- Okay, so you know that there’s no turning back. You see it, you feel it; the curtains have come down on your marriage. May it rest in peace. Amen.
Peace? Hah! Now the war begins for real, so, you’d better equip yourself with some balls and a good attorney. One of the greatest things to be able to master, in divorce, is fighting for your rights affectively but remaining at absolute peace within yourself and while dealing with your ex. What happens on paper should not affect your relationship with your ex. Now that is a skill. A skill that you will benefit from greatly. Granted that’s easier said than done. When you have learned to look at your divorce as a completely separate part of your life, then you will not allow it to overwhelm you and you will not allow episodes and emotions attached to your divorce, start interfering with your new life. You see a divorce can go on for years and you must eventually establish boundaries in your life. It is important to learn when to deal with the issues, when to ignore them and when to pass them on to an attorney.
Divorce attorneys specialise in different things, like child and spousal maintenance; co-habitation agreements; Rule 43 applications; care and contact disputes; wills; trusts and relocation.
My advice to you is: If you have kids, don’t waste your time working with any other attorney – find one who knows family law inside out.
When kids are involved, the costs can tally up quickly. You need to be sure of your rights as a parent so that you’re not just guessing what to do. Trying to sort out a plan for both parents to see the kids ( particularly if both parents want to be primary carer, can cost a lot of money. In many cases, it becomes a disgusting battle that involves trying to paint the other person as a bad parent.
You won’t believe how many people I have spoken to who have recounted how their divorce has resulted in horrendous accusations being fired back and forth between the couple that just simply aren’t true. If you want to hit a parent exactly where it hurts, aim straight at their ability to parent. It’s a tale as old as time.
- So, right from the beginning, finding out your legal rights with regards to your children, is strongly advised. Don’t get caught up in silly games. Make sure that your attorney knows South African family law. It will make life a lot easier for you.
Litigators are the most feared lawyers. Their goal is to obtain the desired result for their client, whether they are in the right or the wrong. Always remember that. They are the ones who write the letters for their clients, whether they know their client is telling the truth or not!!! Your feelings or circumstances will not be taken into account. Their letters will not beat about the bush. A litigator doesn’t bother to write compassionate letters based on truth and facts. Oh no, my friend, a litigator just wants their points to come across strongly and convincingly. They need to sell their client’s side of the story with conviction.
I received letters from a few different litigators throughout my divorce, and I often found myself thinking: “Jeez, how can they be so horrible to me, a complete stranger?” Don’t forget: That is what they are being paid to do! Well that, and the fact that they are soulless! Yes, an attorney must sell his soul to the devil before he is able to graduate from law school. True story. You didn’t know this? I can imagine the conversation generally goes something along the lines of; “Ah, hello Lucifer. Yes, you are quite right, I am another graduate. How did you know? Listen, I might have something that may be of interest to you” ….” Yes, go on. I’m listening ” …..” I’ll trade you one soul for an endless supply of terrified clients (no clauses, no loopholes) Deal? “. ” Deal! Mwahahahahaha ” …. cue ‘soul extraction’ , with theatrical stage production storm audio… and its done … “Superb! Thanks Lucifer. Have a great day. See you soon. All the best. ”
Look, it would be unfair to say that all lawyers are ‘ slippery ‘. Of course they’ re not. After all someone has got to defend the innocent also. But to be realistic, I can’t imagine their tombstones will ever read, ‘Here lies the body of John Doe Esq – The honest attorney ‘.
Your attorney can be your best friend or your biggest downfall. Choosing your attorney is a task not to be taken lightly. Don’t rely on ‘google’ entirely to point you in the right direction. Google can push Law Firm names right up to the top of the ‘search list’ for the right price. Listen to word of mouth. Its generally a good indicator. Remember that a law degree does not automatically equal a good lawyer. Do your homework. Research! After all, it is only a fool would go to war in a cloak, battling men in armour.