Family law cases are usually emotionally charged. For that reason the firm encourages its clients to seek counseling before or during the legal process. Depending on the client’s needs, counseling is recommended for different purposes. One client may benefit from marriage counseling to improve or reconcile a relationship. Another may instead need “divorce counseling” to discover what went wrong, how to cope, and how to pick up the pieces and go on.
A client will often put off going to a counselor because his or her spouse will not. Don’t wait for your spouse to participate. Individual counseling can be extremely helpful and satisfying. Often parents and children attend counseling together to lessen the effects a divorce or custody dispute has on the children, and to help the family put their emotions back together.
How do you find the right counselor? If you do not know where to begin, the firm will recommend qualified counselors. Your employment, social or religious contacts might also provide leads.
When choosing a counselor, be picky. Counselors have different styles and approaches. Search until you feel comfortable. A counselor may provide a first session at no cost or at a reduced rate to see “if it’s a match.” Ask about cost in your first meeting. Check your health insurance policy to see if your plan covers any part of the cost.
Reassurance from friends and family members or legal advice from your lawyer may help at this time, but a counselor is trained to address your emotional ups and downs. Make an appointment with a counselor. It will help you and make your attorney’s job easier.
Most of the firm’s clients come to this office to seek a divorce. Not all have made up their minds to take that big step, and seek first to know their rights and options. The firm encourages clients or potential clients to explore alternatives to divorce, and often suggests other approaches which will protect the client and meet his or her needs, short of divorce.
When your attorney raises the topic of reconciliation with you, he or she is not questioning or judging your decision, but is confirming that you are aware that the results you seek may be attained by other means and that what you really desire is a divorce.
Domestic Relations Fee Agreement
The firm requires a signed fee agreement and an initial deposit to provide legal services to you. We explain those during the initial interview. We cannot begin work until you sign the fee agreement and pay your initial deposit.
You will receive monthly statements which detail the legal services, the charges for those services, and what amount has been drawn from your initial trust deposit. If you have questions about your statement, please call our bookkeeper or either of us.
You are responsible for your attorneys fees even though you may be seeking reimbursement from your spouse by court order. Any court order ordering your spouse to reimburse you is incidental to your responsibility to the firm.
Please arrange for child care when you have an appointment to see your attorney. The firm’s policy is not to involve children in the case since the children are often under severe stress. Even very young children should not attend conferences with you. It is very difficult for you to give your full attention to the issues your lawyer needs to discuss with you when your children are present. The firm does not have baby-sitting facilities for those who cannot be left unattended, so if you must bring your children with you, please bring someone who can attend to them.
The firm’s business hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. We will arrange after-hours or weekend appointments. Mr. Silverman’s home phone number is listed if you need him in an emergency.
Your attorney will receive your telephone call during business hours. If your attorney is in conference or court, our staff will help you. If the circumstances warrant, another attorney will assist you immediately.
Will and Estate Planning
As you begin the process of divorce, the first order of business is to have your attorney review your Will. If you do not have a Will, we recommend you obtain one immediately. Intestate succession laws may conflict with your present desires concerning your estate. If you desire, the firm will prepare a Will for you and will also provide more complete estate planning services, including probate and trusts.
We look forward to working with you. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, do not hesitate to bring them to our attention.