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Selecting the Right Attorney for You

Posted on : November 29, 2013

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Ready, take aim, fire! How to hit the bullseye and choose the right attorney. When you are facing the reality that your marriage is over, and have accepted that it is time to take action, then you should interview at least three attorneys to make sure that you have found the right one for you.

When choosing an attorney, you will want to consider whether you wish to litigate, collaborate, mediate, or something in between. The level of expertise required is often driven by the complexities involved in the facts of your case.

Of the three divorce models, Mediation is the cheapest way to go. Mediation is when you and your Spouse come to a third party, usually either a trained Mediator or Attorney, to help the two of you address each issue and come to a common ground solution. Neither of you needs to see the inside of a court room when using the mediation approach. Both parties should have an attorney on the side to review the “final” agreement prior to signing anything which will be filed with the Court.

The Collaborative approach is when you and your Spouse each hire separate attorneys who are trained in the Collaborative method. Ideally, both parties sign a four-way agreement which dictates that neither of you will go to court to solve any issue during the divorce process, in an effort to keep costs down during the negotiation. If you do reach a “stale-mate,” both parties agree that he/she will fire his/her current attorney, and hire new attorneys to litigate the case at Court. Often, in a collaborative approach, the case will require the assistance of a psychologist to help make the right custodial parenting plan for you and your children. Sometimes, there are significant business interests on either side, a forensic accountant is needed to determine how much a family business is worth. These complicated issues are handled without the Judge making any decision in your case.

In the traditional Litigation model, both parties retain an attorney, the gloves are off, and you expect to go to Court to fight over the issues involved. This is the most expensive option, because both parties are so entrenched in his/her position, that he/she is willing to spend thousands of dollars fighting the other side as to who should have custody, what parenting plan is best, how much child and spousal support should be paid, and how to divide the community property.

At the Law Office of Barbara E. McNamara, I have done all three modes of handling divorces. By far, the most emotional and costly approach is to litigate everything. The cheapest approach is Mediation, and the Collaborative method is usually in between, from a cost standpoint. Give me a call today for a consultation, and let me help you choose which model is best for you.

Legally Barb is attorney Barbara E. McNamara, a Certified Family Law Specialist serving Orange County and nearby areas. For a consultation, reach her at 714-740-2542 or barb@LegallyBarb.com.

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