Answers from Our Thousand Oaks Divorce Lawyer
At Hoffer Family Law Firm, we strive to provide informative and helpful legal guidance for our clients. This includes making sure they understand their rights and what to expect during the course of their case. Below are some answers to common questions about our legal services and family law cases. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact our Thousand Oaks divorce attorney for more information.
Why is a paid consultation better?
"Free consultations" are nothing more than 1 hour high pressure sales pitches. You are going through a divorce. It is a very stressful time. Do you want to experience even more pressure, a sales pitch from someone who wants you to sign on the dotted line right now and pay him/her a massive retainer? More pressure is something you most certainly do not need right now. Do the right thing by making an appointment for a real consultation which will provide you real value.
While our consultations are not free, we help ensure that you receive excellent value. We provide valuable information, , peace of mind, and a sense of empowerment. During a consultation, we review the facts of your case ask you questions, and go over your paperwork in order to gain a better understanding of what is happening. Our attorney will then provide an honest assessment about your case and possible outcomes. Every case is different, and we take pride in providing customized solutions for each client. Throughout the process, we keep you informed about your rights, obligations, and your options.
If you do end up hiring our attorney, your consultation fee is waived.
What should I expect as your client?
As our client, you have the following rights:
- To be kept informed on significant developments in your case
- To have all telephone calls returned promptly
- To have copies of all pleadings and communications generated by our office
- To have copies of all paperwork sent to us by your former spouse's attorney
- To be able to reach us by email
- To have your billing to be fair and understandable
- To have your services rendered promptly and professionally
- To have a full and complete opportunity to review our retainer agreement
- To have a clear and comprehensible idea of your legal rights and direction in which your case would proceed
- To have all of your questions responded to promptly
Should I go to mediation?
In many cases, mediation is an excellent option provided that both you and your spouse are sane and rational people and you have a desire to make some tough choices to save yourselves a tremendous amount of money in the long run.
Mediation is a great option if there are complicated issues which you both are willing to resolve outside of Court. If one of you wants to litigate, mediation is a waste of time. If one of you feels that you will prevail in Court, then mediation is a waste of time. Most mediators are excellent at facilitating a settlement.
There is only one problem though, how do you know you are getting a good deal? When you buy a new car, do you really know whether you are getting a good deal? The dealership might make it look that way, but in reality, they are not making this deal with a smile on their faces if it is bad for them. The mediator does not represent either of you. He/She cannot advise you as to whether or not the deal is in your best interests. Only your divorce attorney can do that. Go to mediation, but always bring your attorney.
What should I consider when hiring a divorce lawyer?
You do not want to hire the wrong lawyer, as it is difficult, time-consuming and expensive to change lawyers. Here are 6 important points to consider before you hire a divorce lawyer.
Service. Do you feel that the lawyer wants to provide you with the help you need? Or do you get the impression that he is looking for bigger fish to fry and that you are just a small fish in the ocean?
Availability. Is the lawyer easily accessible by telephone, fax and e-mail? Does he get back to you promptly?
Attention. Does the lawyer have so many clients that he cannot provide you with the personal care and attention you deserve? Or does he limit his services to a few select clients who receive the best he has to offer?
Expertise. Does the lawyer only practice family law? Or does he spread himself thin by trying to be a "jack of all trades" so that he can provide whatever legal services people need?
Compassion and Understanding. Does the lawyer actually care about his clients? Or are his clients simply "files" that he works on?
Comfort. Do you feel comfortable with the lawyer? Or is his ego so big that it barely fits into the room?
How do I increase my chance of gaining custody?
Keep extensive documentation. You should, on a daily basis, record the events of the day relating to your children and your dedication to being a good parent. The more comprehensive your notes, the better.
Understand the law relating to custody. The better you understand the factors that a court considers in deciding who gets custody, the better equipped you are to use that knowledge to your advantage.
Retain a good divorce lawyer. For this complicated and emotional area of law, the advice of a good divorce lawyer will maximize your chances of obtaining custody.
Be prepared to spend a lot of money. Legal battles over custody are very expensive. There are costs for interim motions, custody evaluations and investigative work. As well, many of these cases proceed to trial, which is also very expensive.
Have a child custody evaluation done by a reputable professional. Getting a favorable recommendation will strengthen your case considerably, as most of the time the court will follow the recommendations in the assessment report.
Theory of the case. Unless your spouse has been grossly neglectful or abusive towards your children, it is best not to concentrate on your spouse's shortcomings, as you will appear spiteful rather than as a parent concerned about your children's best interests. Rather, your theory should be that your spouse is alright as a parent, but the best interest of your children is best served when they are with you. . Stress your positives rather than your spouse's negatives and be gracious to your spouse at all times.
Behave well. In the stress of a divorce, coupled with a custody battle, it is easy to lose your temper or to criticize your spouse in front of the children. However, any bad behavior on your part is sure to be brought up in court by your spouse.
Stay involved in your children's lives. It is very easy to get so caught up in the legal proceedings, your emotions and your disagreements with your spouse, that you have little energy left for your children. You must ensure that you continue to take an active part in your children's life.