I get this question a lot. I would say about once a week I get a call or an email, where the caller says something like this: “Hi, I have a quick question, my husband and I were married for 6 years, and he only has to pay me $507 a month in child support is that fair?” What is the most troubling is that it’s so apparent what the person on the other end of the phone wants to hear, that yes, you got screwed, and I can help you. Unfortunately, it’s a lot more complicated than giving a yes or now answer.
So, in response to the latest call I thought I would put the top 3 reason why a lawyer can’t tell you if you “got a good deal” on the phone or in a 3 sentence email.
- We Don’t Have All The Facts. This is the most obvious, your divorce probably took months to resolve, either in mediation or even trial. You can’t really tell the lawyer everything in 5 minutes that took months to work up. This means, we get the Readers Digest version and you probably aren’t telling the lawyer all the pieces that he or she needs to know to analyze your case.
- We Don’t Have The Legal Documents In Front Of Us. I don’t know how many times I’ve had a client tell me one thing then when I actually read the legal document, it says something else. If you want a divorce lawyer to review your case, you need to get him or her the documents to review.
- You Haven’t Paid The Lawyer. This may sound a little crass, but let’s be honest, private divorce lawyers pay their mortgage, feed their family and pay their overhead by charging people for for expertise. You wouldn’t expect the local dentist to work on your mouth for free so you can’t really expect a lawyer to spend more than a few minutes talking to you before you need to come to an arrangement on the fees.
There you go, the top 3 reasons why it’s not going to get you very far by calling a divorce lawyer and asking for a quick review of your settlement to see if you got a good deal. A much better way to handle this is to call for an appointment, get all your document ready and then be prepared to pay the lawyer for a few hours of his or her time. This is the best way to get a second opinion, but you need to be aware that depending on your case, there might not be much that the lawyer can do to help you if certain deadlines have passed.
Thank you for reading today’s post, any questions or comments please feel free to post them below.
Rosengren Kohlmeyer, Law Office Chtd.
Remember, this isn’t legal advice, for that you need to sign a retainer with a lawyer for that.