Divorce can be a challenging and emotionally charged experience, and having the right divorce attorney by your side can make all the difference in how you navigate this difficult terrain. However, not all divorce attorneys are created equal. Some are focused on litigation, while others prioritize conflict resolution. In this blog, we’ll explore why this distinction matters and why choosing the right attorney is crucial for achieving your desired outcome in your divorce case.
The Surgeon vs. Physical Therapist Analogy
Consider the analogy of seeking medical help for a knee problem. If you approach a surgeon, they will likely view the solution through the lens of their expertise, which is surgery. On the other hand, a physical therapist will approach the issue from their specialty, which is physical therapy. Both professionals can help, but you’ll receive different outcomes depending on your choice. Similarly, in divorce cases, the approach your attorney takes will significantly impact the resolution.
Attorneys who predominantly focus on litigation often see divorce issues through the lens of the courtroom. They are well-versed in legal procedures, evidence presentation, and courtroom strategies. Their primary goal is to win in court, which may involve adversarial tactics to secure the best outcome for their client. However, this approach may not always be in your best interest, especially if you’re looking for an amicable resolution or if you’ll have to co-parent with your spouse after the divorce is over.
Conflict Resolution-Centric Attorneys
On the other hand, attorneys who prioritize conflict resolution, approach divorce as an opportunity to find creative solutions outside the courtroom. They are experienced in mediation, collaborative law, and alternative dispute resolution methods. Their focus is on finding common ground, working together, and reaching agreements that are mutually beneficial. This approach can be especially useful if you want to maintain a cooperative relationship with your ex-spouse, particularly when co-parenting is involved, or you want to maintain a friendly relationship with your former spouse’s family.
Avoiding “Pitbull” Attorneys
Beware of attorneys who bill themselves as “fighters” or have a reputation for being aggressive pitbulls. While such attorneys may be effective in litigation, they often escalate conflict and can drive up your legal costs. Ultimately, their approach may not lead to the best long-term outcomes, especially if it hinders cooperation with your ex-spouse, impacts your finances, and affects your children’s well-being.
No Certainty in Litigation
It’s essential to be cautious when an attorney provides certainty around the cost or outcomes of your case during the initial consultation. The truth is, divorce litigation is a complex and unpredictable process. It depends on various factors, including the expertise of the opposing attorneys, each spouse’s financial resources, judges, and many variables beyond your control. A wise choice is to seek an attorney who prioritizes open communication and transparency about the uncertainties of litigation.
Choosing the Right Attorney
When selecting a divorce attorney, it’s crucial to conduct thorough interviews and consider various factors. Here are some questions to ask potential attorneys:
How long have they been practicing family law?
What percentage of their practice is dedicated to family law?
Do they have children themselves?
Have they taken continuing education on the impact of divorce on children?
Have they encountered similar issues to yours in other cases?
What strategies were successful in those cases?
What have they learned from past experiences that could benefit your case?
Not all divorce attorneys are created equal, and choosing the right one is vital for a successful divorce outcome that aligns with your goals. The surgeon vs. physical therapist analogy serves as a reminder that the approach your attorney takes can significantly impact the process, results, and long-term effects of your divorce. Take the time to select an attorney who best fits your needs and priorities, focusing on conflict resolution, cost-effectiveness, and a cooperative approach, if that’s what you seek. The right attorney can be your advocate in helping you achieve the divorce outcome you desire.