Divorces, child custody and everything else that involves the family are difficult fields to master. Family law attorneys are not just lawyers; they are counselors, accountants, therapists and everything else their client needs. Attorneys and practice styles don't break down into neat monochromatic categories. Each law firm is different, and each attorney is unique. With such high stakes, how can you be sure which kind of attorney you need?
Michigan is an equitable distribution state. Equitable distribution empowers the court to determine a fair way to break up the marital property. There are no specific hard-and-fast rules that protect you or your property from the court's discretion. Such high stakes demand a certain kind of attorney. Ideally, you would settle the divorce with your ex-spouse without the interference of the court. Courts, deadlines and filing fees all equal more stress and time. You should look for an attorney that is both willing to argue your rights before the judge but also compromise and counsel you during negotiations. Your attorney needs to be more than a legal adviser.
Experience and education all matter. However, what is critical is demeanor. A good family law attorney needs to be able to represent you with energy and finesse. So this begs the question, how do you identify such an attorney? Pay attention to the questions your attorney asks. Are they concerned only with how much stuff you have? Do they take the time to address the emotional barriers you will be facing? This is a trying time for you and you need an attorney that will look out for your best interests, even if you don't want them to.
The best divorces are the ones that are negotiated and settled in a fair and timely manner. Your attorney should acknowledge and work toward this goal without sacrificing your legal rights. A good attorney will fight for your rights, even if that means opposing you. Often, the attorney with the most bluster will get the least amount of work done for you. Find an attorney that is looking out for you and your rights.