Should You Hire an Attorney Immediately?

Facebook is a great resource for friendly support.  There are groups of all kinds made up of like-minded members or of members facing similar situations.  Overall, I think they are positive, especially the well moderated groups, and provide a forum to vent frustrations, seek advice and share stories.

I am a member myself of a handful of Divorce Support Groups.  Years ago, I joined looking for support and solidarity as I ventured into the unknown waters of Divorce.  I continue today with my memberships and try the best I can to chime in when I think my experience could help save someone from making one of the many mistakes I made as I worked my way through the process.

Today I was struck by how many “get an attorney ASAP” or “Lawyer up” responses from co-members there were to women asking for help as they were beginning the divorce process. My first thought was, “Wow…I remember when I thought that was the right and only thing to do when I first learned my divorce was inevitable.”  My second thought was, “How scary it is that the majority of women have bought into the belief that securing an attorney right away is necessary.”

I wish I could wave a magic want and transfer my knowledge and experience to all women facing the prospect of divorce.  I am not saying that an attorney is not a necessary component in the process. In fact, it almost always is.  However, the quote, “timing is everything”, is very appropriate here.  There is a great deal to be done prior to interviewing an attorney for your divorce case. (See blog – 7 things to do before interviewing a divorce attorney).

Attorneys bill by the minute.  Every phone call, email, inquiry you make, or they make on your behalf is “on the clock”. Trust me when I tell you it adds up very quickly and you will be billed thousands of dollars each month while you wonder what is actually being done that could possible justify such exorbitant legal fees.  I have had many divorce attorneys tell me their clients utilize them for EVERYTHING. They are the first to say that although they will do as the client requests, it doesn’t make sense to pay their hourly rate for tasks that do not strictly pertain to legal aspects of the case.

Working with a divorce coach can help you by guiding you regarding when you need an attorney and what you should and should not be depending on them for.  Typically, a divorce coach costs much less than an attorney, sometimes as much as 75% less per hour.  In many cases, a divorce coach provides you with complementary email support in between meetings and does not charge per minute.  She will be your thinking partner and guide you with actionable steps that will save you money, time and stress.  Often a busy attorney will appreciate that you have a divorce coach by your side because it allows him/her to focus on the legal aspects of your case.

In hindsight, if I had known such a thing as a divorce coach existed and I could foresee the hundreds of thousands of dollars I would spend on retaining an attorney the moment my husband asked for a divorce, it would be a no-brainer.  I would have felt more in control of my own divorce and known what was going on every step of the way, not to mention the money I would still have for my boys’ college tuition!

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