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Divorce Truths - Your Spouse’s Attorney
There are many important players in your divorce. One who can greatly expedite or delay the process is your spouse's attorney. They can be the best thing that could ever happen to your case or the worst. Sooner or later, you will hear from your spouse that they no longer chose to discuss the divorce with you, and "their attorney will contact your attorney." The cost of your divorce has just gone up.
As you have learned from interviewing prospective attorneys, there are many different styles of "lawyering". The attorney your spouse hires will have their own manner of handling matters. Some attorneys respond quickly. Others take their time or never respond. Some attorneys try to control their client's irrational behavior while others wait and deal with the results. All this affects your case and there is little your attorney can do about it. At some point, everything will be filtered, interpreted and presented through the attorneys. Your spouse and their attorney can stalemate the proceedings. You should also realize that your spouse may or may not follow their own attorney's advice. Although clients pay for legal advice, they don't always take it.
There are attorneys who tell their clients exactly what the client wants to hear. There are attorneys that will admit their client's demands are unrealistic, but that they cannot relent until the judge forces them to. There are some clients who believe their attorney isn't "fighting for them" if the attorney negotiates any issue. Attorneys who support unreasonable demands add to the length and frustration of the divorce. I have encountered excellent opposing attorneys who were fired by their client when they tried to negotiate a resolution.
Out of Control Spouses
There are clients who demand excessive hearings instead of trying to work out minor differences. There are clients who do not follow temporary orders, do not pay child support when due, do not adhere to a visitation schedule, refuse to pay bills in a timely manner, or do anything else to accommodate their spouse or the process. When this occurs, the attorney can no longer control their client. When the only way your attorney can control the behavior of your spouse is through hearings, your case has slowed to a crawl. Plus there is the additional disadvantage that the Judge will tire of hearing from you before the main issues of the divorce are ever presented. Again, this will be a judgment call and your attorney will balance the benefit.
Discovery - A Very Brief Introduction
Both spouses are entitled to request information and documents from the other. There are attorneys who demand documents that go back to the beginning of your marriage or past any logical period of time. They file exhaustive requests which cause you to spend many hours searching and copying. Some are necessary, others aren't. Most attorneys will not even entertain settlement offers until they believe they have all documents necessary to protect their client and themselves.
As in everything else, there is a fine line between necessity and abuse. In clear abuse instances, your attorney may object. Most times, if the request is not too unreasonable, it's better to spend the time and supply the documents in your possession as early on as possible so as not to hold up any possible negotiations. The purpose is always to try and get to a successful expedited end. You really do have other things to spend your time and money on.
In any Georgia divorce, the documents must be filed in the Superior Court.
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"A Plain English Guide to Protecting Your Children"
Author: Mary L. Boland, Attorney at Law
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