A number of popular myths about child-related court proceedings lure separating parents into poor, and sometimes disastrous decisions regarding their children. At the beginning of the short film Talk to Strangers, David and Laura Sherwood, a pair of well-meaning but misguided parents articulate a number of these myths. Two of them are discussed in this article. Separating parents need to understand how these myths underestimate the impact on children of child-related court battles.
Myth #1: “Judges Protect Children During Divorce.”
“Unbundled representation,” also known as “discrete task” or “limited scope” representation can, in the right circumstances, save divorcing spouses a lot of money.
In the approximately 40 states that permit it, unbundled representation allows divorcing individuals to choose which parts of their case a lawyer will handle. Tasks that can be easily separated from the rest of a case lend themselves to “unbundling.”
Those tasks include:
- • Court proceedings such as temporary custody or support hearings and trial
- • Where permitted, drafting court filings (“ghost-writing”)
- • Drafting settlement agreements
- • Providing legal advice and opinions upon request
Larry Sarezky, Esq.
The good news is there is a wealth of advice about divorce available.
The bad news is there is a wealth of advice about divorce available.
Much of the advice you receive as you move through your divorce will come from friends and family, members of divorce support groups, and thousands of blogs, articles, and official-looking though quite often inaccurate websites. Advice from these sources is of limited value because it is offered:
- • With no knowledge, and/or little understanding, of the facts of your case
If you can afford a divorce lawyer, you should hire one. There’s too much at stake and too many complexities in divorce to risk “winging it” without expert advice. However, you can save some money by delaying hiring a lawyer while you complete a number of tasks:
- • File for divorce yourself using forms available on your state’s court system website
- • Use a certified divorce planner or certified divorce financial analyst who charge substantially less than lawyers, to
- • Help you organize your financial paperwork
- • Help you prepare your financial disclosure statement
In Part I of this article, I discussed some questions to ask a lawyer at an initial consultation. Those questions related to the law and how it applies to the facts of your case.
This second part of the article deals with the other questions to be asked. Those questions relate to the lawyer’s credentials and the kind of attorney/client relationship you can expect to have with the lawyer.
Specifically, you want to find out the following:
- The lawyer’s experience in the area of family law
- Whether and how support staff and other lawyers may be involved in your case
Finding an experienced family attorney with whom you “click” dramatically improves your prospects for achieving your divorce goals.
With the possible exception of your current spouse, let’s assume you are a good judge of people. Let’s further assume that you’ve read a blog or 2 on how to choose a divorce lawyer. Finally, let’s assume you’ve listened to your friends bitch endlessly about their lawyers.
All of that should enable you to choose a lawyer for yourself, right?
You need to ask two kinds of questions at an initial interview with a divorce lawyer:
“Divorce, Simply Stated,” Award-Winning Lawyer/Filmmaker’s New Book, Provides Advice to Reduce Burdens of Divorce
Veteran divorce attorney Larry Sarezky’s new divorce “how-to” book provides rarely discussed strategies for easing the financial and emotional burdens of divorce. Includes tips on controlling legal expenses, reducing anxiety, and avoiding the most damaging divorce mistakes.
Veteran divorce lawyer and mediator Larry Sarezky has announced the release of his new book, “Divorce, Simply Stated.” It’s a unique “how-to” book of divorce basics supplemented with rarely discussed techniques for achieving more, worrying less and saving money in divorce and other family court cases.
Larry Sarezky, Esq.
“What the world needs now is love sweet love,
It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.”
– Burt Bacharach / Hal David
Not to nitpick, but love isn’t the only thing the world has too little of. Empathy, a key component of emotional intelligence, is also in short supply. And empathy is particularly important during divorce where run-away emotions can delay what you and your children need most: a speedy and fair resolution of all issues.
Parenting during divorce poses unique and difficult challenges for even the most well intentioned mothers and fathers. Many parents find themselves preoccupied if not overwhelmed by the divorce and all the emotions and uncertainties that accompany it. As a result, these parents become less able to attend to the needs of their children who need them more than ever during this turbulent time.
As a conscientious divorcing parent, you can serve the interests of your children by avoiding the following mistakes commonly made during divorce. But even if you do have a bad moment (it’s okay, nearly everyone does), use the experience to strengthen your resolve to not let it happen again.
Divorcing parents promote their children’s well-being by retooling their co-parenting relationship early in the divorce process. Adding new ground rules to old shared values redirects parents’ focus from their own conflict to the children’s needs. It also creates momentum for a long-term parenting plan and a co-parenting relationship that produces healthier children.
Here are a dozen Parenting Goal Statement staples:
➢ We will shield our children from our conflict.
➢ We will not use our children as messengers or confidants.
➢ We will not put our children in the position of “choosing sides.”