2000 Mallory Lane Suite 130-386
Franklin, Tennessee 37067

1 (615) 472-8845

Divorce FAQ's

(A)    Do I need an attorney to get a divorce?  Can’t I just do it myself?

I understand that financial concerns often limit a person’s ability and/or desire to retain an attorney.  However, I strongly advise you to retain an attorney if you are financially able.  Think of all the things that are potentially at stake in a contested or uncontested divorce – your right to keep and access your home, your right to have custody of your children, your right to keep existing financial assets, your right to retain future earnings, etc.  Now think of some of the far more frivolous things that you have spent money on….

I often make the comparison of someone needing legal services to a person who needs medical services.  An attempt to treat a serious injury with a “home remedy” can actually create further complications.  The same is true for legal services.  Family law issues involve complex interactions of law and fact – and the law changes frequently.  You would be far better served (and less likely to encounter future problems) if your legal issues were initially handled by a competent professional.

Make your future financial and emotional security a priority.  To paraphrase a long-running local ad … if you don’t hire me, please hire someone else.

(B)    What should I consider when hiring an attorney?

  1. Does this attorney focus on the type of matter for which you are hiring him/her?  In this case – do they practice family law or do they just “dabble” in it?  Legal issues in all fields evolve quickly and it is difficult for an attorney to keep up with all of the ever-changing complexities in multiple areas of the law.
  2. Do they make you comfortable?  Family law matters are very invasive and emotionally taxing.  And so, it is very important that you feel you can be completely honest with your attorney.  Take the time to find an attorney that you trust.
  3. Who will actually do the work?  You should consider whether or not the attorney you speak to is the one that will actually be representing you.  If you hire an attorney you feel comfortable with, you may be disappointed if the majority of contact you have is with a far less experienced associate or paralegal.
  4. Is the attorney ethical and professional?  It is unlikely that you would want to put your life in the hands of an attorney that hasn’t respected the basic rules that govern our interactions with clients and the Court.  Before you even consider an initial consultation, you should ask whether the attorneys in that firm have been the subject of malpractice actions or have been sanctioned by the Court or State.

(C)    How much will my divorce cost?

Most attorneys charge an hourly rate; so the ultimate cost of your divorce will primarily be a function of how much time and expense is incurred on your specific case.  In even a simple divorce – one in which the parties generally agree to the terms from the beginning – after the attorney has consulted with you, answered your questions, drafted, filed and served the necessary documents, and scheduled a final hearing, it is unlikely that the cost would be much less than $1,500.  If your divorce is contested, or there are any complex issues or points of contention, your divorce can cost considerably more.  However, trying to handle a divorce on your own often has financial repercussions that far exceed the cost of hiring an attorney.

(D)    How long will my divorce take?

For an irreconcilable differences divorce your lawsuit must have been filed for at least 60 days for couples with no children, and at least 90 days for couples with children.  In reality, divorces often take longer.  Negotiating, mediating or litigating any contested issues can take months, so you should not enter a divorce action with the expectation that it will be a “quick fix”.  It is more important that it be done right than done quickly because a proper resolution of your case can help ensure that you do not have to spend more time, money and energy in the future.

(E)    I’m a woman, do I need a male attorney?  I’m a man, do I need a female attorney?

No.  You need a competent attorney.  I suspect that there was a time when such superficial posturing might have had an influence, but not today.  In Middle Tennessee, we are blessed with many sophisticated family court judges.  I assure you, they are solely concerned with the law and facts that are relevant to your case – not with the gender of your attorney.  Fortunately, there are many excellent male and female attorneys that practice family law.

(F)    My spouse has filed for divorce but I want to stay together.  Can I fight it?

Yes, but….  The most important thing is that you not simply ignore the divorce action.  While you can actively work to save your marriage, it is still important that you take certain precautions to protect your legal rights (and those of your children).  I will be happy to proceed with your representation in a positive manner so as to avoid unnecessary animosity and help facilitate reconciliation, but will also encourage you to consider your long term interests in the event the divorce is unavoidable.  In the end, I don’t “sell” divorces.  If you are able to reconcile, I will happily return any remaining retainer.

(G)    Can you guarantee….?

Don’t even finish the sentence – the answer is no.  The results of your case are dependent on many different variables over which I have little or no control.  While I can influence how your case is prepared and presented, ultimately I cannot control the facts of your case, how you and other witnesses will testify, or the discretion of the Court.  Any attorney that guarantees you a certain result is acting unethically and irresponsibly.  While it may be comforting to hear a guarantee, you should focus on finding an attorney that is willing to be honest with you (even when it hurts).

If you have any questions regarding any of these issues, please feel free to call me at the number listed above, send an email, or use the contact form.
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