Monday, May 16, 2016

What If Your Spouse Won't Settle?

Settlement is a voluntary process. If one person won't be reasonable and settlement fails, there is no choice but to go to court and have a judge decide the fate of your property, children and income.

If the other spouse hires a bulldog litigator who is in the case to make money, they may assume that your peacemaking divorce lawyer is desperate to settle your case. This is a mistaken assumption for naive attorneys who underestimate peacemaking lawyers!

When we are forced to deal with these greedy lawyers, we have no choice but to fight to protect your rights. Sometimes these greedy lawyers are surprised because they don't realize that a peacemaking lawyer will be a strong advocate. Again, this is mistaking reasonableness for weakness. When push comes to shove and the bulldog lawyer won't permit his or her client to settle, we will go to court in selected cases. If your case isn't one that we would choose to litigate, we will refer you to a bulldog attorney who will be happy to litigate for you.

For more information, call to schedule an initial consultation: 626-351-1200.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

How Can We Fix Our Papers Prepared by a Paralegal or Legal Zoom?

At Amicable Divorce Services, many of our clients come to us to fix their botched divorce or custody documents that they had prepared by a paralegal or Legal Zoom. You really don't want to experiment with Petitions, or Judgments (or Marital Settlement Agreements). If you're going to do them, please do them right.

Not all paralegals can fill out paperwork properly. Moreover, since they are not allowed to give you any legal advice, the wrong boxes are checked, the Petition is filed in a less efficient courthouse where your case lives out its life, and some of the protections you need are missing. We also try to help clients fix documents that they filled out themselves. As I told my dentist client, "You wouldn't want me drilling in someone's mouth, so you may not want to fill out court documents." I even have non-family-law attorneys file erroneous documents because they don't practice family law and they are really guessing at what they're doing. We don't just dabble in family law - family law is all we do here at ADS.

We are able to "fix" some of the document problems but not all of them. Some of our clients end up dismissing their case filed by a paralegal or Legal Zoom and they pay to have it re-filed properly. Yes, that can mean paying the $435 filing fee again.

By the way, it usually costs more to fix the erroneous court documents than it would have cost to do it right in the first place.

To discuss having your documents drafted right the first time, call Amicable Divorce Services for an initial consultation at 626-351-1200.

Monday, May 9, 2016

What Do We Do After Selecting Our Professional(s)?

After you've selected the process and professional(s), it's time to draft & process your petition packet and financial disclosures.

If you're going to do this yourself, make sure you do it right & file it in the most efficient courthouse. Having to change courthouses and amending your petition can be a real pain in the neck and expensive!

At Amicable Divorce Services we can help you with these tasks.  Call for more information: 626-351-1200. 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

What Happens After Selecting a Process?

Once both spouses select a process together, they then determine who will be their consulting lawyer, collaborative lawyer, mediator, divorce coach, neutral financial, etc. or what ever professional they've decided to work with.

At Amicable Divorce Services we offer a shortlist of professionals who might be a good match for each spouse.

Call ADS to schedule your free initial consultation:  626-351-1200.

Monday, May 2, 2016

What is the First Decision When Divorce is Inevitable?

Once the decision has been made that the marriage will end, the first decision should be which divorce process is best for your particular family and circumstances. Will it be court appearances and having a stranger deciding what happens to your money, property and children? Or do the two of you make decisions together through respectful compromise?

We at Amicable Dicorce Services educate you so that you both decide what process is best for you both. For this education, we offer a free initial consultation. Call 626-351-1200 to schedule your initial consultation.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Are All of Our Initial Consultations Free?

At Amicable Divorce Services, our initial consultations are free for the purposes of educating you about the divorce process and options you may select to go through the process.

However, if you are coming in for an initial consultation to learn about your specific rights and obtain legal advice about your case, the charge for those services are $300 per hour.

Call 626-351-1200 for your initial consultation.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

How Do Retainer Fees Work?

Usually, family law attorneys charge a retainer fee in advance of doing any work on a case. It's kind of like a deposit. That retainer fee is deposited into a special attorney trust account which can be monitored by the State Bar of California. In fact, all of the interest in attorney trust accounts goes to the State Bar of California. The attorney doesn't get the interest and neither do the clients. That money goes to help indigent clients who can't afford attorneys.

As the attorney works on a case, she/he can get paid for the hours worked. If there isn't enough money to cover the legal services, then the client has to replenish the retainer fee continually until the work is finished. Some clients replenish their retainer fees frequently if they have an active court case. If the case settles and has a credit balance at the end of the divorce case, then the unused portion of the retainer fee must be refunded back to the client upon request.

Call 626-351-1200 for a free initial consultation.