Reviving an Old Friendship

Regaining the Spark in Your Marriage

The next of six articles focused on fulfillment in life talks about reviving an old friendship. In this article, we’ll be examining how we can best regain the spark in our most important “old” friendship, the one with our spouse. Relationships go through cycles and changes and that is very normal; no one expects to stay in the “honeymoon phase” of a relationship forever, but what are spouses to do when a piece of their relationship has become like an old friendship and they feel out of touch.

Taking Inventory

The article starts by suggesting that you examine why you and the friend first fell out of touch; did one of you move? Your interests changed? It became more and more difficult to find the time? Unfortunately, when you feel distanced from your spouse it can be more difficult to put your finger on exactly what is different. Every relationship is unique, so figuring out the special things that make yours tick can be a challenge. Start with retracing your steps, what were the circumstances around the last time you remember really enjoying time with your spouse; was it planned or spontaneous? Something normal and “everyday” or was it a vacation or a special night out? Remembering what worked in the past can give you clues on how to move forward.

Manage Expectations

A sudden change in your approach to the relationship or your behavior can be off-putting, even alarming to your spouse. Communication and managing expectations are both critical. If your surprise date night happens the same day your spouse had a bad day at work and got stuck in traffic you may need to be flexible. Springing “I want to talk about our relationship” onto your spouse can make your spouse feel sensitive or defensive. Just understand that making changes and breaking habits, while rewarding, involves some level of risk as well.

Availability & Honesty

Whether you are trying to simply have better conversations or surprise your spouse with a second honeymoon, be open, honest and ready to work for what you want. Investing in your relationship with your spouse can feel difficult and even scary, but a commitment to constantly improving your relationship will pay off in the end.

Parties, Dates, And Why They Matter

The second piece in our six piece series on fulfillment is a guide to navigating a party or other social situation effectively.  The author of the original article lays out some nice tips about how to work your way through a party or gathering.  These are great tips for navigating a party as an individual, but there are also some parallels that are helpful for your most important social relationship, the one with your spouse.  We are going to take a high-level look at the tips the author offered and think about them in the context of a marriage.

Preparation and Purpose

Being prepared for a party includes thinking about your appearance, what to bring with you, and spending some time thinking about your expectations and what you are trying to accomplish.   If you are struggling to make meaningful time with your spouse, this same approach can work.  Make a plan so that you and your spouse have committed the time, and then go above and beyond by preparing for your time together.  Whether that means special attention to how you look or where you will go or even just what you’d like to talk about, showing that you invested time and effort to your time together will be meaningful to your spouse.

Mingling and Meeting New People

A portion of the article was dedicated to helping people get over the awkward humps one faces when you’ve just met.  However, uncomfortable silences and an inability to find common ground to discuss is something that spouses can also experience.  While there are more specific solutions when dealing with people you just met the fundamental idea of being pleasant and available certainly will certainly work with your spouse as well.  Ask about work, what’s going on with friends, personal or professional goals, etc..  Treat your spouse with the same care and concern that you would show when trying to make a good first impression. 

Breaking Phone Habits

It’s cliché and for good reason; we are all spending too much time looking at our phones.  In the original article, it talks about how looking at your phone makes you seem inaccessible and not open to meeting new people at a party.  The fallback of looking at a phone in moments of boredom or distraction can also send a message to your spouse.  Out to dinner?  Consciously commit to not looking at your phone unless it’s necessary.  It’s all too easy for spouses to fall into old habits that isolate you from one another.  Being present when spending time together is a lot easier if you’re not staring at a phone.

Don’t “Mail it In”

Your marriage isn’t a party, but a lot of the tips for preparing for a social gathering are also very helpful to keeping your marriage on track.  The common theme in a lot of the tips offered were grounded in the idea that effort and thoughtfulness go a long way.  In many struggling marriages spouses will look for miracle fixes or grandiose gestures when the real building block of any good relationship is consistently being available and showing that you care.  You wouldn’t try to impress people at a party by showing up late, not looking great and then being disengaged and staring at your phone, so show your spouse that same effort, whether that be on a special date night, or just spending a few minutes together in the midst of the chaos.

Patience, Relationships & Divorce

You’ve probably heard the phrase “Patience is a Virtue” most of your life. Patience is something that people generally seem to struggle with. We have all lost our patience in situations that have probably caused other people problems, just as we have ourselves have likely been the victims of other peoples’ impatience. Being more in touch with our own emotions and understanding what is causing a lack of patience can give us the tools to train ourselves to be more a more patient, and likely a more fulfilled, person as a result.

Types of Patience

The article refers to three types of patience; while you may see some overlap between the three in your own life and experience, identifying what type of patience is required is a good first step.

  1. Interpersonal Patience –
    People and relationships require patience. This may be the most apt type of patience when discussing divorce and relationships. It takes patience to change, and it takes patience to ask for other people to change as well. Patience is truly the currency of a strong and healthy relationship. If you find yourself losing your patience with a spouse or loved one, think of the times that they have had patience with you.
  2. Life Hardships –
    When faced with hardships in life, simply getting out of bed or getting through the day can seem like an insurmountable challenge. When we face difficulties, we need patience to remind ourselves that the strength to go on and work towards a better life comes one day at a time. A death in the family, a divorce, or any other major event requires both the patience to work and grow through the emotional challenges, but also being patience with this process, which can feel very slow.
  3. Daily Hassles –
    Tiny annoyances can feel enormous when we are under stress. From your phone not working to not being able to remember where your keys are to a phone call from your parents; the tiniest things seem to set us off on certain days. This can make it challenging to even identify when and how you need to focus on patience because it feels like “everything is driving me crazy”

Identify & Understand Triggers

When we “lose our patience” it’s usually our “Fight or Flight” response coming into play. The feeling is caused by the chemical in our brain that is the “fight” element of our “fight or flight” response. This chemical, or rather when it’s released is extremely simple and does not have the ability to distinguish between a minor annoyance and actual danger. That means the that becoming bothered by standing in line can release the chemical that would be triggered by realizing you are on a plane that’s about to crash or are about to be attacked by a bear. The key is identifying when you feel this way and identifying the situation that triggered the feeling.

Interrupt the Cycle – Evaluate the Risk

Once you have identified something that has caused you to lose your patience, think back to it when you are calm. Were you in any danger? If you were upset by waiting in a line, how much time did it really take from your day? Was the stress actually rooted in you not leaving the house as early as you should have? You were distressed – your brain was releasing a chemical indicating you were in danger – was there really any danger? Most of the time, there was not.

Train. Don’t “Try”

It’s easy to say that you’ll TRY to be more patient, but the article suggests that we need to make a conscious effort to train ourselves to be more patient. There is almost no situation where losing your patience is beneficial, and while you want to be assertive when you need to and hold others accountable, losing your patience is hardly ever the appropriate way to do so. Challenge yourself to be more patient, and when you are not, make note of it so that you can be more aware, and hopefully train your brain to be more patient in the future.

Patience in the Divorce Process

As a divorce lawyer, I talk to people about patience a lot. There are cases where a marriage can be saved, either through more patience with your spouse, or the collective patience of both spouses to work through counseling or therapy together. If you have decided that divorce is the best course of action, you will still need to be long on patience as the process can be long and challenging. Wherever you are in the process, I hope to be a guide and help you work towards the best possible outcome. Contact me for more information.

Say I Do… To Fulfillment

With the new year upon us and the Holidays all but a distant memory, the family law courts will be busy with new filings. People tend to not get divorced during the holiday season, and it picks up again in January. So it would make sense for our blog to focus on traditional topics like custody, asset division and the complexities of divorce. Instead, we are going to run a six part articles about saying “I Do….to Fulfillment”.

What is Fulfillment?

Living a life of fulfillment is something that we all strive to do, but often have trouble figuring out exactly how to achieve this complex goal. The term “Fulfillment” makes me think about the old adage that “money can not buy happiness”. More specifically, that a person’s “happiness” or ability to feel fulfilled isn’t tied to what we have or even what we’re doing, but to how we feel about it. Is it a “once in a lifetime trip?” or an “unbearable 6 hour plane ride”? Is it “The opportunity to start a great week” or “a terrible Monday morning”. Fulfillment seems like it may have more to do with our own perception, rather than what’s really going on around us.

What Does any of This Have to Do with Divorce?

The original article that was the inspiration for these posts lists six different tips to help have better relationships. We are going to break each one down into a short article and share some thoughts about how the concept ties in to family law. Hopefully it will help you gain some perspective on your own situation. Some people get divorced because of the promise of their second chance; others get divorced because they can’t continue with their current situation another day. Regardless of the reason for your divorce, we hope that these articles at least help you to ponder how the decision you make will relate to your long-term happiness and sense of fulfillment.

Long-Term Mental and Physical Health

There are six topics we’ll cover, all with the goal of obtaining a better perspective of our surroundings, what we’ve accomplished and who we are. If you’re interested in reading the full text of the original articles, click here. The six topics include (these will become links as the articles are published):

Beverly Hills Divorce & Family Law

If you have questions about your own family law situation, the experienced team at Maguire & Associates is ready to help. To take the first step, contact us today.

What is a QDRO? How Are Retirement Accounts Handled in a Divorce?

How to Ensure You’re Getting (or Protecting) Your Fair Share

If you are facing a divorce, you’re likely concerned about how your “assets” or simply, the things that you and your spouse own together, will be divided. In California, property is categorized before it is divided. Everything that the two of you own will be designated as “community property” or “separate property”. One of the most valuable things people own is their 401(k), IRA, or other retirement accounts, so it’s very important to closely examine how money in a retirement account will be divided.

How Are Assets Divided in a Divorce?

Obviously if you have $1000 in cash, each person would take $500. However, the reality of property division is that almost NO asset is that straightforward. Houses, cars, savings accounts that existed before the marriage all create their own unique challenges in determining how to fairly categorize and then divide them. IRAs, 401(k) and other retirement accounts used to create a challenge because they have a unique tax status and cannot be “liquidated”, meaning you typically pay early-withdrawal penalties if you deduct money from certain types of retirement accounts.

How Are Retirement Accounts Divided?

The QDRO, or Qualified Domestic Relations Order is a special court order to divide the 401(k), IRA, or other retirement account without changing the account’s tax status. Instead, the retirement account is split into two accounts and then renamed for the individual spouses.

Will the Retirement Account Be Divided 50/50?

That is a question of how the funds in the retirement accounts will be categorized; community property or separate property. While each case is unique, generally the funds would be considered community property and would be split 50/50 if the income that contributed to the retirement account was earned while the two spouses were married.

Could My Spouse Have Retirement Accounts I Don’t Know About?

It’s possible. If you suspect that your spouse is hiding money or that there are accounts you are unaware of, talk to a lawyer today. If you choose to work with us, we will do a detailed financial overview of your situation and ensure that you are getting the funds that you are entitled to.

Beverly Hills Divorce Lawyer – Experienced in Retirement Accounts and Complex Financial Situation

No matter what type of complex financial situation you are facing in your divorce, we can help. We have experience in handling very large asset division cases and work with a network of financial experts and forensic accountants when needed. At The Law Offices of Michael L. Maguire & Associates, our team will work with you each step of the way towards the best possible outcome. To learn more about how we can help you, contact our office today.

Four More Reasons Why You Should Have a Divorce Lawyer on Your Side

In the previous article, we discussed the first four reasons that you should have a divorce lawyer on your side:

  1. Expert Advice
  2. Avoiding Common Mistakes
  3. Reduce Stress
  4. Keeping on an Appropriate Timeline

In this article, we will continue with four more reasons it is important to have an effective and experienced family law attorney on your side when working through the divorce process.

1. Divorce Agreement that is Clear, Binding and Enforceable

You do not want to work your way through the entire divorce process only to go to family law court and have your agreement not be approved because of mistakes or omissions. Even worse, is having the agreement approved only to find out that there is something that needs to be changed, which (see below) is not easy. With an experienced divorce lawyer protecting your interests you can be confident that the divorce agreement produced will be accepted by the family law court. You can also count on a divorce agreement that protects your interests both now and into the foreseeable future. There are times when life changes require that an agreement be modified, but you do not want to have to go through the difficult and expensive modification process because you simply made an error.

2. Understand Your Rights

Every divorce is unique as every set of divorcing spouses has a unique financial situation, a unique relationship with their children, and ideas about what an ideal outcome is. When you talk to someone else who has gotten divorced, their situation could be completely different. Every day we talk to people who are 100% sure about how something is going to work out…be that a custody arrangement, a financial arrangement a divorce timeline or how often they will see their kids. All due respect to each and every one of our clients, but they come in with misinformation that is affecting the way that they approach their divorce. Our job is to clarify their situation, help them understand how the law applies to them and give them options for moving forward. If you have not talked to an attorney, do not take anything for granted. Every divorce is unique. Come in and talk to the experienced divorce attorneys at The Law Offices of Michael L. Maguire & Associates so we can build a strategy and pursue the best path for you and your children.

3. Help Both Parents Maintain a Role in their Children’s lives

Along with financial issues, how the custody arrangement will be handled is often the most contentious detail to settle in a divorce. There are extremely rare cases (where abusive behavior or extensive and documented issues with chemical / substance abuse are involved) where the California family law court will limit or prohibit one parent from seeing the children. However, in almost all custody arrangements parents are expected to work with each other. You will need to agree to and honor your child custody agreement with your ex-spouse. The California family law courts will look to protect the best interest of the child in custody arrangements. Having parents who fight or purposely violate the custody agreement is not in anyone’s best interest. An experienced child custody attorney will help you protect your parental rights, and also can help you hold your ex-spouse accountable if they are not honoring the custody agreement.

4. Correcting Mistakes from a Divorce Decree is Difficult

Divorce modifications are necessary at times. If the custody agreement isn’t working, or someone’s employment situation changes, the divorce agreement may need to change as well. However, there is not an easy or quick process to fix minor omissions or mistakes. When you have a divorce agreement that was not prepared by an experienced lawyer, costly mistakes are much more likely.

If you are facing a divorce, having a lawyer on your side protects your interest and ensures that you and your family reach the best possible outcome. For questions about the divorce process in California, or to get started working with the Beverly Hills divorce lawyers at The Law Offices of Michael L. Maguire & Associates contact us today.

Four Reasons Why You Need a Divorce Lawyer on Your Side.

If you are considering getting a divorce, or know you will be going through one soon, you may be looking into lower cost alternatives to hiring an attorney.  Do-it-yourself solutions, un-bundled legal services and different types of mediation are becoming increasingly popular as divorcing couples look for ways to make their divorce as cost-effective as possible.  When soon-to-be divorcing couples see that they can simply download some forms or even share one lawyer they may ask “do I really need a divorce lawyer?” or “how can a divorce lawyer help me?”.

At the Beverly Hills Law Office of Michael L. Maguire & Associates, we work with people throughout the Los Angeles metro area who are facing divorce.  We do not believe in a “one size fits all” approach, rather we custom tailor a plan specific to your specific family situation.  Whether or not there are minor children involved, where your ex-spouse will reside and your shared financial situation all have a dramatic impact on how your divorce should be handled.  Trusting a “one size fits all” approach, or trying to handle your divorce on your own can lead to very expensive and very difficult problems down the road.  When you hire a lawyer to represent you, it can seem expensive compared to lower cost and do-it-yourself solutions.  However, a mistake when handling your own divorce can cost you tens of thousands of dollars for years to come.  Having a dedicated, experienced lawyer looking out solely for your interest and your children’s interest is the best way to reach the best outcome and ensure that you do not have to re-visit key pieces of your divorce because mistakes were made.

The following article explains four additional reasons that it pays to have a lawyer on your side.  If you are facing a divorce and would like to speak with the experienced attorneys at The Law Offices of Michael L. Maguire & Associates, do not hesitate to contact us.

1. Expert Advice

If you were climbing Mt. Everest, you’d likely go with a sherpa.  On vacation in New York City you would probably hire a cab instead of trying to navigate the busy streets on your own.  There are countless examples of how we rely on a guide with meaningful experience, especially when we are up against a difficult challenge.  Going through a divorce is no different; you likely have never gone through the divorce process before.  The stakes around your divorce are simply too high to allow it to be a “learning experience”.  Trust an experienced divorce attorney to make sure that you can work through the challenges of a divorce and arrive at the best possible outcome for you and your family.

2. Avoid Costly Mistakes

Do you understand the nuances between community property, separate property and quasi-community property?  What about assets that have changed in value during the duration of the marriage?  How do you take retirement accounts or items with sentimental value and split them 50/50?  What about outstanding debt?  A mortgage?  Tax liability?  The fact is, there are a lot of difficult, and potentially very costly issues that can arise even from a “simple” divorce.  An experienced attorney on your side gives you the confidence and knowledge to make the right decisions each step of the way.  Don’t make a mistake that could cost you money and peace of mind for years to come.  Even the smallest oversight or omission could result in a major financial loss for you (or gain for your soon to be ex-spouse).

3. Reduce Stress

No one should expect you to make it through the entire divorce process without feeling some stress.  It’s a massive life change that can turn every important piece of your life up-side down.  When you are wrestling with your personal finances, where you live, the car you drive and the mental and emotional health of your children it would be strange to NOT feel stress during a divorce.  However, there is no reason to be stressed about missing a court deadline or filing incorrect paperwork.  When you have an experienced divorce attorney on your side, you can let go of the worries tied to procedural issues and focus on making sure that you and your children get through the divorce process as easily and stress-free as possible.

4. Keeping on an Appropriate Timeline

Divorces can take as little as a few months, while others can drag on for years.  There are many variables that will  affect how long your divorce takes, but a lack of familiarity with the divorce process should not be one of them.  Working with the divorce lawyers at The Law Offices Michael L. Maguire & Associates in Beverly Hills helps ensure that every step of your divorce stays on schedule.

In our follow up article, we will discuss four more reasons why it’s important to have a family law attorney protecting your interests through the divorce process, including:

  1. Ensuring Your Divorce Agreement is Binding
  2. Understanding Your Rights
  3. Help Both Parents Maintain a Role in their Children’s’ lives
  4. Correcting Mistakes from a Divorce Decree is Difficult

What Happens to a Dog in a Divorce?

January 1st brings a Change in California Law Regarding Pets & Divorce

What was considered “Family Property” will be considered “Community Property”

In most divorces, the two biggest points of conflict are financial issues, and child custody.  However, due to a change in California family law that takes effect on Jan 1, 2019, pets may soon become the third most contested issue in California divorces.

Most pet owners consider their pets a part of the family.  While dogs (and possibly cats) will not get the same treatment and focus that a minor child does in a divorce, they will no longer simply be seen as “family property”, a status that gives them little more standing in California Family Law Court than a big screen TV or an album collection.

Once dogs are considered “family property” that means that a judge may decide which divorcing spouse gets the dog based on who feeds the dog, takes the dog on walks, brings the dog to the vet and generally cares for the dog more.  Obviously all of these issues are open to interpretation, but the fact that a dog is more than simply an item going through the asset division process is likely going to provide a better outcome for divorcing spouses and their pets.

Before the new law, judges didn’t have any very good options for deciding who would get possession of a dog or other family pet.  Some judges tried creative approaches like putting the dog between the divorcing spouses to try to determine who the dog liked best.  In cases where there were two dogs, some judges would simply give each spouse one of the dogs (which is obviously not a solution that would be applied to children as it’s clearly not in their best interest).  This new law should give judges and divorcing spouses a better outcome in terms of ensuring that the decision made is the best decision for the family pet.

While the change in law refers to how a family law judge would view a pet, it’s important to understand that, just like every other decision in a divorce, this is not an issue that begins by being brought before a judge.  Every divorcing couple is asked by the courts to try to work through the key issues before them including asset division, child custody, spousal maintenance and now, who will get the family pet.  Only a very small percentage of divorce cases (where two spouses have exhausted all possible efforts to compromise and come up with a plan) are actually controlled by a family law judge. This is why it’s so critical to work with a divorce lawyer who has a rock solid understanding of California family law and extensive experience negotiating complex issues, even when conflict levels get high.

Who Will Get the Dog in a Divorce?

While there is still no simple answer to this question, the change in law that is coming Jan 1, 2019 will start giving dogs the consideration most people think they deserve, which is a part of the family instead of simply a possession.

If you are facing a divorce (with or without a shared dog or other pet) count on the experience and expertise of Michael Maguire.  To learn more about Michael’s qualifications as a divorce lawyer, click here  and to contact our office and arrange a consultation, click here.

What Divorced Men Wish They Had Done Differently

A man after his divorce

Perspective from Men who went through a divorce.

Whether you are just thinking about divorce, have begun speaking to your spouse to it, or are actively seeking a divorce attorney, managing regret or feelings of hesitation is a big part of divorce for most people. A recent article on Huffington Post interviewed men who had been through their divorce to try to determine what, if anything, they wish they had done differently during their marriage, or while going through the divorce process.

As the full article states, hindsight is 20/20 and it can be very difficult to fix a relationship while you are involved emotionally. Some of the items on the list speak to how men acted while their relationship was unraveling, and others show that sometimes divorce is inevitable, such as when two people get married for the wrong reasons, too fast or too young.

Here are some of the things men who had been through a divorce wished that they had done differently.

I wish I had waited to get married
• I wish I had been honest about my personal fears and struggles
• I wish I had stood up for myself more
• I wish I had truly listened to her because she just wanted to be heard
• I wish I had taken responsibility for my part in our issues

The full text of the article is available here.

If you are considering divorce and feel like you want to speak with a lawyer, either to move forward or to simply have a better understanding of the process and what to expect, the experienced family law attorneys at Michael Maguire and Associates. We can’t guarantee that you’ll never have a regret, or that you may wish you had done some things during the time of your marriage differently, but we can promise that we will work with you through the process in a thoughtful and thorough manner to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your future.  To contact us, click here.

Six Tips for Anyone Facing a Divorce

Beverly Hills Divorce Lawyer

If you have recently decided that you are getting divorced, you are likely feeling overwhelmed by the process ahead of you.  It can feel like you need to choose a divorce lawyer right away, especially if your ex-spouse is already represented.  However, at The Law Offices of Michael L. Maguire & Associates in Beverly Hills, California we encourage people facing a divorce to ensure they are taking the right amount of time to make the best choices.  The decisions you make right in the beginning of your divorce process can have a powerful and lasting effect; make sure you’re understanding the repercussions of your decisions and not rushing into anything.  Here are six tips that can be helpful for someone who is just beginning the divorce process:

1. This isn’t going to happen overnight – Take Your time

Understanding that a divorce takes time will help you manage your way through the process, but also keep a reasonable expectation.  Divorce is certainly more of a marathon than a sprint and you need to pace yourself emotionally, physically, mentally and financially.  Do not rush into any decisions; including the selection of a family lawyer.  You’re going to be working with your divorce lawyer for quite some time, and the lawyer you choose makes difference.  Spending some money to arrange a few consultations is a great investment towards ensuring that you hire the best lawyer for your situation.

2. Expect Ups and Downs. Take Care of Yourself

It’s very normal to go through physical changes during your divorce; gaining weight, losing weight, and feeling anxious are all very normal.  Even if you are “happy you’re getting divorced” it’s still one of the biggest changes a person can go through; self-care is incredibly important.  Make sure you’re eating healthy and not over-doing it with alcohol.  Seeing a therapist is helpful to work through some of the emotional baggage that can come with divorce.  Be careful not to bury yourself in work or other distractions.  Keeping a journal to track your progress and how you feel may be helpful.  Everyone is different, so different things will work for different people,  but the one thing that everyone who is going through a divorce has is common is that they need to monitor their emotions and well-being throughout the process.

3. Remaining civil is beneficial to you, even if your ex is terrible

I get it; you’re getting divorced for a reason… it’s very normal, and you very likely have, some negative feelings towards your ex.  However, a part of getting through a divorce is being able to let go of those negative feelings and focus on your new life.  Getting angry, upset, vindictive, jealous, etc. may seem like the natural thing to do in the moment but it only makes the emotional toll of divorce greater.  Focusing on the issues and working through towards the resolution is the only effort that deserves your energy.

4. Being the favorite parent is not going to benefit your kids

Minor children may express a want to be with one parent instead of the other.  If you are the “favorite” parent it may feel like a win, but the reality is it’s a sign that your children are struggling with how to navigate the emotional process of their parents getting divorced.  Do not let your children hear you bad-mouth the other parent.  Do not engage in conversations you would not want your ex-spouse having with your children.  There are several books and other online resources that can help offer suggestions about how to talk to kids about divorce; for a few suggestions, see this article.

5. Child Support and Parenting Time are two different things

It’s normal for divorcing couples to assume that child support paid from one parent can determine, or cancel, or delay parenting time.  The fact is, child support and parenting time or child custody are two very different things.  Do not deny your ex-spouse’s right to access to their children based on what they have or have not paid in child support.  If you are in a difficult situation we may be able to help you make a motion for temporary support but modifying or refusing to comply with a parenting plan, especially a court-issued parenting plan is a big mistake.

6. Have a budget and a plan

When you talk to a divorce lawyer in an initial consultation, they should be able to provide you with both a plan of how they will navigate your unique situation through the complex California divorce process, as well as an idea of how much it will cost to do so.  No lawyer is going to give you an exact price, there are many variables in a divorce and they are by nature unpredictable.  However, your lawyer should be able to clearly lay out how much they charge per hour, how many hours they believe your case will take, and how much money they need in advance to get started.  Your divorce lawyer should also be able to provide you a general road map of the issues that need to be resolved in your divorce and how they intend to do so.  Be wary of any divorce lawyer who makes guarantees about how much a divorce will cost, exactly what your custody situation will be, or any other detail.  Divorce is a process of discovery, negotiation and making a detailed plan based on the unique situation of the people getting divorced and their children.  A lawyer who over-promises may sound great before you sign up, but it’s a recipe for disaster when the realities of divorce set in.

Do you have questions about getting started with a divorce?  Are you interviewing divorce lawyers in the Los Angeles or greater California area?  The experienced, effective family law and divorce attorneys at  are ready to help you develop a plan and work through the divorce process to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family.