a search engine like Google. Type in keywords like “divorce laws in [your state]” to learn how getting a divorce will affect your life. Spend time learning about different divorce models. Decide whether you’ll work with a mediator or an attorney, for instance. Ask yourself which model is right for you, your spouse, and your circumstances.

After you’ve done a little fieldwork, it’s time to meet with the experts.

Divorce isn’t as simple as understanding your rights. Divorce is a line drawn in the sand, and once you pass it, many aspects of your life that go beyond your marriage will change. So yes, learn all about your rights. Find out what you are entitled to. But then drill down further.

Let’s face it—when it comes to divorce, especially when children are involved, many women are most concerned about two things: money and custody. What custody decisions will I have to make? How will I support myself? How will I pay the bills, put food on the table, and be a good mom all at the same time? All on my own, no less? That’s where a financial advisor comes in. Or even better, a certified divorce financial analyst who will explain exactly what will happen to your money, assets, and—you guessed it—debt.

Again, divorce is not simply a legal or financial issue but a life-changing event that throws even your sense of identity off balance. It’s crucial to seek guidance from someone who can break everything down for you without losing focus of the big picture. Someone who will listen when you tell them where you want to be, and then point you in the right direction. But who do you turn to for this kind of guidance? Who is going to give you vetted and appropriate referrals based on your actual situation?

Hiring a divorce coach

Of course, we believe the best professional suited for this role is a divorce coach because they can teach you about divorce (like how to hire a divorce lawyer) but above all, how to get through divorce the healthiest way. A divorce coach can help you overcome the emotional challenges as well as the practical ones, and by doing so, they help you save money and time. Mistakes happen, but with a divorce coach, the chance of those mistakes occurring is significantly reduced.

Divorce coach or not, it is critical to have a guide—someone who knows there is an end in sight because they’ve been in your shoes. They’ve experienced the self-doubt and second-guessing, the isolation and fear. It’s even more critical this person understand the journey of a woman, as they’ll be the one who helps you navigate and set yourself up for your best life.

If reaching out to a divorce coach is a step you’re not quite ready for, reading these articles about contemplating divorce may help you answer the questions you have and learn what else you should consider before you even start figuring out how to hire a divorce lawyer.

Shopping around for a divorce lawyer

Now if you’re still with me, then you might be ready to take the leap. You may even be shopping around for an attorney (as you well should). But what should you be looking for? What questions should you ask? Below are a few tips.

  • Get vetted referrals and consider them carefully
  • Find out if the lawyer specializes in family law
  • Find out if they are a skilled negotiator
  • Ask if they know the other lawyer(s) involved and how established the relationship is (this will help with negotiations)
  • Ask yourself if there’s chemistry between you and any potential hire (this means understanding your issues and values—making sure you feel heard
  • Ensure your lawyer can explain your “best and worst case scenarios”
  • Find out if they settle often
  • Ensure you understand all costs (the retainer, hourly rate, and payment structure)
  • Consider asking a friend or family member along to take notes and give you feedback after any meetings

Hiring the right divorce attorney or mediator is no easy task. But remember: you owe it to yourself to find the right representation. Don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions—just make sure they’re the right ones. And interview more than one professional (remember, it’s your right to shop around).

Be sure to read our article on what questions to ask a divorce attorney for more on how to hire a divorce lawyer, how to prepare for that meeting and how to pay your divorce..

And, of course, once you have hired a lawyer make sure you don’t make the mistake so many do of “misusing” her.

What else MUST you know about how to hire a divorce lawyer?

  • No one is ever really happy with her divorce lawyer because both parties always have to compromise
  • Try to settle out of court by putting your emotions aside and asking yourself if what’s upsetting you will still be important in ten years?
  • A good settlement is one in which neither client walks away entirely happy. Begin the process of managing your expectations, realizing what’s truly nonnegotiable, and understanding what all these decisions mean for setting up your next, better chapter of your life.

Whether you’re navigating the experience and aftermath of divorce, or recreating the life you want, one thing that makes a big difference for women is choosing not to do it alone. Since 2012, smart women around the world have chosen SAS for Women to help them through this emotional and often times complicated experience. Learn how we can help you in a free, confidential consultation.

Black and white photo of older woman with grey hair with a sad expression

6 Ways to Survive Divorce (Especially If It’s Not What You Want)

Are you trying to survive a divorce that you didn’t want? Even if there were problems in the relationship, it can be heartbreaking to lose your marriage and the one you loved. After all you had a lifetime of hopes and dreams intertwined in your relationship and future. But life has handed you this instead. We’re here to tell you something that you may not believe right now … but we believe it for you: You can handle this. In fact, you can do more than survive, you can come out better as a woman. Start by pinpointing the areas that are causing you the most pain, such as dealing with divorce as an older person, a senior, or a young person — who has no one in your circles who is divorced. Maybe you do know people, but you are struggling to stay positive. To help you, we’ve compiled a list of suggestions that can ensure you survive divorce, no matter how you landed here.

1. Survive divorce with a mantra

Have you heard of mantras? A mantra is a statement or slogan, which can be a single word or phrase that means something to you personally. You repeat your mantra while meditating or when you are feeling out of control. The ancient healing practice comes from Buddhism and Hinduism, but you don’t have to tie a religious context to your mantra. It’s about bringing you back to NOW and calming your nervous system. For example, you can start your mornings by saying your mantra out loud while watching yourself in a mirror. Repeat the mantra a few times each day and then throughout the day when you need to rebalance your mind. Mind Body Green lists the ancient mantras from Sanskrit texts, if you are interested in using a sacred language. Want to stick to English? Here are some inspirational mantras to get you started:

  • Even if I’m alone I refuse to be lonely
  • New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings (Lao Tzu)
  • I am grateful for me
  • I put myself first, last and always
  • I am always true to myself
  • Be free, be me!
  • Forgiveness
  • I will change my life by changing my mindset
  • I am confident, I am beautiful, I am worthy
  • I love and accept me for me

Use these mantras as your own or as kickoff points for mantras that matter to you. Change your mantra when it starts to lose meaning for you.

2. Surviving divorce as a senior

If you are older than the age of 50 and have been married for the last, say, 20 years, the notion of divorce, which is coined as a “silver divorce” or “the graying of divorce” is emotionally jarring. Rather than focusing on what was lost, reframe your story as getting a new and fresh start to the rest of your life. We recommend you start by moving out from your family home (yes, we know that is hard!) and finding yourself a new fresh place of your own. This will help you transition from married to single life, while reducing the burden of maintaining a larger home. Just as older individuals are finding new careers in their fifties, you can find new love, meaning and a happy life for yourself but you must start by making shifts.

3. Surviving divorce as a young or middle-aged woman

If you don’t know anyone divorced in your circles, it could make you feel ashamed, like there is something wrong with you.  We assure you, it’s just a matter of time before you start seeing other women in your circumstances.  But you cannot wait for them. Instead reach out to an older woman who’s been through it.  Or find a divorce coach who can compassionately give you insight and perspective and help you take the next steps you so vitally need to move forward in your life. You need a mentor or guide: someone who knows what you are going through and who can help you avoid wasting time; someone who can show you where’s the good going forward. And mark our words, there is good!

4. Surviving at work

When you are dealing with a major life event, such as divorce, it affects all aspects of your life including your job. Your mind is elsewhere as you try and tackle the daily to-do lists. How do you stay focused and remain positive during this trying time? Business Insider suggests the following:

  • Avoid communications with your divorce lawyer or ex while on the clock. Filter emails and silent texts when at work.
  • Don’t feel obligated to explain your divorce to anyone whom you don’t want to. (Come up with a pithy statement: “He’s done. I am not.”)
  • Or, if you are asked if there’s something going on or something wrong, explain in broad terms that it’s personal, while being friendly, and leave it at that.
  • Clear out any family photos or keepsakes that remind you of your ex.
  • Find ways to boost your mood, such as listening to upbeat music using headphones or reading a lightweight novel on your lunch hour.

Also, maintain your workload as usual during the divorce. By keeping busy and staying active with your work group you are less likely to sit and dwell on the divorce.

5. Surviving the weekends

While working is important for helping you move on after a divorce, all work and no play makes Jane a dull, and angry, divorceée. Fortunately for most women the weekends are free of the 9-to-5 duties. However, the weekends can open up the mind and heart to plenty of free time to sit and think. But it doesn’t have to! Take the weekends as your new self-improvement time. Here are some ideas:

  • Join a book club and go bookstore browsing on the weekends. Then spend the rest of the weekend nose-deep in a favorite read.
  • Organize a monthly brunch with your best friends. (Make a commitment to see your clan regularly. You are probably overdue.)
  • Start a craft activity, such as painting, lettering, gardening in miniature, or knitting.
  • Travel! You can take overnight trips on the weekends that will give you a new perspective on life and life your spirit.
  • Take care of the grandkids, nieces, nephews or neighbor’s kids. Nothing will wear you out, while also healing your heart, faster than the busyness of children.

Kindling passions and finding new loves (and not male-focused loves) are the greatest strength for a woman going through a divorce.

6. Surviving with a divorce support group

All across the country there are divorce support groups that bring women together. You can find these groups, which meet in person, through a local house of worship and via Meetup. If you want to stay behind the computer screen there are also online, divorce support groups and support forums. Find a group that you feel is most comforting and run with it.  (But don’t settle for a group that complains. Look for one that moves forward and does things!)

Surviving a divorce can be shattering and sometimes feel impossible on certain days, but you can do this. One step at a time, one day after the next, and you will pass through this phase in your life and on to the next. The key is taking small yet powerful steps like these, moving the needle every so slightly, just a little bit every single day.

What small step will you take now?  Write it down and JUST DO IT.

Since 2012, smart women around the world have chosen SAS for Women to partner them through the emotional, financial, and oft times complicated experience of divorce and rebuilding their lives afterward. Schedule your FREE 15-minute consultation with SAS. Tell us confidentially what’s going on, and we’ll give you black & white feedback, resources and suggestions for your next steps.