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Single Parents - Divorced Adults Group Message Board › Does a good lawyer matter?

Does a good lawyer matter?

A former member
Post #: 165
Just wondering others thoughts on this who have been through the process. Does it matter if your lawyer is good or not? If the standard is 50/50 and the child support/spousal maintenance are part of a calculation, how does a lawyer make a difference?
A former member
Post #: 2
It makes a difference when it comes down to the supporting documents. With no kids, equal education and equal job opportunities, I had to pay maintenance which was $500 more than my friend who had 3 kids. It comes down to the paperwork. If he/she knows what they are doing, you are in a better position.
Granted, my situation could be the abnormal one. But I really should have listened to my friends and family and went for a good lawyer.
A former member
Post #: 1

How far are you and your partner (soon to be ex) in your expectations of the outcome? If there's not a big difference, the lawyer may not matter much. If it's a huge difference, a lawyer can really help.

In my current situation, my soon-to-be-ex is being quite difficult. Thus, the lawyers are communicating a lot, and I'm thrilled that I got a good one. So far I haven't had to pay any support.

Hope that helps.
allie a.
user 18521111
Madison, WI
Post #: 15
The best possible situation BY FAR is mediation. Honest. My friend just got divorced for about $35,000. He did NOT get a good deal. He is paying $2,200 a month with maintenance/child support. It is MORE than the legal limit! He may have gotten the same or a better deal if he'd had a mediator. He could NOT have been ordered to pay more than legally is allowed. It would have cost less than $250.

Considering she also paid about the same for HER lawyer, that's a LOT of money that could've gone to the kids' education, shoot, a new car... what have you.

Plus, if you DON'T have a lawyer in Wisconsin, you get lots and lots of extra time and explanations with the courts. You have MORE rights, in a sense, if you can represent yourself.

My 2 cents

Amy P.
user 36759682
Middleton, WI
Post #: 4
I chose a "strong" female lawyer on purpose because I knew that my ex would be difficult with the financial settlement. I was so glad I did! Initially my ex wanted to do the divorce to save money but I knew his reasoning was to screw me over financially since he had handled the financial part of out marriage. I knew this would be a big deal for him and that he would fight me tooth and nail over every penny. And he did, 2 days before the divorce hearing he decided that the half of the savings account I took was not community property but "HIS" money that he lent the family when we bought a house. My lawyer basically told his lawyer to let her client know that my ex needed to get a clue and drop his claim-and he did. She also let me know that I could fight him in court for that money and would probably win but I just wanted to have the whole thing over with so I decided to let it go. I also know that what I would end up with from the complaint would eat up any money I was awarded with lawyer fees.

Secondly, my ex hired a cheap, disorganized, clueless lawyer who did all the paperwork wrong-meaning that there were tons of mistakes or ambiguous language that were not what was agreed to by me during negotiations. I was so glad that I had my lawyer because she was so OCD that everything was perfect. I ended up paying for what I got but it was fabulous to know that there was not an issue he could twist to his advantage. If I had not had a lawyer the whole process would have gone on for ever since my ex had no motivation what so ever to finish the divorce process.

Lastly, I am a pretty big softie and when bullied or stressed will just agree to anything to resolve the conflict. By having a lawyer to represent me I knew that she would look out for me and not let this happen. Since my ex used bullying and threats to control me when we were married it was important that this did not happen during the negotiations or final settlement.

I was glad I hired a lawyer-don't know how I would have gotten a divorce without her.

Optimistic C.
Madison, WI
Post #: 124
@ Amy & Robin... would you be willing to share with me your lawyers name please.
optimisticchris at

Madison, WI
Post #: 31
When looking for a cutthroat lawyer, you may wind up cutting your own throat. Allie is right that working through a mediator is a much better way if you can. When I got divorced, we worked through a single lawyer, to get the details done right. I will say that I did read through the state law myself (it is online and not that long or difficult to read) and ran the numbers before talking with him. The more you know, the better you will feel about the settlement. The divorce cost < $1000. You can't make back $30000+ on a legal battle from any settlement.

One side note, if you have a 401k that needs to be split, make sure you get a lawyer who specializes in this sort of thing to draw up the paperwork. It is just a technical document so the cost is not going to be high ~$200, but if it is screwed up, you wind up paying interest and penalties on the 401k that can be a whole lot of $$.
Craig S.
user 43785722
Madison, WI
Post #: 2
I got so lucky. My ex and I had essentially equal pay and both wanted things fair. I created a spreadsheet, we agreed on the values of things, divided everything 50/50, and paid the pro se divorce counselor $300 to help us with the details and forms. I think our divorce was pretty close to ideal, if there is such a thing.

However, this is not the norm. Over the last eight years I have spoken to a lot of women about their divorce. My gut feeling is that men often "win" the divorce battle because they can play the heartless role better and women end up conceding to end everyone's misery. I'm sorry if this offends any of you (male or female) but this is what I have observed. Granted, my observations are purely anecdotal.

In my opinion, I feel that having a good lawyer DOES matter for most divorces. They are rarely simple and often contentious.
Madison, WI
Post #: 48
Like everyone else is saying, it depends on the situation. But if you get a lawyer, get a good one. We had agreed to do it ourselves, but he wouldn't even read the paperwork, much less sign anything, so I finally hired one, after talking to himg, to handle the paperwork and puch it through. Well, I figured I would get one I liked if I was going to get one- good thing too. Next thing I know, he hired one too. His found out who mine was and literally said "Oh, shit".
This is a good place to be, for me. His lawyer is intimidated before saying hello? He is not going to want to fight if he doesn't have to. And I don't want to.
I may not get the daily personal service some other people describe, but I don't want her to hold my hand, I want her to get me divorced.
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