Hiring a Rhode Island lawyer to handle your divorce should not mean that you leave everything to the lawyer. In my humble opinion, too many clients do that out of a sense of relief. Once a client engages a lawyer for his or her divorce, there is some sense of relief to the client. That's understandable. Now the client has someone who should be knowledgeable in divorce and family law to help him or her through the process and usually adds a certain level of comfort. A client no longer feels as though he or she is floundering in the dark.
Divorce clients, here is the catch. You need to retain a reasonable amount of control! Why?
Here are Three (3) Excellent Reasons to retain reasonable control in your RI Divorce over the Decision-Making:
1. It's either your credit, your money, or perhaps money that you borrowed that is paying for your lawyer, right? The less control you keep over the decisions in your case, the faster that money is likely to be burned up because your attorney is going to do what he or she thinks is right to protect your interests because you don't seem interested enough or because you aren't clear that you WANT to make the decisions as to what IS or IS NOT done in your case. Certainly the lawyer can advise you of the repercussions of your decisions, as long as it is clear what decisions you have made.
2. It's YOUR LIFE. You can hire the best Rhode Island lawyer to handle your divorce but ultimately it is YOUR LIFE that is on the line here. Who knows your life better than you? NOONE! So it makes perfect sense that you should control the decisions that are going to control YOUR future.
3. The less control you retain, the more decision making authority you hand over to your attorney or to the court regarding YOU LIFE!
If you haven't followed the common divorce thread I've tried to establish here, let me just spell it out bluntly. It's YOUR LIFE! You are the one who has lived it. You are the one who has to live with the decisions and how they affect your life.
Rhode Island divorce isn't always complicated but it isn't always easy either. So what's the point of having an attorney, right? Frankly, you should be hiring a divorce attorney to help guide you through the process and it's procedures and to know your rights and the alternatives available to you.
Too many times clients will hire lawyers in their divorce cases and give them carte blanche authority to make the decisions throughout their divorce.
Too often I have heard a male spouse tell me, "She says she won't do anything that her attorney doesn't recommend doing, OR I'm not doing anything unless my divorce lawyer tells me to do it." This is even in cases where a husband is offering an excessive amount of money and property to settle a case and the woman has already spoken to the woman about the offer. Even when the offer is so generously slanted in the wife's favor, I have heard that the attorney did not recommend it to their client.
I can't tell you the number of times I have sat in my office with my mouth wide open as attorneys reject settlement offers over the phone that they know from experience are absolutely fantastic without even having brought the offer to their client FIRST!
Now let me be very clear. I am NOT talking about small disagreements that attorneys might have. I'm talking about cases such as when I tell my client that he should not offer his wife 90% of everything and agree to pay all debt but the client insists that I do so anyway so I follow my client's directive and STILL the opposing spouse rejects the offer because the attorney did not recommend it. No explanation why. No idea why. No rational reason to reject an offer that is rarely awarded even after trial. Yet even the wife has no idea why her attorney didn't recommend it. She just wanted to here if her attorney recommended it or not.
That woman has made a crucial mistake. She has turned over complete control of her life and it's decisions to the divorce attorney without even knowing the reasons why.
Clients should not blindly expect that a lawyer's judgment should substitute for their own judgment. Lawyers in divorce cases should be informing you, instructing you, and advising you about alternatives, and risks involved. Based on these things YOU should be making the decisions based upon your own common sense, what has been explained to you, and the very fact that it is YOUR LIFE!
Remember, that the longer a divorce takes to complete the more money attorneys earn from the conflict and possibility of trial and consequently the LESS money there is left for you and your spouse to divide. In fact, attorneys' fees may actually cause your debts to rise if you have to put attorneys' fees for your divorce on your credit cards or if you have to pay back a friend or family member you may have borrowed the money from to pay for your attorneys' fees.
In the end, please use your common sense.
Personally, as a Rhode Island lawyer who focuses my law practice exclusively on divorce coaching and representation, I DO NOT want to take any more of your hard earned dollars than necessary. I grew up knowing what it was like to struggle and working numerous jobs.
While it took a lot to get me here, I understand that it's one thing to be paid for one's expertise in an area of law but it's another thing entirely for your divorce and all that goes with it to go any longer than it absolutely needs to.
Admittedly, I am only one of thousands of lawyers who practice divorce and not all attorneys think the way I do. I'll guide you. I'll inform you. I'll educate you. I'll give you my thoughts and the benefit of my experience. Yet what I won't do is substitute my judgment and decisions for yours! I understand that it is YOUR LIFE! I understand that you need to be able to live YOUR LIFE! I understand that you need to be able to move on in life without some attorney taking away your chance for a fresh start! You need to keep control of your case and I make sure that my clients know that.
Whether you come to see me or not, please do yourself a favor. Protect YOUR LIFE! Make sure that you don't turn over control of the decisions in your Rhode Island Divorce case to any attorney or to the court. They don't have to live your life and the consequences of the decisions that affect it. You do!
Find a common ground, be reasonable, decide on your own once you've been informed. You're not powerless! Once you have the information, you have all the power you need.
ALWAYS REMEMBER GOOD PEOPLE . . . it's YOUR LIFE!
Happy Holidays and My Best to All In Your Rhode Island Divorce and Family Court Matters!