’Tis the Season to be Prepared – for Divorce

Holidays are tough in the best of circumstances, with lots of expectations and family pressures.  Now, imagine if one or both spouses are unhappy in their marriage.  Holiday pressures are amplified and can lead to a self-examination of the marriage and thoughts about planning for a divorce in the new year.  If you are considering such a new year’s resolution, don’t think you are the only person who is lacking holiday cheer. You might be surprised to learn that many are spending this holiday season seeking legal advice about a possible divorce after December 31.

Just as finding the right holiday gift takes planning and investigation, so too does finding the right way to secure legal advice about making the decision to divorce. Here are a few tips on shopping for a lawyer this holiday season:

  1. Get a Referral.  The best way to find a lawyer is by asking a friend, colleague … or better yet a lawyer you may know or work with…for a referral to a family law attorney. Remember that a qualified family law practitioner needs special skills that a tax or real estate lawyer likely does not have.
  2. Pay for a Consultation.  Some lawyers offer free consultations, but often these consultations are short and will not provide a personalized strategy for your case.  Lawyers who are paid for their consultations are providing you with legal advice about your matter that goes well beyond discussing generalities about the law.
  3. Come Prepared With Questions.  Clients who can tell a lawyer their concerns early in the initial consultation will better enable the lawyer to quickly understand the issues involved and provide appropriate legal advice.  Remember, a consultation is a short meeting, so the more prepared you are, the more productive the consultation will be.

California is a no fault state, so it does not matter who has been naughty or nice in terms of seeking a divorce.  What is important when divorce is a possibility in the new year is to begin preparing as soon as possible yet this year. Start shopping for a lawyer early so the new year and your new life can begin the way you want.