When searching for a divorce lawyer, it is normal to feel that stress and anxiety before you call, during the call and even after you hire an attorney.
Panic on the other hand takes these emotions to another level. If you are about to embark on a California divorce and you're completely panicked about not just what is happening but what may happen, logic may shut down and you may make very poor decisions.
In our experience, panic comes from a fear of the unknown. Your anxiety level builds up to an unhealthy level because your questions are left unanswered. Worse yet, you get contradictory advice, especially from people who have no business giving advice.
What are some of these questions that build up to a panic when searching for divorce lawyers?
If you have children, you're going to have questions about California's child custody laws. You want to know how things work in California and specifically how a family court determines child custody consistent with the children's best interest.
Child and spousal support
If there is a disparity in income between you and your spouse, both the California guideline child support calculation and determining reasonable spousal support will be issues on your mind. You want to know who pays, how much and for how long?
If you are the higher income earner, you are concerned that you won't be able to manage two households. How can you fund your spouse's lifestyle and still support your own?
If you are the lower-income earner, such as a stay-at-home mom going through a divorce, you're concerned how you will maintain your lifestyle without contributions from your husband and soon-to-be ex-husband.
Property, assets and business
If you have property, assets or a business, how is the community or separate property nature of these assets determined? This is very much on your mind. You want to know how California law splits community and separate property and deals with allegations that something is the separate property of the other spouse.
Spousal abuse or false allegations
If your marriage involved domestic violence, child abuse or false allegations of abuse, you're wondering whether a bad situation will become worse when the adversarial divorce process beings.
Make the unknown into the known and let's kill the panic from your divorce
Get informed. Knowledge really is power in the field of divorce. The right kind of knowledge can give you reasonable expectations in your divorce case at the start and throughout.
Look around this family law site - what do you see?
Look through the pages of the site.
We have written a comprehensive guide on California child custody laws.
We have written about nearly every aspect of divorce and family law including child support, alimony in California, domestic violence restraining orders and so much more.
How many divorce lawyers in Orange County do that for you? Not many. And rarely do such lawyers lay out for prospective clients and readers the very well packaged volume of information that we are able to offer.
We did this for you - to lower your anxiety level by giving you the information you need to start you on the right track. It's not advice and not a substitute for advice but isn't it nice to get a springboard toward good information before you even make the call?
Speaking of the call…
Free consultation? Big deal. What are you really getting?
A lot of lawyers offer free consultations. So what?
Will the lawyer speak with you about your case? Will he or she ask you specific questions about your facts? Will the divorce lawyer answer your questions?
Not all consultations are created equal. We'll also let you in on a secret. Ours are awesome.
Ten steps toward eliminating panic in a divorce
1. Get yourself informed. Read good articles about California divorce law like those on the pages of our family law site.
2. Be careful when family or friends try to give you divorce advice. Legal advice should be from licensed California attorneys experienced in family law. Bad information is sometimes worse than no information.
3. Interview at least 3 divorce lawyers before setting up a consultations. Ask them about their experience, knowledge and cases similar to yours they have handled.
4. Get references from the divorces lawyers. Reviews about the Orange County divorce attorneys you are looking to hire also help.
5. Have an in person consultation with the divorce lawyers that impressed you the most. Make sure you are clear about the terms of the retention. You should be given a written contract to sign when you are ready to proceed forward.
6. Stay away from unethical lawyers or those who are trying to sell you. Read this article about the importance of hiring a divorce lawyer who will deal with you and your case honestly and has high ethical standards.
7. Consider whether therapy is a good idea, especially if you are struggling with emotions that are running high and low.
8. Work with your divorce lawyer to set reasonable expectations, a strategy and a budget on your case.
9. Communicate with your divorce attorney regularly.
Number 10 is darn important so pay close attention.
10. Facts are stubborn things. Remain factual, logical and treat your divorce in a business like manner. Custody is all about your children's best interest. Everything else is about the facts, law and common sense. Fair results consistent with the facts and law is your goal. Divorce is not about revenge. It is not about the "principle" of it all. It's about making good decisions and moving forward with your life.
You got questions? We expected that. Let's talk. We can help.