Advice from a Massachusetts Attorney who Specializes in Family Law
March 21, 2014
TOP 10 DO’S AND DON’TS FOR DIVORCE CLIENTS
Given the high divorce rate in the Commonwealth, there are a large number of Massachusetts attorneys who practice family law. It’s likely that you know someone who has gone through the divorce process or someone who is a member of the bar. Maybe you’ve even been the beneficiary of their sage advice. Learning from another’s experience is fine, but keep in mind that even the best advice has to be tailored to the individual circumstances. Each situation and family is unique. Just because your best friend’s 3rd cousin received a multi-million dollar settlement does not mean that you will too. Likewise, your co-worker’s brother who only sees his children twice a year, is not necessarily the benchmark for a parenting schedule that would be best for your children. Divorce is a very unique and specialized area of the law. Unless a Massachusetts attorney specializes in this area and also spends significant time in the Probate and Family Courts, they may not be well-versed in all of the nuances and complexities of the divorce process.
The divorce department at Rubin and Rudman LLP includes eight (8) lawyers and two (2) paralegals who specialize in domestic relations law. With over 100 years of cumulative experience, our team is in a position to offer you a helpful list of do’s and don’ts as you embark on this process. It will save you money, time, energy and sanity.
Number 1: This may sound obvious, but DO research and interview potential lawyers. Hire a seasoned and experienced Massachusetts attorney who specializes in family law. You should feel comfortable with your counsel and their style of advocacy. You will be sharing the most intimate details of your life with this person. DO hire someone with whom you can communicate openly and honestly and DO expect the same in return.
Number 2: After you retain a Massachusetts attorney DO gather together as many financial documents, i.e. tax returns, bank statements, etc. as possible. This will expedite the process and provide your attorney with valuable information whether you are clear or unclear on your finances.
Number 3: DO put all of your thoughts and questions into one email as opposed to spreading them out over multiple emails. Each Massachusetts attorney will charge for reading and sending emails. One email is better than 10. You will receive a quicker response, and it will cost you less money. It is much more efficient for us to receive one email about your case and respond to all of your concerns rather than receive 10 emails throughout the day and try to respond to all.
Number 4: DON’T put anything in writing (to anyone other than your lawyer) that you would not want a judge to see. This includes social media sites. It could come back to hurt you. As we all tell our children, once it’s “out there” it’s “out there” forever and you can’t take it back.
Number 5: DON’T keep us in the dark. As your attorney, we cannot do our job if we are not armed with the facts, whether favorable or unfavorable. This relates back to Number 1. You may be embarrassed by an event or think it may damage your case. By keeping it from us, however, we cannot adequately prepare a strategy to deal with it. We may have a very different opinion about what is helpful or detrimental to your situation.
Number 6: DO remember that we are not magicians. We cannot manufacture money and we cannot change people. You come to us with your own unique marital estate and spouse. For most people, divorce will have a financial impact. Your family will have to support two households on the same pot of money with which it supported one. Necessarily, this will require adjustments by both parties and an altering of expectations.
Number 7: DO know that while the conduct of your spouse is often the most important issue to you, it is only one of many issues a court must consider when dividing a marital estate. Judges usually put far less weight on this issue than others (i.e., length of the marriage, earning potential, etc.). This is another example of why it is so important to hire an experienced family law attorney.
Number 8: DON’T disparage your soon-to-be ex-spouse to your children. DON’T try to turn your children against their other parent. Your children are part of both of their parents. If you disparage your child’s other parent, your child will feel that you are disparaging him/her.
Number 9: DON’T use your children as leverage in your divorce. As much as you might want to punish your spouse, DON’T use the children to do so. They didn’t ask for the divorce. They have a right to spend quality time with both parents, unless, of course, there are issues of abuse (physical, emotional or substance). DON’T make your children collateral damage in your divorce.
Number 10: DO try and keep things in perspective during this process. It can be emotionally draining and difficult. It can feel like a roller coaster. Some weeks there will be a lot going on with your case and other weeks, very little. During those weeks that there is little happening, try to put it on the back burner and continue to live your life. Do things that make you happy. DON’T let your divorce become all-consuming. It is not good for your health or your family. You will survive the process and you will be OK.
If you have any questions, please contact Attorney Amy F. Green at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-330-7105.