How do you know when you are getting a good deal in your divorce? The question is a lot more complicated than you might think. However, I can tell you two measuring sticks you should not trust: your almost ex-spouse, and your instincts.
It is surprising how many people feel utterly betrayed by their divorcing spouse, and yet want to believe him/her completely when it comes to what is the best or most likely custody or support agreement for the children, or what is a fair division of property in their divorce. If you want to listen to your spouse’s opinion about what you are entitled to, by all means, listen. And then hang up, walk away, or turn off your computer or telephone, and walk into an attorney’s office. Because you need the opinion of someone who knows what the laws are, knows what the practices of the local courts are, and whose primary interest is going to be you, and what you and your children need to see coming out of this divorce. And your spouse has none of those traits.
You need the opinion of someone who knows what the laws are, and whose primary interest is going to be you.
And quite bluntly, you don’t either. You are more likely to consider your needs than your spouse is, but you are probably too shell-shocked to look at the picture objectively, or to see too far down a road you have most likely never traveled. Sometimes I sit down with a potential client, and I can tell them that they are much better off than they expect, and that their rights to their children will be much broader than they understood. But sometimes I also have to explain to people facing divorce that they are expecting way too much. Both conversations are equally important, and if you never sit down with a divorce lawyer, you will never know which one you needed to hear.