I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear. – Nelson Mandela
You’ve been agonizing about the state of your marriage for a long time. You may have talked about the problems in your relationship with a therapist or a trusted friend in order to gain perspective and support. Perhaps you feel conflicted between the vows you took and the long history you have with your spouse on one hand, and your own needs and the needs of your children on the other. Or you may have concerns about your own privacy and the privacy of your family. If you turn to professionals for help, you may worry that you will lose control over whether, when and to whom the problems in the marriage become known. Finally, you are likely worried about money. If you begin working with a divorce attorney, how much will it cost and how will you pay?
Make no mistake – taking the step of actually picking up the phone and calling a divorce attorney to make a first appointment is a big deal. It involves shifting from thoughts and feelings to action. It will likely lead to significant changes in your life and those of your children. And it may cause hurt and pain – for all involved.
Only you can decide when the timing is right to make that call. When you do, a couple of pointers:
- Do some research in choosing an attorney. Assess the information available about the attorney in deciding whether his or her style and approach may be what you are seeking. Look at number of years in practice, expertise in both court-based and settlement processes, positive reviews from former clients, peer reviews through Best Lawyers or Super Lawyers, and internet or print resources such as AVVO or Washingtonian
- Consider interviewing more than one attorney so that you can compare your gut reaction as well as their answers to your questions.
Know that the experience of most clients is one of great relief after they have that first meeting with a divorce attorney – after they have gotten an overview of the divorce process, had their initial questions answered, and jointly created at least a preliminary plan of action.