A divorce is a difficult time, whether you filed the petition or received it. You are facing the prospect of establishing your financial independence and your own household for you and your children. You may have been out of the workforce for years. You may wish or need to relocate. No matter the circumstances, you need a high quality Colorado family law attorney to help you navigate the process and fight to protect your best interests and those of your children.
But there are so many lawyers out there. In fact, Yellow Pages has 81 listings for divorce attorneys in Colorado Springs. How do you know which divorce attorney provides superior counsel and service and is a good fit for you?
Qualities of an Effective Divorce Lawyer
A high quality divorce attorney will demonstrate compassionate professionalism throughout your case, which means your divorce attorney should be:
Rational and Objective
Some attorneys may take on their client’s emotionality, adopting the hurt, anger and desire to “get back at” the opposing party. Such an emotional investment in a case can cloud an attorney’s ability to effectively negotiate with the opposing counsel and work towards outcomes that are truly in the client’s and their child(ren)’s best interests.
Unfortunately, some unscrupulous lawyers prey upon the emotionality of those going through divorce. Some attorneys will use emotionally charged language to get potential clients to call them. For instance, knowing that parents want the best for their children, lawyers may call themselves “child advocates,” “child advocacy lawyers” or “father’s rights lawyers.” These labels by lawyers are oftentimes misleading.
Colorado is a “Child’s Best Interest” state. Colorado Revised Statutes §14-10-124 define the “best interests of [a] child” upon which all divorce determinations involving minors—i.e., child custody and child support—are based. Colorado family law attorneys cannot apply or not apply these standards at will or change them. In essence, these statutes make every Colorado family law attorney a “child advocate.”
Still, there are other attorneys who see opposing counsel as their “enemy,” leading them to communicate in a disrespectful, rude manner. Leaving phone messages or writing emails that name call, use slang or vernacular diction or make unreasonable demands is unprofessional. Such communications damage the working relationship between attorneys, which impedes the divorce process.
Willing to Negotiate and Willing to Exercise ALL Conflict Resolution Strategies
Obviously, you want someone who will fight for a fair division of assets, child support that will meet your child’s needs and a visitation schedule that preserves a healthy relationship between you and your child (provided there is no history of abuse). But some attorneys refuse to negotiate, driving their cases to trial. Non-negotiating attorneys may be driven by the emotionality they take on from their clients or they may be motivated to make more money. However, going to trial is, more often than not, not in the best interest of the client.
When a case cannot be negotiated, a trial will result. During a Contested Final Orders Hearing, the parties have a limited amount of time to have their case presented to the judge, who is not emotionally invested in you or your family’s future. Mediation and/or Arbitration, on the other hand, allows you more time to present your case. While mediators and/or arbiters are neutral third parties, they are not in the same rush to resolve disputes, so the chances of attaining outcomes that are amenable to both parties are improved. In addition, the parties have the opportunity to address the Arbiter on a more personal basis, whereas in court, there are far greater formalities.
Cost-effective does not mean “cheap.” Lawyers who are truly compassionate will set their retainers within reason so that the average person can afford to hire a first-rate lawyer. Your attorney’s hourly fees should fairly reflect the knowledge, experience and skill they bring, and the retainer should cover a significant portion of expenses to file, investigate and proceed with the beginning of your family law case. It is important to recognize, however, that retainers are not flat fees; as a client you will need to continue to pay until the case is completed. Certainly, negotiating a case and getting it resolved in a timely manner will result in less money spent. Your attorney should always be up-front with you about expenses and should honor the processes of negotiations.
When a lawyer runs up legal fees to suit his or her own agenda, which usually means a client ends up paying for the mistake of having an unsuitable lawyer.
First-Rate Colorado Family Lawyer
Gordon N. Shayne has over 34 years of experience, with over 13 of those years dedicated solely to the practice of family law. Mr. Shayne understands the nuances of Colorado family law statutes and always keeps the best interest of any child(ren) involved as the focus of the case. Mr. Shayne’s services are an excellent value. He strives to minimize expenses over and above the retainer by utilizing all available conflict resolution options.
To discuss your divorce case and find out if Mr. Shayne is a good fit for you, please contact the Law Office of Gordon N. Shayne.
Disclaimer: The blogs posted on ShayneLaw.com are offered for informational purposes only. These blogs are not a solicitation for legal business and should not be construed as providing any legal advice or legal opinions as to any specific fact or circumstance. Specific legal issues, concerns and conditions always require the advice of an appropriate legal professional. To obtain legal advice or opinions about Colorado family law, personally consult with a licensed Colorado attorney.