1. Using your lawyer as a counselor: Although your lawyer will listen to and empathize with the emotional crisis you may be going through, you are paying their hourly rate for legal advice, and not for counseling that they are not professionally qualified to provide. For help with emotional or personal issues, you should seek treatment with a psychologist or a counselor, which will almost certainly be much more cost effective than using an attorney as your counselor, particularly if your health insurance pays some or all of the cost. Seeking such a professional during the divorce process can only help you and your case by providing emotional and psychological support.
2. “Supportive” advice from your family and friends: Seeking advice from your friends and family can be a disaster waiting to happen if you let it make you act impulsively. A divorce life coach has given us a perfect example: You come home and find that your soon-to-be ex left you a nasty voice message. You play this nasty voice message to your best friend, who tells you that you “don’t have to take this” from him/her and you had better call your attorney. You call your attorney and spend 30 minutes venting and playing the voice message. Letters between the attorneys go back and forth over this “transgression,” and hundreds of dollars later, nothing has been accomplished.
3. Legal advice from family and friends: Every case is different; and, each case is very fact specific. Each state has enacted their own statutes regarding divorce, support and property distribution. Although your friend’s friend is receiving $3,000.00 a month in child support does not mean you are going to receive the same amount.
4. Non-compliance with the discovery process: Discovery is time consuming and invasive. However, if served with discovery, you are legally obligated to provide all the requested information. The more you play games by not providing the requested documentation, the more your attorney fees are going to increase. Likewise, by providing your attorney with a banker box of unorganized documents requires the lawyers and their staff to organize the documents for you, which in turn, increases your attorney fees.
5. Hiring the wrong attorney: If you have a complex divorce case, you need an experienced divorce attorney. If your case is destined to go to trial, do you want to be your attorney’s first divorce trial? In most cases, an experienced attorney in the long run is going to cost you less than an inexperienced divorce attorney. Additionally, you need someone who will be critical and objective, i.e. someone who will zealously represent you, but will not just tell you what you want to hear. Speaking to multiple attorney candidates before committing to one may help you find someone who can best explain your likely results and realistic approach to the process.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss your legal matter with an attorney, please contact The Duff Law Firm for a complementary, 30-minute consultation. (703) 591-7475.