Are Lawyers a Must in Divorce?

“The real slavery of Israel in Egypt was that they had learned to endure it.”

Robbi Hanokh


Yes, it’s often necessary to work with lawyers, especially in our litigious society.  No one can craft phraseology to  protect and promote our interests better.   Since I’ve worked with them in a variety of ways over the past 25 years, I honestly think  many start with good intentions, a strong sense of justice, and the desire to help the needy (or greedy), oppressed, or wronged parties.  But I must say, going through my divorce,  I was as stressed working with them as I was with my ex.  A lot had to do with the money the cost me – really.  I imagine this is a primary stressor for most clients.

In my extended divorce, I sometimes I wanted to ask a single simple question, but didn’t want a .4 hour, $120 bill for it.  Should I try the paralegal, cheaper instead?  I thought, like most do.  Should I email –  do they charge the same.  I actually asked one paralegal what the most cost-effective way to communicate with her office was, but got no answer (concluding whatever that was they wouldn’t promote it).  I thought, “Maybe I’ll just go online,” and would often end up more scared and confused.

Another beef:  many seem to not simply give you direct, needed information.  This is really what you need once they understand, and it’s usually quickly cause most are pretty smart, the peculiarities of your case.  So why don’t they simply give you simple, direct advice that would save everyone a lot of pain, money and stress (well not the lawyers)?  I conclude, and I’m sure I’m not alone, that our ignorance equals cha-ching for them. $$$$$ So stupid questions, yes most of us don’t know what the hell we’re doing and are scared shi***less because we’ve never done this before, ask dumb stuff, which requires a response which adds to billable time.  I’ve seen even the most admirable lawyers do this.

Then you see those signs on the highway driving through cities that say, “Divorce, $199” and you think, I spent that before I said hello to my lawyer.


How long will I hold my distaste for lawyers?  I’m hoping God erases this part of my memory soon, because I really don’t like them or even the feelings I carry about them. (And I’m in good company with Shakespeare and others through the ages). After talking with others about their divorce lawyers for a few years now, almost all of them really hated their lawyers.  The 3 exceptions were women who’s husbands just rolled over.

Even in the past – working with Legal Aid Society – I admired those men and women a whole lot.  But like all things, over time, one can become calloused, distanced from the humanity involved – I guess in a similar way nurses can seem efficient often, but you just really wish when you’re scared and out of your element, that they’d bring you a smile and a cookie, and hold your hand for half a minute  – with no charge involved.  Of course that doesn’t happen. One of my lawyers suggested, “You don’t want to pay me to be your counselor.”  He was  right, but I still would have loved a smile and a cookie at that particularly scary time.

Sorry to all toes unfairly stepped on.  I do love America and free speech.

Best Bets:

  • Ask the law firm you hire for a flat fee divorce.
  • Go to AVVO to at least get some feel for their credibility.  Some lawyers don’t charge for brief emails – another good value that brings peace of mind.  At least make sure the law firm office staff make you feel warm and fuzzy.
  • Build your support network – find other’s who’ve been there who will hold your hand,  offer you a cookie (see for groups), and save you lots of money in attorney and counseling fees.
  • Consider the collaborative divorce approach.  Litigation creates animosity between parties – if you’re fairly sure you can get along with your spouse through the process, collaboration leaves everyone less antagonistic and with more money in their pockets.

Previously blogged:  Working With Lawyers

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He Was Really Nice

Defraging through Divorce is Painful, but in the end lots of clutter clears and things run smoother.        Me

Funny how after the dust settled with the divorce – all the settlement arguments and angst, kids’ new place set up at their dad’s, bills and deed changed over, alimony and child support regulated, car titles swapped – life settled back into almost, somewhat normal, peaceful flow.  We were tense and furious and afraid about so much.

Funny how he could be nice again. He could be generous with taking kids, and I could suddenly be generous with an unintended digression, even more so than before the divorce.  Funny how he and I became nice again – 2 and a half years later.  I guess after the hurricane, most things turn and settle, and it leaves.  The other day, when he dropped the kids, I even gave him half a cherry pie we no longer wanted – just like old times – and he gratefully accepted.


I think the kids need to see that kind of thing.  I imagine it’s healing return to who we naturally are towards each other, with new emotional and sexual boundaries.  It’s seems terribly unrealistic to just shred apart all that was, and do what my first lawyer suggested – never see or spend time together for a year.  “And then maybe something short – like put-put golf.”  (I know he meant well).

Reality is, there’s no formula – it’s just a storm to weather in our own ways, with our own coping skills.

A neighbor, who found through the grapevine that I was divorced, took over mowing our lawn when he saw my 15 year old pushing our hand mower, something I purchased to cut down on pre-divorce expensses.  He was really nice too – nothing expected.  We made him a blueberry pie.

See also “Life After Divorce: Who Will Help …”

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Don’t Tell Anyone

“Don’t ever tell anybody anything.  If you do, you start missing everybody.  J.D. Salinger

It suddenly dawns on me., as I start to date again,  this must be an unwritten code of conduct 96% of single men follow. Sometimes they are so quiet – I don’t know what to make of it.  So I talk and share and ask about travel and books.  They always answer.  The date is over, and I wonder if they enjoyed being together.

Don’t get me wrong, I havn’t dated a lot.  But the few guys, I have. I wonder why they don’t like to talk as much, and try not to take it personally.  Perhaps it’s genetics.  Anyway, guess it is what it is..


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Sorry, been away.

Sorry I’ve been away since the Holidays.  Don’t know why this strange phenomena happens each year, where I think January will be free of commitments and offer a time to catch up, and it’s often when I neglect things and get behind.

Sorry, I’ve been away awhile.  Just bringing you up to speed: I filed for divorce in 2013 and the divorce was finalized the fall of 2015. It was a long divorce process, not because we couldn’t move on, though my ex did not want the divorce, but because we struggled working with lawyers who were either slow to respond or inept at dealing with a complicated settlement and my ex’s detailed provisions (he’s a lawyer).  The 4th lawyer, though expensive, worked through the detailed drafts, was clear and fairly responsive – though none of them, I felt, was truly a wholehearted advocate.  I imagine, I hear many say, many are tired, overworked and sick of a thankless job – though they still took my checks.

Anyway, just trying to survive taxes now. It was tough to figure stuff out this first year, where we went from financial joint life to single life – my paying portions of medical jointly and separately.  I found a new accountant.  He seems okay, but isn’t too engaged, and scowled when he heard my ex is an attorney.  But I think we’ve got it together – just hoping as always – there is no audit. ( Not that anythings misrepresented purposely, but what a pain).

So how are you? Where are you?  Wish sometimes we could talk.

I’m dating a little now – not much time with full time work and teens at home.  I met a guy from an online dating site.  We had coffee – he seems nice. There was a connection, but it’s a vague start.   He works lots  – and has teens.  So I’m lucky if we talk once a week.   And when we met neither of us knew what to say. – how much to share – how surface like to keep it.  My friend said keep it light – don’t tell him your problems. So I didn’t, and now we have a second date.  I’ll wait 2 weeks for that.

How I wish I could jump from, “Where did you go to school?”  ” Do you like to travel?” “What’s your favorite book?” to “Hold me while I cry” or “What can I make for you?” or “Why isn’t the trash out?”.  To laughing together private jokes about your kids innocence and  ignorance, silently, privately of course, while helping them along in a day of ordinary stuff, where you find the extraordinary in simple events of being together.

Have a good one.



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So important to put the kids first despite your trama in divorce  – they need their grandparents, just like they need your ex. Research repeats they need extended family, even if dysfunctional. Try to put your feelings aside, for their sake, unless there’s abuse.

Reblogged on


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The Curse Of Intelligence

Good advice as I try to look forward – how to date – and how not to.

Source: The Curse Of Intelligence

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How Do I Move On?

Got in a car accident several weeks ago.  A guy ran me off the road, forced me up a curb, which caused damage to my car.  He spoke no English, and I hesitated calling the police when I initially saw no damage to my car.  I took his license info and left.  At home I found damage – that slight stuff to the frame that’s barely noticeable, but can cause thousands of dollars to repair.

So I called my insurance agent, who rightfully scolded me for not calling the police.  When I filed a report police report after the fact, but the guy lied responded to his insurance company and said I ran him off the road.  No witnesses (except his other people in his car who didn’t speak any English either).  So I’m out the money I should have – I have to pay my deductible because it is considered a “No-fault”

I’m having trouble letting it go – just like I did with a lot in the marriage.  I wish there was some magical way to do that.  Perhaps its prayer, perhaps in time.  My agent says I should be thankful I didn’t get hurt.  But a desire for justice keeps surfacing -the anger remains – how do I deal with that?.

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