Archive for May, 2015

6 Things You Should Look For When Choosing A Divorce Attorney

Posted on: May 19th, 2015

Woman Looking Into SunsetBy: Shannon Hames

When I was going through a divorce a few years ago and looking for a divorce attorney, I had no idea what to look for when it came time to choose one. My main concern was my ability to afford the retainer. I chose my lawyer based on his low retainer and I have spent the rest of my time regretting that decision. I now advocate for people (especially women) to do their research and look for these 6 things in a lawyer before hiring one:

  1. EXPERIENCE – What kind of experience does the lawyer have? How much time has he spent before a judge in a courtroom? If not much, he may steer you to settle to avoid arguing in front of a judge. If he lacks in negotiation skills or can’t use knowledge of the law to your advantage, you may end up giving up more than you can afford to lose. Education is not the same thing as experience.
  2. WISDOM – As we progress in life and have experiences, we gain wisdom. We start to pick up on subtleties and that helps us avoid the pitfalls. A wise attorney can use their experience to help steer you away from those pitfalls. Wisdom is a difficult thing to gauge, but look for it nonetheless.
  3. COMPASSION – It’s not always about the money. There are few things worse than a heartless lawyer who lacks compassion. I know because I hired one based on his cheap retainer. After he forgot about my case until the night before, showed up unprepared and made me call friends from the courthouse to testify for me (causing me to lose all of the important things), he then asked the judge to have my ex pay him an additional sum and never returned a call to finish my case.  How do you know if a lawyer has compassion? Find out if he volunteers his time? Does he take indigent cases? Does he have a good online reputation? He may be a member of a legal or social club, but a lawyer with a good heart will be using his legal talents for business as well as for helping those who cannot help themselves.
  4. TOUGHNESS – This is important. There are some lawyers out there who are “bulldogs” and can be very tough. They have a way of intimidating other lawyers and scaring them into settling an issue that could have a different outcome with a tougher lawyer who can give it right back. Find one who knows how to stand strong for you.
  5. KNOWLEDGE OF THE LAW – This cannot be overstated enough. A lawyer who knows the law and keeps up with the changes and understands the importance of continuing education can easily outsmart a lawyer who doesn’t put in the same effort.
  6. KNOWLEDGE OF THE LOCAL COURT / JUDGE – When a lawyer spends time in the courtroom arguing his cases, he gets to know the style and temperament of other lawyers and judges. If you hire a lawyer who doesn’t know your county court or judge, you could be doing yourself a huge disservice.

3 Things Social Media Can Reveal to Damage Your Divorce Case

Posted on: May 8th, 2015
Atlanta Divorce Attorneys

Social Media can negatively impact divorce cases

As the popularity of social media continues to grow, our staff of Atlanta divorce attorneys see things that come out on social media which have an impact in their divorce cases. We usually advise our clients to use caution on social media during a divorce because everything on social media may be discoverable. To give you some ideas about what can be found and used against you, these are 3 things that social media can reveal to damage your divorce case:

  1. Questionable Parenting – Sometimes, parents use social media to teach their children a lesson. This article highlights how parents took to social media to shame their children. It created controversy about parenting and what some feel is a private matter that should be handled quietly at home. Although it may be your parenting style to talk about how you busted and punished your child on social media, certain judges might see it as abusive. Oversharing is another problem that can arise for people; not only in their own life, but also in the lives of their children. Posting embarrassing photos, personal information and generally eliminating any privacy for the child can become an issue in a divorce case.
  2. Affairs – People who post photos and videos of them with a person that they might be dating can be damaging. A court may respond negatively to a person who “flaunts” their new relationship on social media. In addition, documenting a relationship through social media can be used in court to deny spousal support or to demonstrate character (or lack thereof). Your best bet: keep your romantic life off of social media.
  3. Lifestyle – Some lawyers have used the pages a person likes, such as a drug legalization group, to support arguments against someone’s character before a judge. They can also use photos, videos, comments on other people’s pages/blogs and other digital footprints to build or bolster a case against you. Checking in at the Cheetah Lounge at 3am when you are supposed to be at home with the kids may speak volumes to a judge when it comes time to prove that you should not get custody of your children.

Deactivating your social media may be the safest route when it comes to protecting yourself in your divorce case. If you must use social media, do not assume your ex can’t see it due to your privacy settings. Do assume that your spouse and the judge can and will see everything you post. If you keep this in mind, it will help you make good choices about what you should and should not post during your divorce.