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Attorney, Male or Female?

bluetears posted 4/15/2019 19:27 PM

Okay, for those of you who have gone through the divorce process...

You have two very intelligent attorneys to choose from. One is female and one is a male. As a woman, which one do you think is a better choice? Any why?

barcher144 posted 4/15/2019 19:59 PM

Which do you prefer?

Honestly, if you have a "normal" divorce, then I don't think it matters much. By normal, I mean... one or both of you are emotional about stuff, but neither of you hates the other and neither of you wants to ruin the other. In that case, you just need someone who is meticulous, responsive, and good at explaining things to you.

If you have a "high conflict" divorce, then I recommend that you get yourself a "lawyer for dad." There is at least one national firm that specializes in this. I actually hired a local attorney who specializes in being "a lawyer for men." My lawyer is a woman, by the way.

To be honest, "lawyer for dad" is simply coded language for "we specialize in high conflict divorce."

Most people are somewhat reasonable in divorce. They understand that things, more or less, are split 50-50, whether it is the savings account, home equity, custody, or credit card debt. There are only so many different ways that you can divide stuff in two. But, occasionally, you get a crazy man or woman who thinks s/he deserves more than half for whatever reason... and then it can get ugly.

Lavender0916 posted 4/15/2019 20:44 PM

I am having a soon to be high conflict divorce. I have a great "female" attorney but I picked her because I knew she had my back. That is key. Plus, she is very clear what the law is and keeping me straight. Do more digging on what is right for you.

Bleu posted 4/15/2019 21:18 PM

I spoke to both and went with the one who had arguments to support my thoughts. I hope that makes sense.

barcher144 posted 4/16/2019 08:20 AM

I spoke to both and went with the one who had arguments to support my thoughts. I hope that makes sense.

Be careful of that lawyer, perhaps.

My STBXW's lawyer is awful. She has promised her many things that the law, as far as I understand it, does not support.

For example, her attorney has told her not to go back to work full-time (which she can do, easily) because it will make it harder for her to get as much alimony and child support as she wants. The only problem with this... is my state has a specific statute that says that for underemployed individuals, the judge must consider what their full-time income would be. That is, my state assumes that an adult (without obvious other issues, like a physical malady) can work 40 hours per week. My STBXW is going to lose in court on this... and her lawyer knows it... but her lawyer is telling STBXW what she wants to hear, not what she needs to hear.

The law can be cold and uncaring. A good lawyer will guide you through it all... not tell you what you want to hear.

Zamboni posted 4/16/2019 09:55 AM

Barcher gave you great advice.

Also, itís likely you wonít just be dealing with the attorney you hire. You will also be assigned a paralegal that can help relay messages and answer some of your questions.

I deal with two different attorneys even though I retained a man (male is a partner / female is an associate attorney). Both are competent and honestly I donít think about their gender much.

I made sure to ask about worse case scenarios and possible things my WH might do, and I found that to be very helpful. You never know if the shit is going to go sideways.

bluetears posted 4/16/2019 18:07 PM

Thank you everyone for your advice! I appreciate it very much!

Muggle posted 4/16/2019 19:29 PM

Gender isn't important when choosing an attorney. I was in a CIR (Committed Intimate relationship) for 23 years. We had a house, business, and 3 children together. I had been a SAHM for 18 years and only worked part time for our business which was started in HIS name only while we were together.

First attorney I spoke to was female, and advised me to take what I could get, since we weren't married I wouldn't get much of anything. She told me I would lose in court, and that if he offered me anything for a settlement to take it and consider myself lucky. She was adamant that I could not get 50/50 or a fair and equitable division of assets based off not being married. I left in tears.

I felt she was incorrect, as I had read my state is indeed a 50/50 state and they DO recognize a CIR.

I took a consultation with a male attorney that I picked off the internet based on his reasonable demeanor, and positive client reviews. He had been doing divorce/family law for over 37 years and was highly praised.

If you aren't comfortable with the attorney, their personality or how they present themselves, pick a new one. Nothing says you can't get several consultations, until you are confident you've made a good choice. This attorney was calm, not overly aggressive, but well versed in the law. He told me exactly what I was entitled to. He also hears cases as a temp judge in addition to his normal cases. He knew what the law would do, and how they would address it. He didn't sell me sunshine. My Ex thought my attorney was the devil himself, and absolutely hated him, and his level of knowledge, and attention to detail. Nothing slipped past him, and he gave my ex no rocks to hide under.

It boiled down to three basic questions.

1. What do you have
2. What is it worth
3. Who is going to get it.

The rest is a formula based off a tally sheet. Everything you have is allotted a "value", whether it's the house, business, cars or a pension account. Things go into your column or his column based off what you want to keep. It will need to balance out when you finish. "Fair and equitable" does NOT mean it HAS to be 50/50. If you agree it can be 60/40, 70/30, or any combination that works.

In my instance the male attorney was correct, one year later we reached settlement, after a ton of documents, subpoenas for my ex's records, and approximately $20,000-$25,000 dollars spent on my attorneys services. He was worth the money. He never lost his temper, filed paperwork and always told me where I stood, the potential problems, and when to calm down.

Our "divorce" was contentious. I ended up owning the house with no payments, he got the business. He has to pay me $225,000 for a buyout over 3.5 years. He has to pay off all debts we had. He has to pay medical, dental for our kids and myself until I'm paid in full. I have a lien on our two pieces of property that he was awarded until I'm paid in full. He pays the cell phone bills for all of us. He has to carry life insurance for the $225,000 until I'm paid off. He pays car insurance for two of our kids. I got $1000 child support until our daughter graduates in two years. I get $725 for our collage age son for the next 4 years until he gets his bachelors degree.

It pays to do your research when selecting an attorney. Don't believe any attorney that claims that you will "win" or not encounter any push back or issues. Nothing is guaranteed except you will have a bill to pay at the end. Just because you are right or honest does not mean it counts in court for a hill of beans.

Bleu posted 4/16/2019 21:05 PM

Great advice.

I also don't think the gender matters. My prior response was too vague. Each attorney I strongly considered (2 women and 1 man) told me the law and explained the gray areas.

For me, the attorneys thoughts and experience about ways to navigate the gray areas were important. The male had more empathy for my situation and has credible arguments to make my case. One female got it but was incredibly expensive, the other one did not get it and seemed inclined to settle prematurely.

I need the person who is standing before the judge/master to truly believe what they are saying so they deliver the message persuasively.

whyowhyme posted 4/16/2019 22:33 PM

Barcher I would caution you about your choice of attorney. Letting them get medical records is something I would fight hard and my attorney would never have allowed it, even though it wasn't requested.

While it's true an ex can be imputed at 40 hours, often it's minimum wage if they don't have documented recent work history. This can really screw you.

The best attorney is the one who knows the judge. Family court often doesn't actually follow the law as written, but someone who knows how the judge assigned rules is priceless. OP ask if the have been in front of the assigned judge.

Signed a person who has spent years in family court and has seen some crazy stuff.

[This message edited by whyowhyme at 10:39 PM, April 16th (Tuesday)]

Bleu posted 4/17/2019 21:25 PM

The best attorney is the one who knows the judge. They may not know the judge that will be assigned to your case but they should know the options. They should have substantial experience with that county. The credibility that comes from a rapport is invaluable.

The only time I would go against this is if they have a rivalry with the judge. It happens and that can be detrimental.

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