Fathers often feel inherently disadvantaged in the family courts of the United States, especially when it comes to divorce. For years, fathers have contended with outdated tropes and stereotypes, many of which have inhibited fathers from securing custody rights for their children or led to incredibly one-sided divorce orders in financial terms. Today, modern family courts are more aligned with maintaining fairness before outdated misconceptions about the roles of fathers and mothers in marriage.
Despite this shift in attitudes, it is still essential for a father preparing for divorce to do everything they can to improve their legal situation as much as possible. One of the most important things all fathers must do when facing divorce is secure legal representation. An experienced and reliable family law attorney is an invaluable asset for any father facing divorce.
How Do I Find the Right Divorce Lawyer?
Finding a good attorney to represent you in a divorce can seem like an additional challenge during an already difficult situation. There are probably dozens, if not hundreds, of divorce lawyers working in your local area and narrowing down your list of options to the best handful of candidates can seem like an incredibly time-consuming ordeal. It’s best to start by asking friends, relatives, and coworkers who have recently divorced about their experiences with their divorce attorneys. Personal recommendations are always a good place to start when you need help finding the right lawyer.
You can also narrow down a list of prospective attorneys by looking at online reviews. Reading what past clients have to say about an attorney is one of the best ways to determine whether the attorney is right for you. Once you have a list of a few potential divorce attorneys in your area, take advantage of consultation offers with each of them. Most divorce lawyers offer consultations to prospective clients that allow the clients to ask questions pertaining to their cases. Ultimately, choose the attorney who makes you feel the most confident about your situation.
How Can an Attorney Help Prepare for Divorce?
A divorce is likely to be an emotionally stressful and multifaceted process. You need to prepare accordingly, but it’s easy to feel lost when it comes to determining the best ways to prepare for your divorce case. Your divorce attorney can assist you with various aspects of your divorce, helping you to approach the situation with clarity and confidence:
- Your divorce lawyer can help you with your financial disclosure statement, assisting you in gathering all the financial information you will need to provide to your family court to complete the property division process and address other aspects of your divorce.
- When it comes to child custody determination, it’s easy for fathers to feel hopeless. Traditionally, family court judges almost always ruled in favor of granting mothers majority custody rights, but this is changing across the country. Your divorce lawyer will help you develop a strong case for custody, potentially helping you gather character references and other materials that can help you prove to the court that you are a capable and attentive father.
- If your divorce is likely to raise the question of alimony or spousal support, you can rely on your lawyer to help you address all related variables to ensure a fair outcome to this aspect of divorce.
- In the event you and your wife have a prenuptial contract, your attorney can help you verify that it is still legally enforceable. Most prenuptial contracts include postnuptial terms that apply if the couple decides to divorce.
Ultimately, a good divorce lawyer is an invaluable asset for any divorcing father. If any concerns or questions arise throughout your case, you can rely on your legal team to provide the answers and support you need.
Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution
Many divorcing couples in the U.S. are avoiding divorce litigation by taking advantage of alternative dispute resolution, namely collaborative divorce and mediation. Both options can potentially offer a more streamlined alternative to typical divorce litigation, saving both divorcing spouses time and money in handling their divorce. They are also more likely to reach more personalized results with their divorce by opting for alternative dispute resolution.
Your divorce attorney can represent you in collaborative divorce negotiations or mediation sessions, helping you make more informed choices as you settle the terms of your divorce order. In the event alternative dispute resolution isn’t an option in your situation, you can rely on your legal team to represent you in litigation. They can prepare you for each court appearance and help you understand the complex proceedings ahead of you.
It’s possible for some divorces to entail both alternative dispute resolution and litigation. For example, some divorces will entail issues that cannot be resolved through private negotiations. If you are mediating divorce, you cannot resolve child custody privately. The family court system must ensure your custody determination suits your child’s best interests. You and your wife can negotiate a parenting plan privately, but you will need to present this proposal to a family court judge, and have it approved before it will carry any legal weight.
Find Legal Counsel Now
One of the biggest concerns that many divorcing fathers have regarding legal counsel in divorce is the potential cost of their legal fees. If you intend to hire an attorney to represent you in divorce, make sure you fully understand their billing policy before signing any contracts for their representation. Do not make the mistake of thinking that self-representation is a good way to save money on the overall cost of your divorce. Whatever you potentially save in legal fees is likely to be eclipsed by the outcome of a divorce you attempt to handle on your own. You’re likely to end up with a very one-sided or untenable divorce order that compels you to return to family court in the future. Ultimately, your investment in a reliable family law attorney can pay off tremendously in several ways. If you are ready to discuss your legal options for your impending divorce, contact an experienced fathers’ rights attorney as soon as possible.