How to choose a divorce lawyer

If a divorce is in your future, one of the most important decisions you and your spouse will make is your choice of an attorney to represent you. That choice will normally decide the outcome of your case. It can make the difference between a divorce that is drawn out, costly and combative, or one in which you and your spouse reach an amicable settlement out-of-court.

For this reason, it is important for you and your spouse to choose lawyers who can work together. Lawyers who work together are more likely to reach a good outcome for both parties. For this reason, your choice of an attorney something you and your spouse should both discuss.

Divorce is always a painful experience, but it does not have to drain financial resources that you and your ex will both need to maintain separate households. Nor does divorce need to create lasting bitterness between you and your ex. Maintaining good communications with your ex is important, especially if you have children.

There are different types of family law attorneys. Some choose an approach that is collaborative and cooperative. Other are combative and often litigate in court. Choosing an attorney who has a reputation for being a pit bull may make you feel protected, especially if you are angry with your spouse. Just remember than you and your spouse will pay the bill for litigation when it comes due. The cost is both financial and emotional.

Your goal and the goal of your attorneys should be an out-of-court settlement. Two people can usually reach a better decision than one judge. Your lawyer should be there to explain the law, protect your interests and help you reach a settlement-rather than fan the flames of anger.

Attorney websites are a good source of information. Search for terms such as collaborative divorce, cooperative divorce. Talk to your attorney about other attorneys that he or she has worked with in the past.

If your spouse is not with you during your consultation, explain to your lawyer what your spouse is like-and be fair about it. Does your partner want the divorce? Will he or she want to reach an out-of-court settlement? What type of attorney would your spouse be likely to choose on his or her own? Finally, talk with your spouse about your choices of attorney.

It may seem unusual for you and your spouse to select attorneys who have a good working relationship. However, the adversarial approach rarely leads to a good outcome in divorce.

Sheldon E. Finman is a family law attorney in Fort Myers who seeks less adversarial ways to dissolve a marriage.


Though getting married is often a joyous time for many Florida residents, there are serious matters that may need to be addressed before vows are exchanged. Though some individuals may be apprehensive about broaching the topic of prenuptial agreements, having such an agreement in place could save time and trouble in the future. There are also several reasons that a prenup could be prudent in certain situations.

If an individual owns a business, he or she may do well to create a prenup. Because a business is a considerable asset, the owner will likely want to protect it from potential harm, including the possibility of it being split with an ex-spouse. Without a prenuptial agreement, an ex could potentially claim part of the business and, as a result, part of the value of that business. 

Additionally, another instance in which a prenup could be useful is if one or both parties have children from previous relationships. Parents often want to hand heirlooms down to their children, and by addressing these wishes in a prenup, parents can feel assured that their children will not lose inheritances during a divorce. The agreement will allow both parties to understand how assets will be divided and lower the risk of legal fights. 

Though discussing prenuptial agreements may seem scary or as if one or both parties expect a marriage to fail, these documents may actually help individuals enter a marriage feeling more at ease. They will know that their important assets, as well as their children’s inheritances, are protected in the event that a divorce does occur, though they may not expect to get divorced. If Florida residents are interested in creating agreements of their own, they may wish to find out more information on the process. 

Source:, “Marriage: 5 Signs You Need a Prenuptial Agreement“, Megan Elliott, March 24, 2016

High asset divorce decisions may concern Florida residents

There are many concerns that Florida residents may confront as they go through divorce. If individuals are going through a high asset divorce, they may be particularly worried about the decisions they make as the process proceeds. It is not an unlikely action to second-guess choices made during divorce, and parties may wish to prepare for the emotional challenges that could arise.

Insecurity can plague anyone, especially during periods in which drastic life changes are being made. Divorce is obviously a major upset, and that overall change can have a domino effect on other areas of life. Therefore, individuals may do well to remember that decisions made during divorce may have different implications later on. Changes in circumstances could even lead to the need to revisit some of those decisions.

Additionally, others may want to seek help about the decisions they are making during divorce, but listening to certain people may cause more harm than good. Though individuals may believe that listening to their friends and family will help them feel as if they are moving in the right direction, the biases those loved ones may have could hinder the process. Therefore, if individuals want assistance, they may wish to consider professional legal counsel. 

Seeking advice from professionals, especially for high asset divorce, could help individuals ensure that they are receiving sound insight. Gaining information on financial impacts, property division and other areas of concern could help Florida residents determine how they may wish to proceed during their divorce. This knowledge may also help them understand what to expect out of the court processes.

Source: The Huffington Post, “5 Things Not To Expect Going Through Divorce“, Kristin Davin, March 9, 2016

Financial impact may be concern during Florida high asset divorce

Even individuals who have never gone through the process may know that divorce can be a trying time for anyone. As a result, many Florida residents who are facing separation may be concerned about the process, especially if considerable net worth is involved. High asset divorce could lead to substantial financial concerns for the divorcing parties, and therefore, they may wish to keep certain factors in mind. 

Initially, some individuals may overlook the tax implications of maintaining ownership of certain assets, funds or received payments. For example, an individual may be better off financially being the owner of a brokerage account rather than a tax-deferred retirement account due to the retirement funds being subjected to income tax for withdrawals. Additionally, taxes could be levied against individuals who receive alimony payments while the payor may use the payments as a tax deduction.

A similar predicament could come about when it comes to ownership of other assets. Because some property may be considered illiquid, or more difficult to sell, a piece of property that has a high valuation may not be quite as useful if an individual is unable to gain money from the asset when in need. As a result, individuals may wish to consider usefulness, liquidation ability, sentimental value and monetary value when negotiating property division issues. 

If finances are a particular concern for Florida residents facing a high asset divorce, they may wish to gather as much information regarding their finances as possible. Compiling this information could help them be more prepared when it comes to determining which assets and funds they may consider most important to them. In addition to personal organization, consulting with an experienced divorce lawyer could potentially assist individuals in working toward their desired outcomes.

Source: Time, “Keep a Divorce From Killing Your Finances“, Jill Schlesinger, March 1, 2016

High asset divorce may stem from feelings of contempt in Florida

Relationships often go through high points and low points. Unfortunately for some Florida residents, their low points could dip considerably and become in danger of staying there. As a result, individuals may begin to harbor negative feelings toward their spouses as a result of unresolved issues or other factors. In worst case scenarios, the feeling of contempt could signal the need for divorce. For individuals with a considerable net worth, they may be particularly concerned with high asset divorce issues.

Recent reports stated that it was believed that contempt could be the number one predictor that a marriage is heading for divorce. Though it is common for couples to face problems that may resurface at times and cause negative feelings, disgust toward a spouse could potentially lead to emotional disengagement. When one or both parties disengage and no longer feel the need to work on their issues, a relationship may not be able to recover. 

The difficulty in recovering may come due to the lack of communication. If individuals do not share their emotions and concerns, it is likely that they will continue to grow more distant. Even if one individual does put forth some effort, it is likely that the relationship will not thrive unless both parties are willing. 

Though it may be difficult to end a long-term relationship, divorce could help individuals find happiness in the future. Of course, high asset divorce may cause complications for some Florida residents, and those individuals may be concerned about how their proceedings may play out. If they would like to address these concerns, they may wish to consult with an experienced attorney who may be able to provide information on their specific needs.

Source:, “You Can Predict Divorce: Research Says This is the Number One Predictor“, Feb. 24, 2016