Divorce On A Budget: Self Help Divorce, Attorney Consultations & Minimizing Costs

If you are like many, you may find the possibility of divorce to be overwhelming and unaffordable. In addition to being a stressful and emotional time in your life, a divorce can also be financially draining. There are a number of ways, however, that a self help divorce can be achieved through a combination of quality divorce advice from a licensed divorce attorney and cooperation from both your and your spouse.

As most divorce lawyers will tell you, the least expensive way to achieve a divorce is through an amicable settlement involving both parties. If you and your spouse can agree on child custody (if applicable), alimony, the division of assets and other important information relating to the divorce, you may be able to achieve satisfaction through divorce mediation. Because a neutral third-party individual presides over the matter, both you and your spouse will need to seek the help of a divorce attorney if preferred. Although not required, a divorce lawyer can offer important information throughout the mediation process, including your rights under the current divorce laws and advice on divorce that you may not otherwise consider. A divorce mediation is quicker and more affordable than a lengthy litigation process through divorce court. There are several instances in which divorce mediation may not be an option, including a marriage that has a history of abuse or when one spouse is fearful of the other.

If you prefer to file divorce papers independently after having researched your own self help divorce information, it may still be to your benefit to consult with a professional divorce lawyer. In many cases, divorce attorneys offer a free initial consultation. It is important to inquire about this policy prior to scheduling a meeting, however, as every divorce lawyer has his/her own guidelines when it comes to client meetings and/or telephone calls. If you are able to schedule a free or low-cost consultation, it may be well worth your time to speak with a professional who can offer valuable divorce advice on your case. Because divorce lawyers are experienced and knowledgeable about local divorce laws, you may find that the information gained is priceless. Even if you choose to proceed with filing the divorce papers yourself, having spoken with a divorce attorney may prove to be helpful in the future. This is especially true if a problem should arise within the case and you can then retain the services of that same attorney who is already familiar with your situation.

In most areas, legal aid is also available to help those who are financially strapped and still need help with legal issues. Because the litigation process through divorce court is both complex and lengthy, the legal fees can quickly add up. In some instances, a trial may be the only option. For those who can work together, settle their matters in a civilized and fair fashion and wish to minimize their expenses, consulting with a divorce lawyer about various options may be a good idea. Unless you have a very good understanding of local divorce laws and the legal process in general, filing your own divorce papers may be difficult. If nothing else, a divorce attorney can help you to get the appropriate papers completed and filed while offering professional divorce advice to help make this stressful time a little less painful for all involved.

The information contained in this article is designed to be used for reference purposes only. It should not be used as, in place of or in conjunction with professional legal advice regarding divorce, child custody, alimony, self help divorce and/or divorce laws. If you are in need of divorce advice or are considering a marriage separation, consult with a professional divorce lawyer in your area for further information and/or divorce advice.

What To Expect From A Meeting With Your Divorce Lawyer

Before you meet with your divorce lawyer in Bethlehem, PA, for the first time, you may wonder what will happen at that first meeting. Generally, every initial consultation with an attorney is used to identify the problems and find a solution. And if you’re not shopping around for attorneys, then you can get right down to business in your first meeting.

What to Bring

Technically, you don’t have to bring anything for your first meeting. While your lawyer is definitely going to need financial records and plenty of other documentation from you down the road, you don’t have to bring it all at the first meeting. However, if you’d like to get started on the process, you could bring recent years’ income tax filings, pay stubs, and any other financial records you can find. You can also bring anything that might be considered incriminating evidence for your spouse’s infidelity or abusive behavior, if that’s the case.

What to Say

Your lawyer is going to give you an opportunity to talk about your situation. It’s extremely important that you tell the truth about everything. Your lawyer will keep your conversation confidential, so there is no reason to lie. And if you don’t sugarcoat things, then you have a much better chance of receiving an honest assessment of your situation.

But what if the truth doesn’t help you get a divorce on your terms? If your partner is really the better choice for being the custodial parent, then lying about it is probably not going to help you. If you cheated on your spouse, then this fact is probably going to come up in court. By telling your lawyer the truth now, you can figure out how to make the best of the situation. For example, you’ll probably still be granted extensive visitation rights—and you might not have to pay any alimony, after all.

Disclose Important Facts

During your initial conversation, you need to disclose the most important facts of your case. Your attorney needs to know whether you have any underage children, how much you and your spouse earn, your and your spouse’s ability to earn a living later (especially if one of you is not working or working part-time), your expenses, and your current level of debt.

You don’t have to have the exact answers during the first meeting; in fact, most people don’t. But without knowing the extent of your financial situation, your attorney can only give you an idea of what alimony and child support payments might look like.
Finally, you also need to talk about personal issues. Martial misconduct or abuse is a serious matter in all states, even in no-fault divorce states. While cheating on your spouse may not affect your ability to get a divorce, it can definitely influence how much you end up paying in alimony and what the division of assets will look like. Either way, your attorney needs to know what happened in order to choose the best course of action for your situation.

Discuss the Next Step

Before the end of the meeting, you will need to discuss the next step with your attorney. This could be gathering additional documents, thinking things over, interviewing another attorney, or filing for divorce right away. Before you leave, your attorney may also collect your personal information to allow him to file for divorce on your behalf whenever you’re ready.

The divorce process can be difficult and time consuming to maneuver. Fortunately, you don’t have to do all of the hard work on your own. Before you meet with your attorney, you may want to write down a list of questions to ask. A helpful divorce lawyer in Bethlehem, PA, will take the time to address your concerns during your conversation.

Divorce Lawyer New York: The Need Of The Time

Nowadays divorces have just become nothing but money minting business and of course nasty experiences for the couples. A divorce causes a lot of painful memories and thus, makes the separation phase even more painful. In most of the cases, the lack of a good lawyer makes the entire phase a bit nastier. But in the other cases where good lawyers are present, the separation tends to be a bit more amicable, because both the sides are satisfied with whatever has happened, thinking it to be the best which could have happened in this case. This is the reason why the Divorce Lawyer New York has emerged much more than just a mere designation. Now it feels as if this profession is more about life saviours and just not another employment option for more and more people.

So, why to go for the Divorce Lawyer New York? There are several reasons why people head for the divorce lawyers. Some of the reasons are the issues on the finances and division or properties and even the custody of children. These issues arise when both the partners are not ready to mutually respect each other’s needs and also do not cooperate in the cases. The divorce lawyers suggest and favor the decision of divorce only when they see there are no chances of getting back together. And, In case of separation, divorce lawyers try at best to settle the divorce issue out of the courts since court hearings are traumatic and painful.

Now, it is important to know, how to head for the Divorce Lawyer New York? Well, this necessarily will take time. As such New York is a big city and also there are so many divorce lawyers who have established their names in this domain. So, how to select for the best one? This can be done when the entire ground work for the selection of the right divorce lawyer is done in advance. You can ask reliable friends and relatives and also research in the internet regarding this. It is very important to make the right choice because only then the case can be successful. While, other mutual agreements can also be done through cooperation but the work of the lawyer can be done by the lawyer only and no one else. At times, the divorce lawyer also helps in making it very clear to the both parties about the future prospects and the legal conditions which will have to be followed once the divorce is availed. At times, the need of divorce is only because of some sudden and animated quarrel. In such cases, the lawyer also helps in resolving the conflict and making both the parties feel that they still need each other and divorce is the last thing which they should do.

Thus, the role played by the Divorce Lawyer New York is very important and also the entire significance can be easily seen on the lives of the people who are getting divorced. They are saved from long lasting turmoil and hardships.

What to Look For in a Divorce Lawyer – How to Choose Wisely

With the changes in family law over the last 30 years, including the adoption of equitable distribution in place of the old common-law rules, the adoption of laws protecting military spouses, and the adoption of support guidelines and various local rules promulgated within the various circuits, the area of separation and divorce has become much too complicated and specialized for someone who does not regularly handle these types of cases. It distresses us when clients come to us with poorly drafted separation agreements, and/or decrees which other inexperienced attorneys have handled. Just as it is better to win at trial than to have a great appeal issue, it is much better to have the right attorney, one who will get it right the first time, than to have to pay someone to fix problems stemming from errors made in the first place. Sometimes the errors are very costly and cannot be fixed as shown in the series of articles I wrote for The Family Law News, a peer review publication of the Virginia State Bar, Section of Family Law, entitled “Costly Errors in Multi-State Military Divorce; Or a Military Wife’s Tale of Woe,” which are published in the Fall 2007 and Spring 2008 issues of the publication.

The series of articles outlines the legal authorities, strategy and procedural points we used to successfully defend a military retiree, who was a veteran of the Vietnam War. His ex-wife was attempting to obtain half of his military retired pay and spousal support here in Virginia, despite having divorced him six years earlier in Hawaii. While we are always happy to achieve a successful outcome for our clients, we felt sorry for the ex-wife, who had received poor legal advice from hr attorney in the original divorce action in Hawaii, advice that lead to poor decisions which the Virginia Court found to bind her permanently. In ruling for us in the case, the judge told the ex-wife that instead of suing her ex-husband, show should go after the attorney in Hawaii who represented her in the divorce.

So, how do you go about finding a good divorce lawyer? Here are a few suggestions:

Suggestion #1-Ask a Lawyer

If you know a lawyer, ask him/her for a referral to a good divorce lawyer. He or she will probably know someone or several someones who devote a significant portion of the practice of law to separation and divorce and related issues. For example, I have been handling separation and divorce for 30 years and have an excellent reputation among the local legal community. Any divorce attorney worth his/her salt should have established a reputation among other lawyers. Lawyers generally know who is good for a particular type of case; they certainly know who they would see, if they were facing separation and divorce.

Suggestion #2-Yellow Pages/Internet

While not a great source of information, the Yellow Pages and internet can be a beginning source of attorney names. Lawyers who do not mention separation, divorce, military divorce, and related areas like custody and support or property division, are not seeking cases in those areas and certainly don’t devote a significant portion of the practice to those areas. Be leery of ads that include a laundry list of everything under the sun. Remember the old saying, “a jack of all trades and master of none”? Wouldn’t you rather have someone who takes the time to focus at least a significant amount of time to family law, than someone who maybe devotes 3% of his/her practice to family law issues? Remember not everyone advertises in the Yellow Pages or haw a website or internet presence.. For example, there are more telephone listings than there are attorney ads in the Yellow Pages.


The Virginia Lawyer Referral Service is operated by the Virginia State Bar. Lawyers must ask to get on the list and must agree to a fixed fee for an initial consultation. A lawyer can be listed under any category he/she asks for. The names are on a rotating list and given to consumers who contact the service. Again, not all attorneys are listed. We are not listed with the referral service. This resource can provide the name of an attorney who is seeking family law cases. This does not mean that the attorney is an expert in these types of cases or that he/she is experienced. All it means is that he or she is seeking divorce cases. Be sure to take the questions I talk about here to the attorney interview.

Suggestion #4-Talk to More Than One Attorney

In fact, interview several attorneys. Ask each attorney who else handles separation and divorce in the area. If they won’t give you names, leave the office, when you see names showing up on various lists of recommendations, the odds are probably good that the attorney is doing these cases on a regular basis.

Suggestion #5 – Use a Checklist

I have outlined factors that you should consider when selecting a divorce lawyer.

A. Experience. The longer you have been practicing a particular area of the law, the more you know. There is an old adage that says a good lawyer knows the law and a great lawyer knows the judge! What is the difference between a good lawyer and a great lawyer? Experience.

B. Experience Trying Cases. Has he/she achieved any trial successes for his/her clients? Can the lawyer point to case results or client testimonial reflecting his/her abilities?

C. Are they willing to settle when appropriate to do so? Trial attorneys sometimes suffer from a hired gun mentality. They like the thrill of trying cases and may not consider other options, such as mediation or arbitration to achieve a resolution. Most good divorce attorneys do not adopt this approach, but see trial as a last resort, when other options have failed to precipitate a fair resolution of the issues. Unlike other areas of the law, family law often entails ongoing relationships and consequently requires a different perspective. I recently read an article by a personal injury attorney, who was writing on how to choose a personal injury lawyer. He said not to choose a lawyer who settles a lot of cases. When it comes to separation and divorce, I believe it is important to try to reach an agreement, if you can.

Going to court about family law unless you have to is like using a sledge hammer on a flea problem; you may kill a few fleas, but you wreak a lot of damage to the structure of the house, too. When individuals settle their own cases outside of court, they can be a lot more creative than the court would be in fashioning a remedy that is fair to both parties. Sometimes, agreement is just not possible. When that is the case, you want an experienced able divorce attorney who can advocate for your position in court and has a proven track record of success.

D. Respect in the legal community. What are other lawyers saying about this lawyer? Has the lawyer lectured or taught? Has he/she taught other lawyers?

E. Publications. Has he/she written anything that has been accepted for publication in legal journals? This is another sign of respect for the lawyer and for his/her skills and experience. Has he/she written or published anything designed to educate the public as to their rights duties and responsibilities under the law?

F. Affiliations and memberships. What professional affiliations does the attorney have? Is he/she a member of the Family Law Section of the Virginia State Bar Association? A member of the Virginia Trial Lawyers? A fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Attorneys?

G. Does the attorney limit the number of cases he/she undertakes? We don’t take every case that calls in or walks through the door. We limit the number of cases that we undertake to handle at a given point in time so that we an focus on doing the best job for those clients.

H. Relationship issues.

1. How was the telephone answered when you called for an appointment?

2. How were you greeted when you entered the office? Were you offered refreshments?

3. Did the attorney and staff listen to you? Are you sure? Could you tell they were listening?

4. Were you interrupted during your time with the lawyer?

5. Does the attorney use written agreements setting out the parameters of the representation and the financial arrangements?

6. One of the most important aspects of choosing a lawyer is the relationship aspect: you need to be able to work effectively and comfortably with your lawyer. The relationship requires intimacy and trust. Do you feel comfortable with the attorney?

7. Were you introduced to staff?

8. How long does the attorney retain files on closed cases? What happens to the closed file? How is it disposed of? What steps does the attorney take to safeguard your confidential information?

I. Why does he/she practice divorce law? Friends and colleagues think I’m crazy to devote so much time to separation and divorce law. They may be right, I just may be a little crazy. But like the song says, “it just may be a lunatic you’re looking for.” When interviewing a potential divorce lawyer be sure to ask him/her why they choose to practice family law. Does the lawyer have a life experience that allows him/her to advocate for divorce clients with genuine passion? Is that passion something that is reflected in client testimonials?

J. Cost. Unlike personal injury practice, the best divorce lawyers do not offer “free” consultations. You will notice that cost is last on the list. In our experience, the best divorce lawyers are generally not the cheapest. In the long run, what is it worth to you to retain or acquire your fair share of the assets that have been accumulated over the course of your married life? What is it worth to you to insure that you retain your fair share of time with your children? Some things are worth fighting for and worth the price that you have to pay.

If your attorney does not devote a significant portion of his/her practice to family law issues, has never tried a contested divorce, has never tried a contested custody case or who has never tried an equitable distribution case, or drafted a qualified domestic relations order dividing a pension, or who has no experience in military divorce and has never drafted a military retired pay order, you may want to choose another lawyer for your separation and divorce.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/3125091

Why You Need a Divorce Lawyer

I recently overheard someone in a bookstore telling a group of people why they should not have their own attorneys, how they could not trust lawyers, how lawyers would cheat them and how they should rely upon the company the speaker belonged to instead. That conversation got me thinking about why people facing separation and divorce need not just any lawyer, but a good divorce lawyer.

Reason #1-What You need to know

You need to know your rights, duties and responsibilities under the law. Only a lawyer who has been retained to represent your interests can advise you. How can you realistically discuss financial arrangements in separating and divorcing, if you don’t know what your rights, duties and responsibilities are? Not knowing what your rights are can result in not getting your fair share of assets, your fair share of support or your fair share of time with your children. Not knowing what your duties and responsibilities are can result in your paying more than your fair share of assets or your fair share of support. Most attorneys offer a special reduced rate for consulting services to encourage people to get advice early and often. There is no reason to rely on backyard fence advice, when you can get real advice from a qualified experienced divorce lawyer for a reasonable fee. Furthermore, in my experience, the backyard fence advice is usually wrong. Remember that if what you hear is half true, it is still wrong.

Reason #2-Backyard Advice

My friend is divorced. Why can’t I rely on my friend’s experience and knowledge. Well, you could do that but what you need to realize is that unless your friend is a licensed attorney, he/she is not authorized to practice law. Your friend’s knowledge will be limited to his/her particular experience. His/her experience with the law is limited to the facts of his/her case and the law as it was at the time. Things change. The law changes. Any change in the facts will change the outcome or advice. Furthermore, changes in the law will change the advice. Your friend simply lacks the knowledge and experience to give sound practical legal advice.

Reason #3-Identifying Issues

The sooner you get a lawyer, the sooner you will learn what you need to know to protect yourself (and your children and property interests). Sometimes people have no idea how to go about identifying the issues they need to discuss, even if the separation is an amicable one and the parties anticipate a “friendly divorce.” A good, experienced divorce lawyer can assist you in identifying the issues you need to discuss with your spouse to achieve a comprehensive agreement and global settlement. Over the years there have been numerous times when we were able to point out to clients areas they had initially overlooked and issues which should be included in their settlement discussions, such as life insurance, health insurance, and children’s educational needs.

Reason #4-To Share or Not to Share?

My spouse already has an attorney. Do I really need to get one too? Can’t the same lawyer represent us both? The answer is no, not really. 30 years ago when I first began practicing law, it was strictly forbidden for a lawyer to represent both sides to a divorce, no matter how “friendly” it was. There are some limited circumstances in which dual representation might be allowed, provided there is full disclosure of potential conflicts of interest and a waiver of conflicts with informed consent by both parties. These situations are limited and in the event that unhappy differences or disputes should arise, the attorney must end the representation and both parties must seek new counsel. Frankly, we rarely if ever agree to dual representation. We represent our clients zealously within the bounds of the law and the conflicts in representing opposing sides are too apparent for us to agree to do so. Not only that, but if your spouse has a lawyer, that means that he/she has already sought legal advice and has some rudimentary knowledge of his/her rights, duties and responsibilities under the law.

Someone once said knowledge is power. Would you rather be the one with the knowledge (and the power) or the one without knowledge? How trusting can you be of your spouse or his/her attorney in the circumstances? Remember that your spouse’s attorney already represents your spouse. In our experience, spouses, especially those who tend to be controlling will think nothing of misrepresenting the law to gain advantage in the negotiation. Recently a client told me that her husband who remains in the marital home told her that she was now his “landlord” and therefore she could not re-enter the home without his consent and presence and that his lawyer said so. Needless to say, everything he told her was wrong. Her husband also told our client that they did not need to use lawyers and could reach an agreement on their own without lawyers. He also said that if she insisted on having her attorney review paperwork before she signed it that he would find something to disagree with on each draft to drive up her costs. Clearly he was trying to manipulate, intimidate and control his wife, who was wise to seek her own independent counsel from a knowledgeable, experienced divorce attorney.

Reason #5-Do You Feel Lucky?

Going to a court hearing in a pending divorce without a lawyer is like playing Russian Roulette. How lucky do you think you are? Would you perform surgery on yourself or would you seek out a qualified surgeon? Why do you think that you know enough to represent yourself in court? Do you know what your rights, duties and responsibilities are? The judge won’t help you out if you don’t know what you are doing. There are rules of evidence and rules of procedure that govern hearings. You need someone on your team that knows the rules of the game. You will need someone to prepare you for your testimony in court so that you don’t put your feet in your mouth up to your hip bone. You will be bound by the things that come out of your mouth in court. Recently we spoke to a man who incurred spousal and child support obligations of $4000 per month. The court issued an order based on erroneous exhibits filed by his wife’s attorney and based upon things he said in open court as to his income which were not accurate. A skilled trial attorney can get you to say things that you don’t mean to say, especially if you have not been prepared for your testimony.

Reason #6-Too Little, Too Late

Going to see a lawyer after you have already signed papers or participated in depositions or hearings pro se (representing yourself) is like closing the barn door, after the cow got out. Just because you were not represented does not mean that you can get out of a bad decision or bad deal you may have made or get out of rulings the court made when you were unrepresented. The time to get advice is before you sign. The time to get advice is before you go to court. In fact, you should get advice as soon as you receive legal notice of a pending lawsuit against you.

If you are reading this and you have already signed papers, you should still consult with a good experienced divorce attorney to have the papers explained to you and to review t he papers to see if there are any loopholes that may be used to renegotiate terms move favorably to you or to insist upon “clarification” of the agreement. The attorney can also explain the consequences of having signed the paperwork.

If you are reading this and you are in the midst of a divorce action and have been to depositions on your own, you should seek an immediate consultation with a good experienced divorce attorney to see if there is any legal basis to suppress the depositions. Be sure to take all of your documents with you to the consultation. We have seen situations where it was possible to reopen a case for a client because the depositions were taken too early. In such situations, the depositions were quashed by filing the appropriate papers under the rules of court. In your case it may be too late to do anything, but you should at least talk to a divorce attorney right away to be sure.

Reason #7-Isn’t a Lawyer a Lawyer? (A Rose by Any Other Name…)

I know a lawyer who did the closing on our house. Can’t I go to him/her for advice about separation and divorce? Yes, you could but there is a saying that if the blind lead the blind, they both fall in a ditch. Would you go to a podiatrist (foot doctor) if you had an eye infection? You could; after all, the podiatrist went to medical school and learned about the body, including the eyes. The questions are how much, if anything does he/she remember, is he/she current on the medical literature pertaining to the eye and infection, including the diagnosis and treatment of the eye? I have seen horrendous separation agreements prepared by lawyers who do not devote at least a significant portion of their practice to family law but were trying to accommodate a friend or relation in their time of need. Actually a lawyer should decline a case, if he/she does not believe that he/she has the knowledge and experience to handle it or that he/she is not willing to acquire the knowledge necessary to handle it.

It takes a significant amount of time to keep up with all of the changes in the law that affect separation and divorce. Think about it. Every week somewhere there is a court, either federal or state making a decision that could affect your situation. Every week that the legislature is in session, whether Congress or the General Assembly, they make decisions that could affect your situation. An experienced divorce attorney should make it a point to review new cases and statutes looking for those that affect family law practice; all of the best family lawyers do.

Reason #8-Prepaid Legal?

If you have paid for this service, then certainly you can talk to one of the participating attorneys. But unless the attorney is an experienced divorce lawyer with a significant portion of his/her practice devoted to separation and divorce and related issues, you should give serious consideration to looking outside of your prepaid plan. Has the lawyer written any books or articles on separation, divorce or related issues that are published? I am not a participating attorney in a pre paid legal plan. The best divorce lawyers are not participants in “prepaid” legal. To my knowledge there are no fellows (members) of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers who participate in pre paid legal services plans. If you are reading this report and have personal knowledge of an attorney who belongs to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and also belongs to a pre paid legal plan, please email us at [email protected] to report the name of the attorney so that we can verify the information and update this report.

Think about what is at stake; the custody and support of your children, and the division of assets you may have worked your entire married life to accumulate, including your home, pension, savings, military retirement and/or 401K. Do you really want to cut corners when it comes to your kids? Your home? Your pension? Your retirement?

Reason #9-A Ship Needs a Navigator

If you think of your legal case as a ship, the client is the captain of the ship and the client’s attorney is the navigator. The navigator doesn’t decide where to go, but he/she does map out the best course to arrive at the destination. Divorce is difficult, even “friendly” divorce is not easy. It can be an emotional rollercoaster. You need emotional, psychological and legal support. In choosing to separate and divorce, you will be faced with important decisions that will affect you, your spouse and your children not only now but in the foreseeable future. Passions can run hot during this difficult time and you need a clear head. You need a team of individuals including someone knowledgeable in separation and divorce law to help you see clearly and navigate the difficult and sometimes angry waters of separation and divorce.

Not having a good divorce lawyer at the planning and separation stage leaves you without the sound advice and rational third party perspective you need to make decisions which can bind you for life. Not having a good divorce lawyer at the divorce stage leaves you without the knowledge, experience and advocacy of a good experienced divorce attorney. It leaves you at the mercy of your spouse and your spouse’s attorney. Neither your spouse nor his/her attorney is there to show you mercy. You need someone to fight for you when you cannot fight for yourself. You need someone to help you understand what is gong on and how to act in the storm.

You need someone who can help you to be pro-active and not simply re-active to steps that your spouse takes. You want a team to support you, a team which can and should include your pastor, rabbi or spiritual advisor, your CPA or tax advisor, extended family, friends and a good experienced divorce attorney.

Reason #10-You Need an Advocate

You are going through a traumatic experience. Divorce is one of the most difficult experiences in life, second only to the death of a spouse. You need someone who understands what is at stake and will advocate for your interests with not only knowledge and experience but passion and feeling. When you interview attorneys, find out why they practice family law and what motivates them in advocating for clients. What is it that makes them passionate advocates? I recently spoke with another trial attorney who does not generally handle divorce work. He usually handles criminal and traffic defense and civil suits for money damages; he told me that he was forced by the poor economy to take a contested divorce case. Divorce and family law are not his first choice of trial work. He is doing it now solely for the money. Is that the motivation you would want in your attorney? Or would you rather have a lawyer who has made a conscious decsion to focus on family law and uses his/her life experience such as knowing what it is like to be a child of divorce to relate to the circumstances of your case and to advocate for you with passion and conviction?

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/3125013

Getting behind the wheel of consumer behaviour

Consumer behaviour. We like to predict it, and attempt to control it. Both, however, are notoriously difficult to do.
Getting behind the wheel of consumer behaviourTraditional theory propagates four types of consumers: Those who buy out of habit; those who like variety; the finicky shoppers who require considerable wooing; and the dissonance crowd who perceive little or no brand comparison in their purchase decisions. All this, of course, is overlaid with that rather nebulous method of segmentation: beliefs and attitudes.

We tend to believe that if we are to understand things a little more clearly, we must segment. By compartmentalising, we feel more in control. Things make sense inside a safe haven of apportioned logic. Yet the more we divide, the less we rule. Our pigeonhole fixation detaches us from the very objects we seek to understand and influence: human beings, and that elusive thing we so emphatically call a target market.

Hit the road

If you want to really know and understand your market, an accurate map may tell you where it is – but not who it is and what it’s up to. For real insight into what the brand drivers are, best hit the road… and go play in the traffic.

Traffic flows. But often times, it doesn’t. Yet whatever the rate or volume of passing traffic, what is most interesting to observe is the behaviour of our fellow, vehicular consumers. There are all manner of target markets navigating Cape Town’s aptly named Hospital Bend, or Johannesburg’s infamous M1 at peak hours. Drive time, we like to call it. And it presents the perfect opportunity for a thirty-second spot. So let’s take a drive and see what we can find out.

Drive time

You’re approaching a city centre intersection. The traffic lights are down. It’s five in the afternoon and everyone wants to be somewhere else.

Without so much as a by-your-leave, a sleek BMW M3 coupé inches into the hairline gap between your front bumper and the next car’s tail lights. The windows are fully tinted, so you can’t see who the driver is. There is no acknowledgement or thanks for being let in, which you may privately berate and shrug off, or publicly decry by punching your hooter down and expecting some kind of resolution before you ever let go. You automatically classify the driver: a male, high-income, high-flying egomaniac, with no sense of community. A divorce lawyer, maybe.

A few minutes go by and you soon forget him. Now you have the other extreme before you, an irritating highway Samaritan, casually letting fellow motorists push in, hop through and pull across. Must be a preacher. Or worse, a churchwarden. Has he absolutely no sense of priority? He’s asking for a surprise bash up the backside. Or perhaps you just take a deep breath and let things take their course. Because you catch an eye in his rear view mirror and realise that, actually, it is the churchwarden in front of you! You thank heavens for small mercies and gladly pay the penance of driving the rest of the way in second gear.

Until you get to a traffic circle. Traffic circles sprang up like a new market marvel that grew too quickly for us road consumers to adopt properly. We’re still trying to understand them. Are they four-way yield-stops? Why go around when you can just drive right over the silly middle bump? Who goes first? It’s a case of who dares goes.

Within an inch of catastrophe, a plumber’s van and a middle-management, Mercedes C-class – hopefully on her way to a C directorship – halt the entire proceedings. Quite out of character, she bursts like a Jill-in-the-box from her window and screams the most objectionable, personal insults, clanging with expletives. It demands an equally undesirable riposte from the tradesman. And, of course, there’s a typically South African hangover to this. The woman has to be black, and the man has to be white.

Random behaviour

Mercifully, you find your way home. You have time to do a quick once-over of that market research you’ve been working on tirelessly over the past three months. You do a final recon of those pigeonholes, so you’re able to present your team with a statistically rational target market for your next campaign. But while the numbers tally, they don’t make sense. Not on their own. Why? Because segmentation merely helps us understand what we can never know, let alone pretend to control. Real insight is gleaned from random behaviour – which we have to be present to observe.

Ultimately, we get far more insight into human behaviour in one rush-hour’s traffic than a month of Excel spreadsheets. Because in traffic, we are closer to the human being. We’re right behind the wheel of consumer behaviour, with all its attendant market conditions of potholes, eTolls, trolls and taxis.

Web copywriting: setting the record straight

As it turns out, web copywriting is a contentious issue – peppered with strongly differing views and hotly defended opinions. At this kitchen of contention, it can be hard to distinguish between the myths and the truths. Also, Google regularly changes the rules. So here are a couple of the latest prevailing myths about web or online copywriting…
Web copywriting: setting the record straight
Myth 1:

Web copywriting and SEO copywriting are the same thing.


SEO copywriting, or to give it its full name, ‘search engine optimisation copywriting’, is the technique of writing the text on a webpage in such a way that it a) reads well for the web user and, b) targets specific search terms.

Its purpose is to rank highly in the search engines for the targeted search terms.

The idea behind SEO copywriting is that search engines want genuine content pages and not additional pages (often called ‘doorway pages’) that are created for the sole purpose of achieving high rankings.

Practitioners of the search engine copywriting method recommend around 250 viewable words per page, with one, or at most two, targeted search terms strategically placed within the text and other on-page elements.

Web copywriting, though, is more about conciseness, coherence, style and power than it is about strategy and the placement of search terms. In web copywriting, every paragraph, subhead, sentence and word must have its role and purpose.

It’s about detail, about sequence, about pace and flow. And when you do it right, the ‘construction’ becomes invisible and you have a great piece of web copywriting that compels the reader to do what you want them to do.

In short, web copywriting may include SEO copywriting – but the two are not the same thing. Indeed, the practitioners of each are often not the same people.

Myth 2:

Text is text, so it’s fine to use existing print copy on the web.


Text isn’t text, simply because the experience of print and web readers is so different.

On the one hand, print writers don’t need to concern themselves with the reader’s reading experience. Even after the document becomes galleys and pages, it looks a lot like it did initially: horizontal lines of type. And it looks much the same for everyone.

On the other hand, different web users have different computers, browsers, settings and line speeds. This means that each user experiences a unique and different web reading. With graphics. Without graphics. With sound. Without. In one second. In 100 seconds.

In print, text is everything. Pages are mainly composed of text and the writer’s challenge is creating a narrative that holds the reader’s interest. On the web, text is not everything. Images and other elements, such as audio, video, links, time and money, can play a role.

Finally, print readers usually read most of the text, if not every word, from front to back. But web users don’t: they speed-read or ‘scan’. This is because reading off a computer screen can be uncomfortable and scrolling endlessly downwards can be frustrating.

Bottom line?

Developing website copy usually means writing new materials – and if you want your readers to spend less precious time reading, you must spend more precious time writing.

Myth 3:

Web copywriting requires ‘keyword stuffing’ to work well.


Have a quick look at this:

“This website provides free cooking tips, so be sure to check out this free cooking tips website if you are interested in free cooking tips.”

Anyone who is loosely familiar with SEO will tell you that an article with this kind of ‘introduction’ has been (desperately) optimised for the search term “free cooking tips.” But is this writing approach one that actually works? Nope.

Once readers realise that a website doesn’t provide quality content but relies on useless keyword-filled articles, they won’t stick around. As a result, only a handful of the site’s initial readers will continue to follow the website, if that many.

Let’s also look at things from the viewpoint of a visitor who finds a keyword-stuffed website through a search engine. Yes, that person drops by, but once he sees that the content is over-optimised junk, he leaves and never returns.

However, and this is a biggie, there’s no reason to assume that SEO copywriting and good web copywriting should be mutually exclusive. The answer is to generate copy that helps to improve search engine rankings while still ensuring that those all-powerful human visitors are compelled to stick around.

Yes, search engine positioning is important. But what’s also important is creating compelling, high-value text that resonates with the target market – because the search engines don’t pay the bills nearly as well as the human customers do.

Now what?

So these three myths have been busted – but now what?

It’s clear that what’s needed is specially written, smooth-moving, subtly optimised web copy that speaks to the reader’s tendency to scan. And one of the best ways to create this elusive copy is by producing what we call ‘flagship content’, based on a relevant, compelling and useful cornerstone around which all of the copy can be built.

A cornerstone is something that is basic, essential, indispensable; it’s what people need to know in order to make use of a website and do business with a particular company. And flagship content with a clear and powerful cornerstone requires:

Keyword phrases

Choose the most appropriate keyword phrase. Ask yourself, ‘What is the relevant question asked by searchers, that my content and the business will answer?’ For example, a divorce lawyer in Sandton, Johannesburg will benefit very little from ranking highly for the word “lawyer” (and good luck to him!), but a specific keyword phrase based on geography and specialty will draw the right traffic (“Sandton divorce lawyer”).


Good web copy should include words that are related to, as well as synonyms for, the keyword phrases that best represent you or your organisation. Rather than endlessly repeating the same words (and scaring your readers away), assume that different web users will use different, contextually-related words to find what they’re looking for. If we go back to the lawyer example, you could weave phrases such as ‘Northern suburbs’, ‘Johannesburg’, ‘attorney’, ‘advocate’, and ‘ante-nuptial contract’ into your content.


One of the characteristics of flagship web copy is the use of specific, descriptive words instead of vague generalities: ‘Has your marriage dissolved due to infidelity or an extra-marital affair?’ rather than ‘Having third-party problems?’ Specificity helps readers because it clearly demonstrates relevancy and makes the copy more dynamic. But be sure to use your specific keywords only when feasible within the broader context of the copy, otherwise you’ll be faced with the hideous keyword stuffing dilemma.

Effectively Selecting The Best Springfield Divorce Lawyer

Anyone that is focused on the idea of trying to keep their marriage happy and successful is often quite anxious in their endeavors. Most people learn that life simply becomes much too difficult to maintain from a career and daily needs standpoint which creates little to no motivation in actually making sure the relationship is worked on as well. When choosing the right Springfield divorce lawyer people are offered an opportunity to make sure their filing efforts are successfully completed.

Divorce procedures are filed through local courts and are aimed at making sure the union is officially separated. Couples are often quite anxious about their proceedings when trying to make sure they are offered the chance to officially end their marriage and move forward with their lives separately. The hiring decisions that are made from the various professionals are usually quite involved when needed.

People of Springfield that are focused on this kind of professional have a large number of providers to sort through. Most consumers are not clear about all that is necessary for being able to make sure their selections are as comprehensive and effective as possible. Paying attention to several ideas is usually all that is needed for finding the right professional.

Review forums are often known to be some of the most helpful and viable forms of guidance for anyone in need. Reviews are typically based on the need to make sure that all aspects of what is offered from the professional are able to be read about from the viewpoint of those that are specifically versed in their solutions. Concentrating on the top rated professionals is usually what creates the best solutions.

The only attorneys that should be considered are the ones that offer a free consultation. The consultation that is offered from the professional is usually helpful in offering consumers the chance to fully understand what is needed for their case along with what will be offered if the professional is actually hired. Consumers that take the time to receive as many estimates as possible are usually able to find the best value.

Consumers should also be assured the professional is able to deal with all administrative and hearing based needs for their clients. The entire filing process is filled with an incredible amount of needs that are often based on the attending hearings and actually completing a multitude of documents and forms. Professionals that oversee this entire process are helpful in alleviating stress from their clients.

People are additionally interested in the chance to make sure the professional is actually empathetic toward them. The emotional turmoil of ending a relationship is bad enough to deal with while then being required to make sure that legal difficulties are worked through as well. People are usually able to gather this insight during a preliminary consultation.

Fees are also an integral concern for people that are interested in selecting a Springfield divorce lawyer. The actual prices that are offered from the various attorneys are often unable to be managed with any degree of effectiveness without some kind of payment guidance. The lowest fees that are able to be spread out over time are the most helpful for consumers to consider.

Get Best Divorce Lawyer For Your Case

Divorce is a legal process that enables couples who have decided to separate or end the marriage. The Best Divorce Lawyer has spread rapidly to the most of the area. The attorney believes in compassionate and personalized service for their clients. The Lawyer focuses on family law in order to provide experience, knowledge and best legal representation to the client. There are various aspects of the divorce like alimony, distribution of marital property, child support and child custody. After the divorce the most important and complex issue is the child custody.

Best Divorce Lawyer handles the divorce case very emotionally. In order to get the best lawyer for your case you need to meet with the more than one lawyer and discuss the same question with each lawyer. This will help you to compare suitable person with your highly specific situation. Divorce is the final termination of the marriage. Divorce law vary among the jurisdiction is used to meet the eligibility requirements.

Lawyers handle different type of divorce cases like collaborative, mediated and uncontested divorce. In this type of case children don’t speak about their feelings because they blame themselves for splitting up their parents. When children are not expressing the emotions and carry the emotion baggage, it affects them emotionally as they turn into adults. The Best Divorce Lawyers are trained in collaborative divorce process and the assistance of neutral financial specialist.

Divorce is a painful process or the hardest experience that you go through in your life. The Best Divorce Lawyer fights for the client in order to get child custody and alimony. The success of the divorce case depends on the competency of the lawyer. Divorce is a legal matter and only best divorce lawyer can understand the intricacies of the case. There is various law firms dealing in family law and provide the effective service. In order select the best divorce lawyer for your case you must check the background of the lawyer and analyze your comfort level with the lawyer. In order to compare the standards of the lawyers you must visit various websites of the law firm. These websites provide the complete detail of the lawyer. Various law firms offer free initial counseling to the client.
There is no one who wants divorce, but due to some factors they have to opt for the divorce. Most of the laws are legislated at the federal level, but the laws related to divorce are legislated on the state basis. The best divorce lawyers offer quick divorce facility and enable both the parties to move on with their separate lives. Attorney can helps you in dealing with all issues related to divorce. The separation of two people effect both their and their family life. As by hiring best lawyer one can get better advice during process.
Separation is painful but sometimes its required for sake of happiness of both parties which can only lead by the best lawyer for their case. Decision of hiring lawyer must be taken after considering certain factors in mind.

3 Reasons To Hire An Experienced Divorce Lawyer

3 Reasons To Hire An Experienced Divorce Lawyer

No matter why or if you wanted it or not, divorce is never easy. You may be struggling with a variety of different emotions—anger, sadness, confusion, frustration, anxiety, and more. On top of all that, you need to file for divorce and work through the negotiations for the division of assets, child support, child custody, etc. If you haven’t done so already, you should consider hiring a Greensboro divorce lawyer to help you. Below are 3 reasons that you’ll find an attorney beneficial through this difficult time:

Offer Support

No matter where your emotions are, it’s important to focus on yourself. Surround yourself with friends and family who can offer support and encouragement. Spend time with your children. They may be struggling more with the division than you are, and they need to know that you’re there for them. Your attorney can be there to support you by taking care of everything for you. An experienced attorney will know the right questions to ask and documents needed to complete as much of the paperwork possible without having to bother you with details. This can allow you the time and energy that you need to focus on yourself and cope with the situation.

Protect Your Interests

During the process, you will be expected to negotiate the division of assets for alimony, child custody, child support, debts, assets, inheritances, and more. Your attorney can help you understand what you deserve and what you’re entitled to. It may be more than you realized before. Your attorney will prepare the paperwork needed to protect your interests and prevent any costly mistakes from occurring.

In the case of child support and child custody, most states have a formula that is used to calculate how much is owed the primary caregiver and how to divide the time evenly. If your situation is different or there has been child abuse, your attorney can help protect your children and fight for your rights.

When you meet with your former spouse and start to negotiate things, you’ll be prepared with a clear agreement that you can use to proceed with. You can also have your attorney present to help you with the negotiation process and ensure that your interests are protected.

Complete Filing Process Quickly

When working with any legal documents, there will be things that you should know about filing them correctly. If you don’t have a legal background, there may be something that you accidentally leave out that could cause problems and lengthen the time before your divorce gets finalized. You don’t want any delays in the court’s ruling, so you can move on as quickly as possible. Your attorney will help you complete the paperwork and prepare the proper documentation as quickly as possible, so there won’t be any errors or problems that could delay the ruling for you.

Whether you feel that the divorce will be simple or not, it’s always wise to have an experienced Greensboro divorce lawyer on your side to help you. He or she will offer the support you need to focus on your emotions, protect your interests and negotiate for you, and complete the filing process as quickly as possible. Talk to friends and family and interview several attorneys to find one that you can trust to help you through this difficult time in your life and feel good about how things go throughout the divorce proceedings

By: Jordan Rocksmith

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Woodruff Family Law Group (www.woodrufflawfirm.com/index.asp?N=Divorce-Attorneys-Greensboro-NC-Asheboro&C=300&P=6104) is a trusted law firm serving Asheboro, NC. Contact Greensboro divorce lawyer today!