Divorce is never easy, and the process can oftentimes be long and expensive. When you are trying to wade through this difficult time in your life, it helps to have someone in your corner. Having an experienced divorce lawyer can ensure that you get the best representation and outcome in your case.
Finding a divorce lawyer who has your best interests in mind can seem daunting, especially if you’re not familiar with what to look for in the perfect legal representative. The team at Fennell, Briasco & Associates have created this guide to help you get started in finding a divorce lawyer who will fight for you throughout the process.
Qualities of an Excellent Divorce Lawyer
It’s unrealistic to be expected to struggle through the legalities of divorce alone. You need a lawyer who knows the ins and outs of family law, and who won’t misrepresent you during crucial moments in your case. But how do you know if your divorce lawyer is a good match?
- Experience in Family Law. When looking for a capable divorce lawyer, experience is an excellent indicator of how well your legal representative will operate in the courtroom. Has your lawyer handled hundreds of family law cases, or only a handful? You need someone who knows the ins and outs of family law so that they can offer you the most sound and well-educated legal advice. A divorce lawyer who specializes in family law is the perfect candidate as a legal representative in the divorce courtroom.
- Successes vs. Failures. While this is a question that many attorneys are asked, it is something that is very hard to quantify. What success is to you might differ to how other clients define “success” in their case. Compare the legal track record of the divorce lawyers you are considering, especially as it relates to client satisfaction. Relying on experience alone as your deciding factor for a divorce lawyer is never a good idea. Find an aggressive divorce lawyer who has been successful for most, if not all of their clients’ cases.
- Attentiveness. The stated points above mean nothing if your divorce lawyer is not attentive throughout the grueling process. Are they exploring every possible route that can be taken with your case? Do you receive updates regarding your divorce’s progress? Does your divorce lawyer ask thorough questions about every aspect of your case? Are they working toward your goals and explaining the process? These are important questions to ask yourself after you have found a divorce lawyer with experience and an excellent track record. You want to make sure that your legal representative is doing what you hired them to do, but if they are also going above and beyond in their work.
What is Your Budget?
Let’s face it – divorce isn’t cheap. Depending on the outcome of your case, you need to be prepared for the possibility of paying a hefty sum of legal fees when everything is said and done. In an initial consultation with your divorce lawyer, one of the many topics you will discuss is payment. There are many family law firms that advertise “no fees unless we win!” However, keep in mind that every firm is different.
If you are honest about your budget during your initial conversation with your divorce lawyer, chances are you both will be able to come to a fair agreement regarding payment and fees. Getting the looming stress of court costs out of the way will enable both you and your divorce lawyer to focus on more important matters.
How Thorough is Your Lawyer?
To expand further on the third point of the qualities of an excellent divorce lawyer, it’s important to note how attentive your legal representative is when you are in the thick of your divorce. Whether you are settling your separation inside or out of the court, know that the path will not be a straight line. Divorce can be a messy uphill battle. The documents involved that state the agreements made between you and your ex-spouse could change numerous times during the negotiation process. Any capable divorce lawyer will be prepared for this inevitability, and will react accordingly.
It may seem overwhelming to receive multiple emails on a daily basis from your divorce lawyer seeking information or documentation, but know that this is a good sign. Extreme thoroughness is required to win any case. Like a seasoned chess player, your divorce lawyer is exploring ever possible play for not just your team, but your opponent’s as well. The more questions your divorce lawyer asks, the easier you can rest knowing that you are getting the best and most attentive representation.
Find a Divorce Lawyer That Meets Your Needs
During your first conversation with your divorce lawyer, one of the things the two of you will discuss is your goals. What are some positive outcomes that you would like to see after your divorce is finalized? Be specific and honest about your needs, and your divorce lawyer will work tirelessly to deliver them in the confines of what is allowable by law.
An experienced legal representative will give you updates throughout the divorce process, but they will also let you know their progress on reaching your personal goals. Your divorce lawyer will be honest and upfront with you. They will fight for your goals, but if plans change and these outcomes turn out to be unreachable, they will let you know right away and work with you to explore alternate routes of action.
Legal Separation in Georgia
There are a number of routes to take if you are wanting an alternative to divorce, one of these being legal separation. In the state of Georgia, this is referred to as “separate maintenance.” Like legal separation, separate maintenance in Georgia does not end in divorce. Instead, the same issues are addressed (child custody, alimony, etc.) but you are not legally allowed to remarry.
There are a number of grounds for carrying out separate maintenance. If both parties agree on the separation, or if it is a result of misconduct (adultery, domestic violence, etc.), then the separate maintenance is an acceptable course of action in a court of law. Depending on whether you have had children during the span of your marriage, the paperwork required for separate maintenance will vary.
If children are involved during divorce proceedings, then a custody hearing may be held if the parties cannot agree on a custodial arrangement. These events are usually small, with only the parents, their lawyers, and any witnesses present.
During this hearing, the attorneys will ask both parents questions that are based on the best interests of the child standard. These can include living arrangement concerns, or requests about the parenting plan. The Judge may also ask questions if necessary. Custody hearings are usually short, with decisions possibly being made the same day. Depending on the complexity of the case, the judge may request a period of time to make their final decision.
Once the Court makes a decision has been made regarding custody of the child on a final basis, the order about custody can only be modified if a material change of circumstance occurs that affects the health and welfare of the child. Some orders may also be subject to the two-year rule, which provides that the order cannot be modified until two years has elapsed since the order was issued.
The Law Firm of Fennell, Briasco & Associates
If you are looking for a Marietta divorce attorney, child support modification in Bartow County, or any other family law needs in north west Georgia, The Law Firm of Fennell, Briasco & Associates is the answer. With hundreds of family law cases and years of legal experience among our team, we are prepared to fight for you and offer support as you navigate this stressful time in your life. Contact us today for a FREE attorney consultation: 770-956-4030
Frequently Asked Questions about Fennell, Briasco & Associates
How do you file for a divorce in Georgia?
Before you and your spouse can file for divorce, you must be living in what the Court calls a “bonified state of separation.” Certain documents must also be drafted to begin your case in the Court. Learn more about the divorce process at Fennell, Briasco & Associates.
What is the difference between legal separation and divorce?
Both legal separation and divorce address the same issues between both parties, but only divorce will legally end a marriage. At the end of legal separation, both parties are still married.
How hard is it to get full custody as a mother/father?
Because courts operate on the belief that interaction between both parents is best for the child, there would need to be evidence of a hostile or unhealthy environment for one parent to potentially gain sole custody. This can include abuse, drug use, and mental health concerns.