As a family law attorney for over 35 years, I tell you that unless you face an emergency—see What’s an Emergency?—running to an attorney should be the last thing you do.
Retaining an attorney before you are informed and prepared is the worst thing you can do and the most common cause of unnecessary suffering and expense. This is because the legal system and lawyers who work in it are a primary source of increased conflict and expense. Learn more.
I am not saying you should never get help from an attorney, but that it should not be the first thing you do, or the second thing, or the third. There are a few very important things you should do first—things that will save you a lot of time, trouble and money.
If you ever do go to an attorney, it should only be after you have read the simple but essential information and advice that I give you in Make Any Divorce Better. If you already have gone to an attorney, stop the action or slow things down until you know more about what you want and the best way to proceed.
Before you go to an attorney, here are some things you need to know, things that most attorneys won’t tell you.
At law, divorce is about property, support and parenting. That’s all. Business.
If you can settle these matters and your spouse will not go to court to oppose you, you can do your own divorce or get it done inexpensively. Here’s how to do your own divorce in [California] [Texas] [Other States]
Divorce problems are almost never about the law, almost always about personalities and emotional upset.
Neither the law nor attorneys have tools to help solve personal problems. In fact, getting overly involved with attorneys and courts is a sure way to increase conflict and expense.
The things you can do to help yourself are far superior to anything an attorney can do.
When self-help isn’t enough, you don’t want an attorney, you want a mediator and if that doesn’t work you want an arbitrator.
You might want information about the law from an attorney, or some advice, but you should avoid retaining an attorney to take your case. Learn why.
Especially, you do not want advice from just any divorce attorney. You want to learn how to choose the right attorney for your case. Tell me more.
If you do go to an attorney for advice, don’t go until you have your facts gathered and organized and know exactly what you want to know. The best way to do this is to fill out my Divorce Worksheets. You can get them separately, but they also come on the CD included with my How to Do Your Own Divorce books and Make Any Divorce Better.
If you have an attorney and don’t like the service, it is very easy to fire your attorney and get another one or take the case yourself. We show you how in the Reading Room.
These are just a few of the things you will learn in my book, Make Any Divorce Better. Most important, you will learn the things you can do to reduce conflict, how to talk to your Ex how to negotiate a fair settlement, how to put your agreement in writing and how to do the paperwork or get it done for a very reasonable price.