The knowledge and experience of your lawyer can make all the difference between a fair, equitable and reasonable divorce and you being shafted financially, thrust into bleak penury and condemned to a life of difficulty for years.
Lawyers come in different flavours
Lawyers, like surgeons come in many different flavours. If you have a heart problem you need a heart surgeon, not a brain surgeon however good he or she is at their job. The same is true of lawyers, you must use a family lawyer in a practice that either specialises in family law or at least does a lot of family law. Almost every aspect of our lives is now regulated by the law and each requires its own expertise, family law is no exception.
The two important outcomes of divorce
There are really only two outcomes from divorce - the arrangements for the children and the agreement about splitting the family assets, including pensions and any future payments from one ex spouse to another. Good lawyers can handle the difficult task of agreeing the arrangements for the children but if the financial aspect of the divorce is complicated then you should really consult with an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) with specific divorce finance expertise to advise you.
Important choices when deciding on your lawyer
An often overlooked aspect of choosing a lawyer to represent you is the nature and style of the lawyer representing the person you once loved (or maybe still do). If you engage a conciliatory and reasonable lawyer to look after your best interests and your husband/wife engages a graduate of the Genghis Khan School of Law then you have a big problem.
If you are up against one of them then they will try to emulate their namesake and conquer everything in sight. Genghis set a fine example by building a Mongol empire in the 13th century stretching from the river Danube to the Sea of Japan. Some divorce lawyers have similar aspirations and follow his military tactics to lay waste the opposition in the name of compassionate divorce.
It might be advisable to fight fire with fire and get yourself an experienced warrior who sees the divorce process as a pitched battle in which no prisoners are taken and the only objective is to maximise the spoils of war (divorce). If you don't you will probably suffer and be disadvantaged by the outcome of the divorce settlement. This will be reflected in the outcomes for your children and the financial agreement you reach. It is very hard for the kind and reasonable to stand up to vicious and unreasonable but it has to be done.
If you decide to go to war do it properly
If you want to run your divorce this way, seek out a graduate with a First Class degree from the Genghis Khan School of Law with lots of battle experience. Give him or her (for the school has many women graduates) carte blanche and the OK to use the nuclear option (OK so Genghis did not have nuclear weapons but if he had he would have just loved using them). You may get some satisfaction in treating your spouse as badly as you can but it will add greatly to the stress of the divorce process and possibly alienate your children for years to come.
Decide carefully which way to go
When deciding upon your divorce strategy it's best to consider what's going to happen after divorce. Your life after divorce is perhaps the most important outcome of the divorce itself. Think about what sort of lawyer you need to negotiate a fair settlement and to come out with the best chance of a good life in the future.