This above all: to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man, ~ Shakespeare
I used a really nice atty and he didn't stand up for me at one of the hearings. You want someone who will push the envelope to get you the most you can get.
Then, like my friend's Dad told her, "Honey if you don't need all the money you receive each year in CS, etc, then you can always give it back to him at the end of the year. That will work to your advantage if you have a hot water heater go out, etc." Needless to say, she always used every penny of support and she is not a wasteful person. We are just too "nice".
Read Josephine85 on the General Forum titled Role Reversal. She helps us to put on those bitch boots in a very straightforward way!
We sent a letter to XWH employer requesting pay stubs AND the total gross income of the last year (because he got bonuses, also). So the HR guy even told us what the bonuses were.
I would urge you to go with the barracuda. *I* wanted an amicable divorce and wasted $5000 on an "amicable divorce" attorney who did not know what he was dealing with. Getting a barracuda was the very best thing I've done for myself in a long time. If you don't think he is going to fight fair, don't bring a puppy dog to a bull fight.
An arrogant, blustery asshole is no guarantee of a good lawyer. A lot of divorce lawyers are like this and other lawyers roll their eyes at them. Family law is heavily statutory. You can agree to almost anything, but if you don't, most lawyers should have a pretty good idea where the chips will fall. A good lawyer should tell you which are hills to die on. A lawyer inexperienced in family law may struggle here. Many lawyers make everything a fight, appearing competent, when all they're doing in trying to intimidate the other lawyer into acquiesence (stupid unless the other is inexperienced), or put on a show while racking up more fees for the client.
Everyone has their own style, so of course find someone whose style suits you. Because family law seems to be part of everyone's general practice, experience seems to be the bigger issue. Focus on how many divorces they've done, outcomes, complexity, kids or not, if they have dealt with a situation like yours or not. There should be no one size fits all, I only do amicable divorces, unless they have a very particular way of client screening. Also, some lawyers may be intimidated by certain other lawyers (avoid them) but if you feel your lawyer is not advocating, be blunt. They may be trying to minimize the fees, they may be aware that it's not worth pursuing. For example, if it costs more than $5k to find out the WH spent $3k on the AP. Communication and level headedness rule here. If you think it will cost $5k to find $10k of misappropriated marital funds, say why you think it's $10k.
That said, divorce is business, period. It doesn't matter, except in relatively few cases (and in some states, never) what the other party did or did not do.As I said, if your lawyer is experienced, they already have a pretty good idea of what the settlement will look like in the hands of the judge. Listen to them. Trials can cost thousands per day. If it would cost you more at trial than you would stand to gain, be economical. Don't do it with an "I'll show him..." . If you have the standard portfolio of a house, retirement accounts, savings accounts, and a couple of loans/credit cards, it is reasonable to ask what the judge made settlement is going to look like. That's your bottom line.
My X gets a yearly bonus...which is different each year. The pay stub reflected A bonus, but it didn't look right to me. We requested the employer to verify that was his bonus for the year...IN FULL. Low and behold, it was only 1/2. The employer was holding the other half at his request for payment after the divorce!
Taxes and pay stubs and make sure it all adds up. You can find hidden bank accounts by verifying the interest (1099 int) adds up too provided statements.
Bank statements for the last few years will give you an idea of what $$ was going out to support the A. That's how I found my X's profiles on adult sites.
"The only thing left to do is forgive and forget. I want to forgive you and I want to forget you!" ~Lauren Conrad
~Feel your emotions, but control your behavior~ Unknown