I don’t want to “roll over” but how can I stick up for myself without causing my situation to escalate?
Once you sign off on your divorce agreement it is incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to change it, so you should think of this as your only real chance to get a settlement you can live with. And research shows kids do better when their parents are satisfied with their financial settlement.* So, don’t be afraid to stand up for your rights – it’s good for everyone.
A contested divorce does not necessarily mean a big fight or a high conflict case. It just means you want to negotiate a fair resolution to your unique situation. In a contested divorce, the parties typically each have legal counsel. It’s great if you have lawyers who know each other and work well together so they can process your case efficiently and cost effectively. As you can imagine, one of the wild cards in any divorce is the lawyer your spouse chooses. That choice can literally be the difference in tens of thousands of dollars in attorneys’ fees and your ability to co-parent with your spouse in the future.
Some contested divorces do end up getting very intense and litigious. As you probably know, divorce consistently ranks in the top five most stressful life events, so it makes sense to find a lawyer who can work cooperatively with opposing counsel if at all possible.
Finding the Right Divorce Lawyer for Your Contested Divorce
How does all this impact your choice of a lawyer? Well, you certainly want to find a legal team that actually cares about and is interested in you and your family. Will your lawyer take your calls? Can you reach her in an emergency after hours or on weekends? Do you feel rushed when you are in a meeting? Is the paralegal on your case someone with whom you feel comfortable? These are some issues you should consider when choosing a Seattle or Bellevue divorce lawyer. Oftentimes things can heat up quickly in a contested divorce and you will want a lawyer who can change gears and make sure your rights are protected.
When a Contested Divorce Turns Into a High-Conflict Divorce
Sometimes a contested divorce escalates into a high conflict case and almost every issue ends up going through the courts or other formal processes. You can lose valuable time and strategic position if your lawyer is not ready to fight vigorously on your behalf in court. Some lawyers specialize in amicable or contested non-litigated divorces and are not prepared; nor do they have the necessary experience or interest in the courtroom. It’s always best to have a lawyer who stresses amicable resolution, but has the trial experience to hit the courthouse running if necessary.
Dividing Property in a Contested Divorce
Another thing to consider in a contested divorce is whether you and your soon-to-be-ex will be able to cooperatively gather documents like financial records. In some cases the parties voluntarily exchange records, but if this is not the case, documents must be gathered through subpoenas, depositions and written interrogatories. Areas of disagreement — such as hidden assets, or the value of the house or family business — often require an investigation. You may need professionals to provide expert opinions. Be sure you have a lawyer who has longstanding relationships with these experts so they will be readily available to protect your interests.
DuBois Cary Law Group Provides the Support You Need in a Contested Divorce
The one thing you need in a contested case is information, information, information. Everyone on the team at DuBois Cary Law Group has extensive experience in helping individuals through the complex and stressful divorce process. Everyone has an iPhone and is usually accessible via e-mail even in the evenings and on weekends to help with urgent matters. One reason we work in teams is so that there will always be someone available to help you when you need it. Each client has an assigned paralegal who quickly becomes your go-to person. He or she is there to provide not only legal support, but to anticipate possible problems and help come up with creative solutions. Your paralegal will be responsible to draft legal forms and other documents and will be the one to gather documentation necessary to determine the best possible financial settlement and parenting plan.
Please give us a call to find out if DuBois Cary is a good fit for your divorce situation.
If you have further questions concerning contested divorce or want to arrange a confidential consultation with a Seattle or Bellevue divorce attorney, please contact us today. We have offices in Seattle and Bellevue and can meet with you in one or both of those locations as needed. We look forward to meeting you and helping you with your contested divorce issues.
*See Malcore, S.A., Windell, J. Seyun, M., Hill E. (2010). Predictors of Continued Conflict After Divorce or Separation From a High-Conflict Group Treatment Program. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage.