I often say that, logistically-speaking, divorce is not especially difficult, but it’s different. If we remove the emotional aspect and the conflict, preparing the paperwork and going through the process is not particularly complex. But when you have a family, a career, and a life, it can be impossible to take the time to learn the ins and outs of divorce law and process. Unfortunately, too, there are too few resources available in California for individuals to work through the process on their own.
There are a great many good books on the subject, and Nolo Press (www.nolo.com) has a wonderful book, How to do your own divorce in California. This is a great primer on the basics of California divorce. Usually, however, every divorce, even the most amicable ones, have one or two unusual or sticky issues that do not fit into the basic divorce issues covered in this book. What is an individual to do when he or she just wants specific advice on a specific issue?
Every county has some kind of free legal resources, generally through the courthouse. Most often, though, these resources are not intended to help with legal advice or strategy, but rather are there to help you fill out forms. It can be frustrating to wait in line to get some advice, only to be told that advice is not offered. Another option is to do a consultation with an attorney, but many attorneys will not give specific advice until hired. You may not need full representation for the advice you need, and – indeed – you may not have several thousand dollars to pay for the answer to (what you think is) a simple question!
The answer is family law coaching, which is a concept I created when I saw this gap in services for divorcing parties. I work with my clients in advance of even our first meeting, gathering both basic information as well as documents, history and questions that you are looking to answer. Instead of spending our consultation time gathering information from you, I am spending this time answering your specific questions and giving you the legal advice you want and need. I met with a client over the weekend who had already seen three different divorce attorneys. Each of them wanted $2,600 or more to help him with his case. What he wanted was advice and answers, which none of the prior attorneys had offered him. When we met, I had already reviewed his prior custody order, his intake form, and his questions for our meeting. We spent our time together going over the process and h0w to approach his pending motion preparation, mediation, and court hearing. I even helped him to fill out his forms during our meeting, so he left knowing the legal strategy with which to proceed, what forms to file and how, and how to be as successful as possible in his motion…all for the price of one consultation. If you find yourself in a situation where you are looking for advice on a specific issue and can’t seem to find what you need, give me a call and we can talk to determine if I am the right person to help you.