Once you make the decision to file for divorce, the next difficult decision will be who you should hire to represent you in the divorce.
In addition to making sure that the attorney you hire is competent, it is also important to make sure that you are comfortable disclosing very personal information to that attorney. Even the most skilled of attorneys can only help you if they know all of the pertinent details of your situation, both good and bad. As I have said to many clients, it is never good for your attorney to be surprised at the courthouse. Finally, it is helpful to have an attorney who is familiar with the Judges and other attorneys in the county in which you reside. Even if your ultimate goal is to come to an amicable agreement with your spouse, knowing the range of possible outcomes at the courthouse is helpful in reaching that agreement.
If you want to avoid the courthouse altogether and are interested in handling your divorce through the collaborative divorce process, it is also important to select an attorney who has been collaboratively trained.
Many lawyers who have primarily handled cases in the litigation context have difficulty making the mental shift to handling cases in the collaborative arena. This is primarily due to the fact that the collaborative process is premised on full, and voluntary, disclosure of all relevant, necessary information, and not knowingly taking advantage of the mistakes or misunderstandings of the other side. Another reason for the difficulty in making the paradigm shift to the collaborative practice is that we, as attorneys, are trained in law school that there should be one winner and one loser. In the collaborative process, the goal is to come up with a win-win solution for both sides.
In choosing an attorney to represent you in a collaborative divorce, look for an attorney who has either handled other collaborative cases successfully or, at a minimum, is a member of a practice group that provides training and support for its attorneys. Names and locations of qualified collaborative divorce attorneys who regularly handle cases in Collin County can be found here.
Probably the single most important factor in selecting an attorney is to hire an attorney who you feel you can trust and be completely honest with.
We have all heard many different stories, and our place is not to judge. We understand that our clients come to us at times and in places of great vulnerability, and we are here to help navigate you through the process. Even if you are not sure that you are ready to file for divorce, having a consultation with an experienced attorney can provide you with helpful information to assist you in making the best decision for you and your family.