What You Should Know Before Contacting a Divorce Attorney
Divorce, the big D word, is the second most feared word, only behind Cancer, the Big C word, in the United States. What created this terrible fear, which ranked so closely to a word associated with death? Let’s exam possibilities.
The divorce rate in 1991 was 47% of all marriages, nearly half of all blissful matrimonies ended in a contested divorce. However, by 2005 the divorce rate plunged a substantial amount to 38% of marriages.
What occurred to substantiate such a large decrease in divorces in only a 14 year span? One would like to think Americans had finally grown up and realized you can’t divorce someone every time you disagree with them, or perhaps the country went through a religious revival which raised moral character, that saw divorce frowned upon.
Unfortunately, government statistics don’t support either of those two possible reasons, nor any other possible Positive outside influence which could account for the reduction. However, what the numbers did reveal was Americans were foregoing getting married and were instead, living together, no marriage – no divorce.
Apparently moral character had not increased, but in actuality, decreased. What could have happened to plunge America’s moral fiber to such depths and what role, if any, did divorce play in the event?
In reality there was nothing wrong with America’s moral fiber and when pushed to the point, Americans respond as America always had, helping the unfortunate and protecting the weak. People were no more, or no less in love than any other time in history. So what happened?!
To sum it up in two words, Divorce Lawyer. The percentages of marriages resulting in divorce and the lucrative amount of fees available to be extracted from vindictive spouses produced a glut of lawyers specializing in divorce.
A once despised type of attorney known as “Ambulance Chasers”, because they preyed on the vulnerability of people in an exceptional mental and emotional stressful state of mind, were replaced by divorce lawyers as the most hated people in the legal society.
Because there was such a glut of attorneys the supply out stripped the demand, more divorce lawyers than divorces, which created competition for clients. The only way lawyers could stay fat with fees was to obtain a reputation of extracting every last dime possible from an estranged spouse, which was usually the husband.
There are thousands of horror stories of the two divorcees, the plaintiff and defendant as they are called, who were left with nothing except broken dreams, no assets and in most cases owing outstanding balances to the two lawyers involved. Divorces began to resemble shark feeding frenzies.
A couple does not have to retain lawyers in order to get a divorce. All the legal procedure and documentation can be processed with the help of the Court Clerk. In reality this applies to probably 1% of divorce cases, because rarely is a divorce amicable. So if one spouse hires an attorney, the other one is forced to and the feeding frenzy begins.
If faced with a divorce, which you and your spouse can not come to a financial agreement, which is always the best avenue, and you’re forced to hire an attorney, be very careful in choosing.
The best way to choose one is through word of mouth. Ask around, there’s no doubt someone at work, or church, or the gym who has had or knows of someone who has been divorced. See who they retained and their recommendation.
If you have to get one out of the Yellow Pages, interview them and don’t be bashful about asking questions. I have found lawyers will stick it to you and not blink an eye, don’t blink an eye when asking direct questions about their fees.
I had a very close friend pay a lawyer $3000 to represent him in his divorce, assuming and rightfully so, that was the fee for a finalized divorce. Two months later he received a bill for an additional $2000. When he inquired as to what the bill was for, he was told the $3000 was just for the lawyer to take the case, any legal work he did was extra.
My friend fired the attorney, who in turn sued for friend.
When dealing with divorce lawyers the old saying “Buyer Beware” applies very strongly.