This is the second in my line of posts responding to the questions posed by Carla Schiff Donnelly in her article about hiring the right divorce lawyer. There, she poses several questions that a person should ask a divorce lawyer in the initial interview. Here is my answer to question #2:
- What is your approach to a new case?
Every case is different, depending on whether it is contested or uncontested, just beginning or already in the middle of litigation, and depending on the issues involved. Most often the first step would be to file the divorce petition and schedule a temporary hearing. The purpose of the temporary hearing is to get some ground rules – temporary orders – in place that will last while the divorce is pending. During this phase we evaluate the need for experts or consultants to add to our team – one example would be to hire a business valuation expert if that is an issue. The next phase involves gathering the information needed to attempt settlement of the case. This phase is called discovery. Once we have enough information to make educated decisions, then we will work to schedule mediation in order to try to get an agreement. One thing is for sure, a divorce will only happen after one of two outcomes – either settlement or a contested trial. If settlement doesn’t work, then we request a trial setting and prepare for presentation of the case to the judge.