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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Five Red Flags that Your Divorce Attorney is on the Wrong Road

Divorce lawyers are expensive; far too expensive for what most families need in a divorce proceeding.  If you are involved in a divorce, here are some warning signs to help you determine whether you are getting your money's worth for this important service.

1.  Lack of Communication.  A breakdown in communication is the number one cause of client dissatisfaction with their divorce attorney.  If a lawyer does not return your call within a reasonable time, she is either too busy or does not care about your case.

We all know in this era of smart phones that our lawyers get our calls, emails, and text messages within minutes of pushing the send button.  Has your lawyer provided a cell phone contact; do you have access to her staff?  If not, then you are not a priority in their office.

2.  Does not know your case.  Any engaged lawyer will have several cases going at one time.  Every family is different.  But a good lawyer will be sharp enough to master the basic facts and dynamics of your family.  The next time you have a status meeting with your lawyer, listen carefully to the lawyer to determine whether he speaks in general terms; or whether he has a specific plan that applies to the facts of your case; your family.

3.  Excessive Billings.  Do you get sticker shock each month when you examine your divorce attorney's invoice?  More troubling: do you even get a monthly invoice?  Although many lawyers will have you believe that family law is "rocket science", it is not.  If you are being billed more than $250 per hour for non-court related tasks such as preparing "summaries", checklists, or budgets, you are getting fleeced.

One trick unethical lawyers employ is to bill your file at the end of the proceeding, after you cut your deal, and after they see what's available for their fees.  Often in such cases, a premium is baked into the final fee.  Get your fee agreement in writing at the beginning of the process and insist on monthly invoices.  When you receive the invoices, open them immediately as you would any other bill and examine them for accuracy.  If you do not agree with items on the invoice, call the lawyer to discuss it right away; it is more difficult to raise fee issues several months down the road.

4.  Arrogant and Antagonistic.  The "old-school" image of a classic lawyer is that she holds herself above everyone else; is smarter than everyone and not afraid to prove it over and over again.  These lawyers carry themselves with a certian touch of, er, arrogance.

In the trenches of family law, however, the real trick is to find a reasonable solution to your specific issues that works for everyone, particularly if there are young children.  Arrogance is not a trait that gets this done.  Does your lawyer show condescension toward you or does he repeatedly become antagonistic toward opposing counsel?  If so, this is a sign of weakness, not strength.  You may want to consider changing counsel.

5.  Too Many Excuses.  If your divorce lawyer lacks candor, fire him immediately.  Unless he can effectively communicate with you on time regarding your specific issues; unless she follows through and does what she says, delivering service in your case on time, you have a big problem.

We hope these tips help you identify whether you are on the right road with your divorce attorney.  After all, your life is in their hands.

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12 Comments:

Blogger Sylvia said...

Absolutely correct yes these five points make your divorce on the wrong way.

Sylvia Miller
Divorce Help solutions

July 14, 2011 at 10:41 PM 
Blogger Shane said...

Yeah, even as a divorce lawyer I agree with these statements for the most part. That said, not all lawyers are "too expensive" and you want to ensure that you have the best legal counsel available if you are facing a contested divorce. For many couples, a much cheaper, faster and easier route could be uncontested divorce.
Virginia Divorce Lawyer

September 1, 2011 at 12:23 AM 
Blogger Liaise said...

Good post! The points expressed here are often true.

oakland divorce lawyer

September 13, 2011 at 9:17 AM 
Blogger jane said...

If there are two things I learned from watching my sister's divorce it is that you want a good lawyer who works with you, and uncontested divorces are the best way to go. It's disturbing to think that even while going through something like a divorce, you still have to make sure that your lawyer is not taking from you as well.

October 14, 2011 at 5:44 PM 
Anonymous Divorce lawyers said...

Very impressive. I like your ideas! Thanks!

October 21, 2011 at 4:46 AM 
Blogger Marky said...

LOL. How can a Divorce Lawyer be on the wrong road when he is supposed to be the one who should guide the client to the right path. Whew.

October 27, 2011 at 2:11 AM 
Anonymous Chicago Divorce Attorney said...

A person never thinks that he/she will face the situation of Divorce but situation makes then to go with divorce. Divorce is that last step a couple takes when they don’t have any option to leave together. But think if for divorce also you need to run to court so many times and you get frustrated of that. Of course we don't want that.

May 1, 2012 at 3:09 AM 
Blogger Elliot Heidelberger said...

Yes, i completely agree with your points. Thanks for sharing great information for people who are looking for a good divorce lawyer to get divorce.
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Lawyers for Divorce

January 23, 2013 at 8:40 AM 
Blogger Layne Adams said...

Hi, nice post. This is an interesting and very informative topic. Thanks for sharing your ideas. Good blogs style too, can't wait to read another one like this. Cheers!
Family Law Attorney Suffolk County, NY

May 13, 2013 at 1:15 AM 
Blogger Michael A. Meschino said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

July 17, 2013 at 9:23 AM 
Blogger Jessica Mador said...

Nice post! A great divorce lawyer will communicate well, fight for their client’s rights and make sure they are treated fairly under the law. Choosing a good divorce attorney can make the divorce process much smoother. Thanks.

Colorado Springs divorce attorneys

January 15, 2014 at 10:48 AM 
Blogger Rodney Winerson said...

These are all good things to look out for during your divorce case. That would be terrible to have a attorney that does not even know your case. There is no way they would be able to help you if they have no clue what is going on. http://www.bhtampa.com/practice-areas/family-law/divorces/

April 14, 2015 at 6:22 PM 

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