Schwam-Wilcox & Associates, Attorneys and Counselors at Law
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What should your Divorce attorney "DO" and "NOT DO".

Going through a divorce often leaves people angry, in grief and filled with mixed emotions. It is a time of intense stress. Clients look to their attorney for answers, to fix the problems or punish the other party for hurtful conduct. Studies have shown that people going through high stress will have "brain chatter" which affects their ability to think clearly and rationally.


1. An attorney cannot give clients a guarantee of the outcome.
Although a client is upfront and honest with their attorney, or at least they should be, the situation that they are going through is based on their perception, which may not be the same perception of their spouse or even their attorney. It is important to understand that an attorney can only advise you as to what has happened in the past, with similar facts as presented to them to give the client an idea of what may happen in their particular case. If an attorney offers a guarantee of an outcome of your case, you should RUN as fast as you can, and find another attorney. Attorneys are not doing their job if they only tell the client, what the client wants to hear and not what the facts and the law establish.

2. The divorce process is not intended to be used to punish the wrong-doing spouse. Florida is a no-fault state, and that means that anyone can get divorced for any reason and there is no punitive decision based on the reason for the divorce. This is difficult for most people to grasp after they have been a stay at home parent with four (4) children for 15 years and now their spouse is having an affair...this does not matter in Florida, the Court will determine what is in the best interest of the children when ordering a time sharing plan for the parents and the children. Equitable distribution will not be based on who was the moral spouse, but on equity...fairness.

3. The attorney does not set the scheduling.There are certain rules of procedure (that differs in each jurisdiction) that needs to be followed, and the attorney cannot just unilaterally choose when a case is set for a hearing or a trial. This issue becomes extremely frustrating when a parent believes there is an emergency regarding time sharing that need to be heard by a judge immediately, more likely than not, this will not be considered an emergency by a judge, and the attorney should know that ahead of time. All parties must be noticed and able to participate in the scheduling of hearings, mediations, and trials.


4. The attorney does not serve the divorce petition.
Although the attorney is the one that writes the petition and other commencement documents/pleadings, they are not the one who serve them, it is the sheriff's office or a process server, and neither of them work for the attorney, they are hired by the attorney to do a service, like the cable man who repairs your television...no one has control over when they will come to your home. The attorney is as frustrated as the client when service cannot be perfected timely.

5. Family Law Attorneys and other areas of law and expertise.There are a lot of different areas of law that affect a divorce: tax, real estate, bankruptcy, dependency, etc. Although most attorney's practice in more than one area, no attorney can know all of the area' s of law and if they claim to do so, please understand that it is not possible. It is necessary from time to time to hire other professionals to ensure that you have the best Final Judgment possible, this may include attorneys from other practice areas, therapists, CPA's, etc. A good team makes a great final judgment for you and your family.


As an attorney, we understand the needs of our clients, and we do our best to ensure that their expectations are reasonable and attainable. We strive to do our very best to release the stress you are feeling, and be part of the solution for you and your children. We are your attorney's and your counselors, but we are not trained therapists, and it is our experience that a therapist can be a key player in a contested dissolution matter to assist in the reduction of stress, empowerment, self-worth and stability. For more information on this topic , or any other Family Law matter go to www.cbswlaw.com

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