Eight key questions to ask your mate -- and yourself
Written by Stacy D. Phillips and posted at Yahoo Personals.
Eight key questions to ask your mate -- and yourself
Approximately half of all people who get married will end up getting divorced. A divorce can be a stressful and traumatic experience for men, women, children and for members of the extended family who are also impacted by the break up of a marriage.
Having the right attorney can alleviate some of the emotional sting and reduce some of the stress which are integral parts of the divorce process. Conversely, having the wrong kind of legal representation, can make an already painful experience significantly worse for you and for your loved ones.
Since I have counseled many people who are considering a divorce or who are going through a divorce, and because I have interacted with many attorneys who handle martial matters, I thought a few suggestions on finding the right divorce lawyer could be helpful to my readers:
1. Select an attorney who specializes in family law.
If you choose this kind of lawyer, it is likely that his or her office is set up to deal with the forms and paper work which are part of the divorce process. A law office which is automated to deal with divorces will streamline the experience and save you time, money and stress.
2. Decide if you are more comfortable with a male or female attorney.
This is a personal choice, but I believe it is an important one for a person who is about to end his or her marriage.
3. Interview three or four lawyers and decide who seems most competent and determine who you feel most comfortable with.
Bring a list of questions to your initial consultation and get a sense of the lawyer's knowledge and his or her communication style. Check out their websites before you meet with them. This should give you a sense as to what their practice is like. You may also want to visit www.martindale.com to get some more background information on lawyers and law firms.
4. Choose an attorney who has practiced in the county where your case will be heard.
You want a lawyer who knows the judges and the opposing attorney. If your attorney has a good relationship with the other players, you can benefit from their ability to work together.
5. Determine if you are more comfortable with a law firm or with an individual practitioner.
There are pros can cons to both.
6. Find an attorney who tries to settle things, but who is not reluctant to fight for you if things get nasty.
7. Talk to people who have been divorced.
See who they recommend. It is unlikely that you will find someone who thoroughly enjoyed the experience. However, you probably will find someone who feels that their case was handled in an effective and a pleasant manner. This is the kind of representation you want when you are dissolving your marriage.
8. Negotiate with your lawyer and see if he or she will handle the entire process for a flat fee.
Some lawyers will work in this manner.
9. Don't spend money on battles that you cannot win, just to get back at your spouse.
10. If you feel you have made a mistake and hired the wrong lawyer, don't be afraid to switch attorneys.
This can be cumbersome, but sometimes it is in your best interest to change counsel, if you are not getting along well and if the process is going poorly.
Financial problems often drive couples apart, but the nation's overwhelming economic crisis may be holding them together.
"People simply can't afford to get divorced. They can't afford the legal fees; they can't afford having two separate places to live," said Michele Weiner-Davis, a Colorado social worker and founder of divorcebusting.com, an online community for couples considering ending their marriages.
"There are a lot of couples who decide they have to stay together and have become motivated to do so," she said, adding that her own practice is still busy.
Spouses who are divorcing are finding that the often-nasty experience is now even more contentious.
"[Spouses] want to receive a certain amount of support and the other will say they simply don't have enough money," said Michelle Thomas, a divorce lawyer who works in the District. "Divorce has become more contentious because there is less to divide. Then they are separating and the pot has shrunk. It is hard for the other spouse to comprehend that."
Home values in the Washington area have declined 19.4 percent from a year ago, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen nearly 35 percent in the same period, taking a huge chunk out of couples' home equity and 401(k)s. Job losses make the situation even more difficult.
Divorce rates often fall in a bad economy. Statistics show divorces declining in the District and at least two states - Kansas and Connecticut - over the past three years. Up-to-date figures were not available for Virginia and Maryland.
"Most people don't want to wait on the mortgage," said Carolyn Goodman, a divorce lawyer who works in the District, which has the lowest divorce rate in the nation. "It is very hard to refinance right now and many people are being forced to just stay on. That's where I have seen the change. People may think twice about getting divorced and just separate."
However, some may benefit from divorce in difficult economic conditions.
a divorce lawyer in the wealthy Connecticut suburbs of New York, says
this can be an opportune time to divorce for the family breadwinner.
Read the entire article in the Washington Times.
Divorce is one of several factors now found to add years to a woman's face.
Lots of things make us old. Previous research has shown smoking causes premature aging in men and women, literally etching the aging in their faces. Other research has found that poor skin tone can add a decade to a woman's perceived age.
In the new work, researchers photographed the faces of 186 pairs of identical twins, mostly women, and asked them each a series of questions about their life habits and medical backgrounds. Four other people then reviewed all the photos and guessed the ages of each person.
Women who were divorced were judged to look nearly two years older than their siblings who were married, single or widowed, according to an article at the The Los Angeles Times web site. The research was led by Bahman Guyuron, chairman of the department of plastic surgery at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, part of Case Western Reserve University. It was reported in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
Only the results for women were released. Other factors that made one twin look older than a sibling:
Antidepressants may cause facial sagging, Guyuron speculated.
Interestingly, being heavier made those under age 40 look older, but it made those over 40 look younger, Guyuron and colleagues report. Previous research has suggested that a little weight — particularly in the cheeks — looks good on people as they age. Predictably for a plastic surgeon, Guyuron said his findings support "fillers" used in plastic surgery.
For those who prefer to keep the looks they're given, perhaps some comfort can be found in the old adage "you're only as old as you feel." A study in December found that older people tend to feel about 13 years younger than their chronological age.
Read more in LiveScience.com