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5 Things To Ask Before Hiring A Personal Or Business Lawyer

The attorney you hire for your personal or business-related concerns can make all the difference in how your rights are protected and your concerns are addressed. If you are in need of an attorney’s services, it is understandable that you may feel anxious or overwhelmed about your options.

You don’t have to cross your fingers and hope for the best when you hire an attorney. Consider asking these five questions that you can ask during a legal consultation to learn more about our firm, its billing practices and the type of relationships its attorneys build with our clients.

  1. How do you bill your clients?

It is natural to feel squeamish when talking about money. However, having this conversation now can help you avoid sticker shock in the future. Many attorneys charge a flat fee for a service and others charge by the hour. Budget-minded clients prefer paying a flat fee because they know what they will owe for legal services before they retain the attorney. Clients who retain attorneys at an hourly rate can be caught unaware by fees charged for emails or short phone calls with their attorneys.

If you are given the runaround when you inquire about an attorney’s billing structure, consider taking your business elsewhere.

  1. How responsive are you to client emails and phone calls?

Make no mistake: Successful attorneys are busy attorneys. However, it is reasonable to expect that your attorney will respond to your questions in a timely fashion.

Solo attorneys who do not retain support staff may struggle to stay on top of client communication while handling other tasks. If you are concerned that your attorney will not prioritize your legal problems, inquire about the firm’s support staff and the responsibilities assigned to each legal professional. You can also call the firm and see how long it takes to receive a reply.

Providing high-quality customer service is a balancing act for attorneys. It is unrealistic to expect attorneys to drop everything they are doing to answer questions. However, not responding to messages for weeks is unacceptable. A seasoned attorney is able to strike this balance by leveraging support staff and scheduling appointments to provide in-depth answers to important questions.

  1. Do you proactively communicate with clients? And, if so, how often?

In the past, attorneys relied on clients to contact them first about their legal situations or concerns. Unfortunately, some attorneys still do.

At the Law Offices of Gerald L. Kane, our team communicates proactively via newsletters and email because we want our clients to know that their concerns matter. You can contact our office to learn more about recent newsletters we have sent out to clients and other forms of communication we utilize.

  1. Will you provide advice about general legal matters or only legal issues related to your practice area?

In California, estate planning laws, the probate process and business-related legal matters are notoriously complex affairs. When your legacy or your business interests are on the line, it is better to depend on an attorney who focuses on these specific practice areas rather than a general practice attorney.

Attorney Gerry Kane is a certified specialist in estate planning, trust and probate law. Additionally, he has a real estate and financial background, which allows him to represent business owners in the area. As a certified specialist and business law attorney, he provides cutting-edge advice to clients in these fields.

At the Law Offices of Gerald L. Kane, we have established professional relationships with area attorneys who do practice in other fields. As a result, we can refer an attorney with confidence when our clients need assistance with a family law issue or other pressing matter.

We have the resources necessary to assist clients with a range of matters or help them find an attorney who is qualified to address their concerns.  

  1. Do you have a plan for transitioning your clients when you retire or pass away?

When a firm closes, clients can be left in limbo, uncertain of the status of their cases or their next steps. Responsible lawyers make plans for this eventuality and are able to share these plans upon request. If you are consulting with an attorney, it is not rude or forward to ask this question. You deserve to know how you can access your legal documents and your files in the future so that you do not lose the work completed on your behalf.

Considering A Consultation With Our Firm?

Feel free to ask these questions and others that you have when you speak with attorneys at GCH Law firm. You can reach the GCH Law firm when you complete our online form.

5 Things a Family Lawyer Can Do For You

Family Law Attorney

Family lawyers are legal professionals that specialize in matters to do with family law. They handle legal issues that are concerned with members of the family. Such legal issues include divorce, child custody, and guardianship among others. Family lawyers can act as mediators when family disagreements develop. They can also represent litigants in family conflicts that end up courts. Below are some of the things that family lawyers can do.

1. Handling Divorce Issues

Undergoing a divorce is probably one of the most draining experiences that a family can face. Emotions may set in and make it impossible for a couple to settle it calmly. In such a case, a family law attorney can act as a mediator, and assist them to approach the issue rationally and within the law. In other words, a competent family law attorney can assist couples in the process of divorcing to settle the matter fairly without necessarily going to court. Consult GCH Law Firm to refer you to a knowledgeable family lawyer.

2. Handling Estates and Wills

A will is a legal document through which people state how they would wish their property to be managed when they die. Family law attorneys are responsible for assisting people in drafting these documents. They also have what it takes to ensure that an estate is administered as stated by a deceased via the will.

3. Handling Child Custody Agreements

When a couple separates, one of the most difficult issues to handle has to be what happens to the children. Couples need to agree on how to take care of the children they have had together in the new arrangement. Child custody is defined by an agreement in which both parents have to live with the terms therein. A competent family lawyer can help parents that are parting ways to draft such an agreement. A family law attorney can also help parents in amending child custody agreements if need be.

4. Handling Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement is a contract signed by a couple prior to a marriage or a civil union. Although the content of such a contract may vary from one case to another, its main aim is to spell out the provisions of spousal support and division of the property in the event of a breakup or a divorce. A family lawyer can assist a couple in drafting a prenuptial agreement and handling any matters that may arise from the contract according to the law.

5. Represent Litigants in Court

Although family attorneys can help people to settle family disputes outside court, some of these matters still end up in the courts. In such a case, family lawyers are best suited to help litigants get justice. These attorneys handle such cases almost every other day, and therefore, they have the necessary legal knowledge and practical experience to help litigants to navigate the complex jungles of the family law and ensure that justice is served accordingly.

The Takeaway

Overall, it is apparent that the importance of family law attorneys cannot be overemphasized. They help members of families to rationally handle family disputes that would otherwise be crowded by emotions. These lawyers have knowledge and experience to help people settle issues relating to divorce, child custody, prenuptial agreement and estate administration among other legal issues affecting families. Thus, if you are having a family legal matter that needs a rational approach, contact GCH Law Firm for a qualified family law attorney.


Family law attorneys help families and individuals to navigate the legal landscape. They advise and represent clients about family-related matters such as divorce, adoption, custody, child support, and other issues.

5 Benefits of Hiring a Family Lawyer - SMALL BUSINESS CEO

A family law attorney is a good option for those who might not know where to turn or who they should consult. If you or someone you care about has been involved in a divorce or other family law dispute, it is time to hire a family lawyer.

How Do You Find a Good Family Lawyer?

How do you find a good family law lawyer? This is a difficult question for people to answer because each person has different expectations of what makes a good lawyer. One of the best ways of finding out if the lawyer is right for your case is by asking them questions about their background.

People are more likely to hire lawyers with experience in family law cases. Law firms that specialize in family law are also more likely to hire new lawyers, mainly because it gives them an advantage on projects they might be working on.

The best way to find a good family law attorney is by asking friends or co-workers for their recommendations or seeking help from online forums like

5 Benefits of Hiring a Family Lawyer

There are benefits to hiring a family lawyer, and it is ultimately what helps make the decision easier. The key benefits of hiring an experienced family law attorney include:

1. Knowledge of Family Law

Family law is an area of law that has a large part of its scope in family relations. It includes adoption, divorce, child custody, alimony, etc. Family lawyers are experts in family law and help people with various legal issues.

Family lawyers can give their clients peace of mind with their knowledge of the law and the different avenues to get the best possible outcome for their case. When a client hires a family lawyer, they can make the process of winning their case as easy as possible. Family lawyers have been trained to use the law to its full potential, knowing which legal avenues are best for clients.

2. Take off your load

One of the biggest benefits is that it completely takes the load off your chest. It allows you to focus on what matters most – you’re family. You no longer have to worry about different things like managing your time or not getting distracted by other legal matters related to your case or situation anymore. All this is done for you by a qualified legal professional without any hassles whatsoever.

3. Helps You Avoid Legal Headaches

Legal problems can happen to anyone. It is best to be prepared and not to panic when you need legal help. A family law lawyer can help you avoid such headaches.

A family law lawyer will help you with financial issues, complex divorce proceedings, and property ownership. They will also work with any mediator or court official if necessary.

As a result of the increasing cases of divorces and separation, a family law lawyer will most likely have a lot of experience in working with these cases. That is why they are a reliable resource when it comes to dealing with legal matters.

4. Get you a more favorable outcome.

A family lawyer is a person with a law degree who provides legal services to individuals and families. These lawyers often draw from a wide range of experiences and professions, including social work, psychology, sociology, and law enforcement.

The benefits of hiring a family lawyer include having someone on your side who can help you navigate your legal troubles more easily – someone you trust who will listen to all the different viewpoints and put aside their own personal opinion until all the facts are in. You can rest assured knowing that they have an experience that will help them understand what you’re going through and the laws involved in this situation.

5. Protecting your privacy

When you have a family law issue, you may not want to involve the media or go through excess stress with friends and family members. The most important thing is to hire a lawyer who will know how to protect your privacy. It is essential that you can maintain the confidentiality of your personal information, assets, and even children.

6 Important Reasons Why You Should Hire A Good Family Lawyer

If you are having any type of legal problem there is probably a lawyer who specializes in dealing with and solving your legal case. The field of law is vast and complicated and this is why there are so many types of solicitors. Some of the most common types of law practitioners include family lawyers, criminal lawyers, corporate lawyers, general practice lawyers, and to name a few. There are many reasons why you would need a lawyer, but when it comes to dealing with family and family disputes you should opt for a family lawyer. Having a family lawyer is important because most of us will have to deal with a family law matter at least once in our lives. A family lawyer is a professional who handles cases related to family matters such as divorces, child guardianships and support, child visitations, inheritance settlements, and so on.

Here are some of the important reasons why you should go ahead and hire a good family lawyer.

1.      Understanding family law

The first and the most obvious reason why it’s a good idea to have a family solicitor is that they know and understand the law better than we ever could. A good and reliable lawyer will know how to help you out in a difficult legal situation, how to find a loophole, and successfully solve your case. A family solicitor will also know your rights and exactly how to convince a judge or deal with difficult demands. You should never risk and take matters in your own hands. Do the right thing and hire a good family solicitor and you’re already one step closer to winning a case. To take full advantage of your rights, make sure you reach out to GCH Law Firm, a team that you can rely on for prompt and accurate solutions.

2.      A fair and impartial view of family problems

Dealing with family issues can be too emotional, to say the least. This is another reason why having a family lawyer is a good idea. A lawyer will have an impartial view of your family situation. Only someone who is not emotionally involved in the case will be able to see all the details and provide a fair judgment. They will also be able to tell you if you are making a mistake or if you’re rushing and making irrational decisions. By giving you good advice, your family advocate can save you many unnecessary disputes, lawsuits, or legal actions. Consulting with your family lawyer before you take any legal action is very important. So, before you take any steps make sure you contact your lawyer.

3.      Having support

Family-related cases are highly emotional, especially when concerning children so it’s no wonder that these types of cases can negatively impact everyone concerned. In these instances, it’s useful having the helpful hand of your lawyer. Solicitors are trained not only to deal with the law but with their clients as well. They are there to provide you with both moral and emotional support in such difficult times of your life. So, if for nothing else hiring someone who will offer you support is still important.

4.      Handling a divorce

Divorce can be one of the most difficult and gut-wrenching moments in a person’s life. As such this process can be made somewhat easier by hiring reliable divorce solicitors for a consultation. Every divorce no matter how expected or unexpected can have a huge impact on everyone concerned. Because of this, consulting with an experienced professional who can offer you both knowledge and empathy in your current situation is highly important. Choose divorce solicitors with whom you can have a good working relationship.

5.      Saving time and money

Legal fees and going to court costs a lot of money and takes a lot of time. You can save yourself both time and money by hiring a family lawyer. A family solicitor knows exactly how to avoid going to court or how to easily and fairly solve minor family disputes that would otherwise take a lot of time. So, don’t think that not consulting a lawyer will save you money. Quite the contrary, by not hiring a lawyer you risk losing huge amounts of money, and time. So, don’t gamble with your budget and time, hire a family solicitor before you make any rash decision.

6.      Preparation for future

We never know what the future holds, but we can still be prepared for it. Having a trustworthy family lawyer can come in handy for whatever future throws your way. From pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements to wills or any other legal services, a family solicitor can have all these documents ready whenever you need them. A family solicitor will always have your best interest in mind and will also make sure that your future and the future of your children are safe and sound. As you can see, hiring a family lawyer can only benefit you and your family. You never know when you may end up in a situation where you need someone to consult with, to help you out of any legal situation, or just to offer their impartial advice.

3 Tips To Hiring The Right Family Law Attorney

As you and your family are living in this unfair world, you might run into trials and tribulations of legal battles if you are unfortunate enough. We do sincerely hope it doesn’t happen to you, but if it does, you must be prepared for a real headache that might turn your world upside down.

Legalities like divorce, custody, support and other family-law-related legal cases demand the need of a lawyer and a good one at that. Choosing the right family law attorney will save you from more headaches and potential insanity episodes. Choosing the right one is very important. One must keep in mind that the matters being dealt with involve the most significant assets in your life such as your own family, properties, even your physical and financial security.

Unfortunately, family law is a rare gem. The legal procedures are of no problem to any lawyer, sure, but keep in mind that in family law, a lot of emotions and attachments are involved in the critical phases in a family’s life. It’s no longer just a plain by-the-book kind of lawyering but has to factor in the emotions of humankind. This is the reason why very few lawyers want to tackle the arduous journey of family law.

For someone choosing the right family law attorney, you have to do your homework. You need to painstakingly think of the lawyer you are going to hire for your case. You need to be with a lawyer who can make you comfortable in making your most difficult decisions. Failing in this area of choosing the right lawyer can turn your life into a sinking ship quickly.

Think of the emotional frustration and sleepless nights if you made the wrong choice. We don’t mean to scare you; it’s just that the simple fact of choosing the right lawyer is intended to be taken with dead seriousness. For your sake, we offer you three tips to hiring the right family law attorney:

1. Look at credentials and track records

Talk with people you know and ask about the specific lawyer in mind. Take note of their commentary and trust their referrals. Gather as many references and information as you can about the said lawyer.

It would be best to look for someone dear to your heart who has undergone (or is currently undergoing) the same battles you are facing right now. Listen carefully to advise and do not underestimate their experiences.

Look at the credentials of the lawyer. The school he or she graduated from, his or her lawyering experiences, the cases he or she has won or lost, and the reasons why. There are a lot of things to factor in, so you must do your homework.

Look also for the satisfaction ratings of his or her clients. One way or another, you must find out more about the lawyer’s personality as well. Check to see whether there is a personality difference that would do you more harm than good.

2 Find someone who sees the most beneficial options

In family law, there is no winner or loser. Be wary of lawyers who talk about “winning” because remember; the other party is someone close to you as well (your wife, your children, etc.). You wouldn’t want the law case to sever relationships. Find someone who can think of the options that would bring out the good things to both parties.

3. Use the power of the internet

There are a number of good family law attorneys in your area and with the help of the internet, you can easily find the right one for your needs. A good example is, but there are many other options out there. You will find out more about family law in an interesting way, and maybe you can be enlightened with your decisions.

What is Family Law?

Family law is a legal practice area that focuses on issues involving family relationships such as marriage, adoption, divorce, and child custody, among others. Attorneys practicing family law can represent clients in family court proceedings or in related negotiations. They can also draft important legal documents such as court petitions or property agreements.

Some family law attorneys even specialize in adoption, paternity, emancipation, or other matters not usually related to divorce. The matter of family encompasses so many life aspects. Lawyers in the field, therefore, help all kinds of people facing all kinds of sensitive issues that many people wouldn’t immediately assume go under the family law umbrella.

The following is a primer on family law and what it entails.

Helpful Terms to Know

  • Emancipation: A court process through which a minor becomes self-supporting, assumes adult responsibility for their personal welfare, and is no longer under the care of their parents.
  • Marital Property: Property acquired by either spouse during the course of a marriage that is subject to division upon divorce.
  • Alimony: An allowance made to one spouse by the other for support during or after a legal separation or divorce.
  • Paternity: Origin or descent from a father (to establish paternity is to confirm the identity of a child’s biological father).
  • Prenuptial Agreement: An agreement made between a man and a woman before marrying in which they give up future rights to each other’s property in the event of a divorce or death.

Reasons to Hire a Family Law Attorney

Most family lawyers represent clients in divorce proceedings and other matters related to divorce. But family law is a relatively broad practice area, including such issues as foster care and reproductive rights. Since family law matters hit so close to home, having a trusted legal professional by your side can help you ensure your loved ones are properly represented and protected during any legal process.

The most common reasons to hire a family law attorney include:

  • Divorce: Each partner hires their own attorney, who will help devise a settlement plan in order to avoid a trial. Divorce attorneys typically are skilled at dividing marital property, calculating spousal support, and proposing a plan for child custody, visitation, and support (if applicable).
  • Child Custody / Child Support: Court orders and settlement agreements involving both custody and support usually are included in the larger divorce case, but may be revisited as conditions change. For instance, child support may be altered after the non-custodial parent’s financial situation changes.
  • Paternity: In most cases, paternity cases are filed by the mother in an effort to secure child support payments from an absent father. But sometimes biological fathers file for paternity in order to have a relationship with their child. Paternity typically is determined through DNA testing.
  • Adoption / Foster Care: Adoption is a complex process that differs according to the type of adoption, where the child is from, variances in state laws, and other factors. Therefore, it’s important to consult with a family law attorney. Foster parents sometimes adopt their foster children, but the foster process does not necessarily require legal representation.

Family law often intersects with a wide range of other legal practice areas. For example, instances of domestic violence and child abuse typically involve criminal investigations (and may result in arrests and charges). Along with that process, family courts are tasked with determining how to best protect the victims and ensure a relatively safe environment for those involved. Other related legal practice areas include the following:

Marriage and Divorce Laws Vary by State

States have the right to determine “reasonable formal requirements” for marriage, including age and legal capacity, as well as the rules and procedures for divorce and other family law matters.

The timeframe of the divorce process, for example, depends on location. Some states have divorce laws that require a waiting period. Same-sex marriage has historically been a state matter. Prior to the Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, some states restricted marriage (and divorce) to opposite-sex couples only.

Need Help With a Family Law Matter? Talk to a Professional

Whether you’re in the process of a divorce, need help with an adoption, or have questions about enforcing a child support order, it’s often in your best interests to work with an attorney. Get the help you need by contacting an experienced family law attorney near you.

7 Reasons to Hire a Criminal Defense Attorney


One of the first questions posed to individuals facing criminal charges is whether or not they should hire a criminal defense attorney. The obvious downside is the potential costs and fees associated with hiring a lawyer. However, in many cases, the monetary fees of a criminal defense attorney are minimal compared to the life-altering costs that can result from not having the best possible defense. Below are 7 different reasons why hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is important.

1. They Understand the Judicial System

The first and often most important reason to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney is that they understand how the judicial system works. The legal system can be confusing, even for people who work in it every day, but an experienced defense lawyer knows the intricate workings of the court systems and can help guide you through the process based on your individual case. In fact, the attorneys at Berry Law help demystify the process by providing a free step-by-step guide of the court proceedings for any individual criminal case during your first in-person consultation.

2. They Have Built Relationships with Prosecutors

After working in the legal field for long periods of time, defense attorneys begin to develop relationships with their counterparts—prosecuting attorneys. While it may seem odd to develop a positive relationship with an adversary, both parties understand that everyone has a better experience when people are familiar with each other. Having an attorney who has developed a good relationship with your prosecuting attorney can prove vital in the outcome of your case. Their relationship may allow them to negotiate a better plea deal or negotiate an affordable bond. The attorneys at Berry Law have represented clients in nearly every county in Nebraska. We know most of the prosecutors in these counties, especially those in the cities of Omaha, Lincoln, York, Grand Island, Kearney, Lexington, North Platte, and Ogallala. We can use our experience to help negotiate the best outcome for you in your case.

3. They Have Dealt with Cases Similar to Yours Before

Not all attorneys are built the same. While all attorneys passed law school and the state bar to practice in the jurisdiction, different attorneys have different specialties. An experienced criminal defense attorney has dealt specifically with cases relating to criminal charges. They have experience in handling cases that may be nearly identical to yours. At Berry Law, our team of criminal lawyers has all been practicing criminal defense for most of their careers. They know what they need to do to provide our clients with the best outcome for their respective cases.

4. They Can Protect Your Future

An experienced criminal defense attorney can fight for you and your future. A good attorney may be able to get your charges reduced, your penalties lessened, or even get your case dismissed due to police errors while illegally obtaining evidence against you. By reducing your charges, they can keep a felony off your criminal record and keep you from jeopardizing your career. By reducing your possible penalties, they can keep you from jail and help you avoid losing your job. By getting your case dismissed they can save you from any negative impact that a criminal conviction could have had on your life.

5. They Can Save You Money

It’s counterintuitive to think a more expensive lawyer will save you money, but history has shown that spending the additional money for an experienced criminal defense lawyer is almost always worth it. They can help you receive the best possible sentencing for your case, which could help you keep your job or keep you from losing your professional license. How many months of income would you lose if you lost your job tomorrow? How many years of viable earning potential would be destroyed if you are stripped of a professional license? Even without being fired, missing work for jail or extended court may cause a financial strain that could be avoided.

6. They Can Assess Law Enforcements Conduct

No amount of observation through TV, media, or Facebook, can help the average person really understand the actual legal limits of what law enforcement can do when obtaining evidence in a criminal case. Good criminal defense lawyers spend years learning the nuances of proper procedure and identifying the blind spots and loopholes. They know what police officers are allowed to do when investigating a client, and can look at every possible means by which the officers may have infringed upon the rights of the accused. If the evidence gathering was improper, the lawyer can get the evidence thrown out of your case and this can often lead to dismissals. The attorneys at Berry Law examine every aspect of the case to determine whether law enforcement acted within their limitations. Our attorneys have experience getting evidence suppressed and ultimately case dismissed due to the illegal conduct of law enforcement. View our case results page to see some of the results we have received for our clients.

7. They Can Advise You on the Possible Outcomes

Some criminal attorneys will paint a bright picture of how they can help you in your case. They will assure you that nothing negative will happen once you go to court. Then suddenly you are convicted of a felony and face 5 years in jail. The attorney assured you it wouldn’t happen, but it did because you simply trusted the system would work itself out and your innocence would be proven. At Berry Law, we know the possible penalties you will face. We can advise you on what can truly happen if you are convicted and can advise you on the steps you should take in your specific case. Our attorneys will let you know when it is in your best interest to take a plea deal from prosecutors or when you should battle the criminal charges in court. We understand how most judges in Nebraska tend to punish individuals for certain crimes and know the possibilities of getting your case dismissed.

The Different Types of Divorce

People often think of the divorce process as “one size fits all”. However, there are a number of different types of divorce processes.  The method that a couple chooses is typically influenced by how well they can reach agreement in the dissolution of their marriage.  Alimony, child support, custody, co-parenting and community property are the main issues that need to be negotiated and resolved.

What types of divorce are there?

Types of Divorce, Option #1: Uncontested Divorce

Benefits: Affordable, fast, amicable, does not require a divorce lawyer.

Negatives: Does not work if both parties cannot reach agreement on their own.

In an uncontested divorce, a couple is able to amicably negotiate the material terms of the divorce and do not need the court to divide assets or make determinations for them about spousal or child support or custody. This type of divorce is an example of collaborative law, wherein divorcing couples negotiate the terms of their marital settlement agreement without the threat of court litigation.

Sometimes referred to as a “friendly divorce”, uncontested divorce is an attractive option for a number of reason, such as time, cost, control and privacy. Online uncontested divorce is a good option for couples who can work together and agree on the terms of their marital settlement.

Uncontested divorce is far less expensive than a traditional litigated divorce and does not require attorneys or court appearances. With the exception of summary dissolution of marriage, this is the cheapest way to get divorced.

Pro Tip: The Ten Steps in Uncontested Divorce


Types of Divorce, Option #2: Contested Divorce

Benefits: Allows a judge to negotiate the marital settlement agreement, suited for divorcing couples that cannot agree on child custody, support and community property.

Negatives: Expensive, time consuming, stressful, often becomes contentious when a divorce lawyer and judge are involved.

In a contested divorce, one or both spouses disagree about important terms of the divorce, including the division of community property, alimony and child support payments, custody or co-parenting. Contested divorce requires that both spouses be represented by divorce attorneys in mediation, and is typically much more expensive than uncontested divorce.

Contested divorce in the United States costs an average of $15,000, and can greatly exceed this amount if the proceedings become contentious.

Pro Tip: How much does divorce cost?

Types of Divorce, Option #3: At-Fault Divorce

Benefits: Allows couples to explain their grievances in court and publicly justify their grounds for divorce.

Negatives: Not available in most US states, requires the spouse who has committed a perceived “wrong doing” to contribute more financially.

Fault divorces involve one or both spouses seeking to get divorced because of a perceived wrong doing in the marriage. Depending on the state you live in and the specific circumstances surrounding your separation, a judge may find one party at fault or neither of the parties at fault in the situation. Knowing the difference between the two is important before seeking an online divorce.

Fault divorces are rarely utilized, with most states no longer recognizing their validity.

In the states that do recognize them, such as New York, a spouse can request that a divorce be granted based on an offense that they feel the other spouse has committed. One spouse files for divorce for based on an identifiable “fault” of the other person.

If one spouse is successfully able to prove the fault of the other, this can prompt the judge to allocate a larger portion of the community property and/or alimony or child support payments to the spouse that did not commit the fault.

What qualifies as a fault? Some of the most common reasons include:

  • Adultery: the person looking to apply fault must supply documented evidence of adulterous activity, which many include videotapes, phone calls and text messages.
  • Spousal abandonment for a particular length of time: this means one of the spouses has left the home where they reside with no intention of returning. If they left without the consent of the filing party and remained absent continuously, this would be considered abandonment of the marriage.
  • Prison Time.
  • Mental Illness.
  • Absence of sexual intercourse in the relationship.
  • Emotional or physical pain that was inflicted by the other spouse: this applies to cases of domestic violence or abuse inflicted by the other person.

For the states that have fault divorce as part of their legal system, this type of divorce does not require the two parties to live apart for any length of time. If the case is successful and the other party is found at fault, the person held without fault is sometimes rewarded a larger percentage of marital property (possessions acquired while the two people were married) and/or additional financial support, which is appealing to some people.

The downside to filing for a fault divorce is that the other party can object to the fault claims. These defenses can drag out the mediation further. Another downside to a fault divorce is how costly it is and how much time it requires. Divorce proceedings like these can go on for months, even years, costing both parties a lot of money in legal advice, fees and other expenses.

Pro Tip: How long does divorce take?


Types of Divorce, Option #4: No Fault Divorce

Benefits: Allows a spouse to file for divorce even if their partner is not in agreement, does not require a divorce lawyer, does not require a spouse to prove the fault of their partner as grounds for divorce, retains privacy in a relationship because grievances are not explained in court.

Negatives: Spouses cannot be financially penalized if they have committed some wrongdoing in the marriage, such as extramarital affairs or abuse.

The introduction of no fault divorces in the 70s and 80s caused seismic changes in the world of family law. This edict allows a court to grant divorce without the petitioner or plaintiff (person filing for divorce) needing to prove the fault of the respondent or defendant (person responding to the divorce).  A “fault” or wrongdoing could be considered having an extra-marital affair, inflicting emotional abuse or secretly incurring debt that the other spouse did not agree to.

California was the first US state to allow no fault divorces in 1969. [wikipedia] Prior to no-fault divorces, the petitioner had to go to great lengths to prove wrong doing on the part of their spouse.  In cases where the fault could not be clearly proven, the divorce proceedings could be stopped by the court. This was especially problematic in cases of emotional or physical abuse by one spouse.

Stephanie Coontz, a professor of history at Evergreen State College, states that “once you permit the courts to determine when a person’s desire to leave is legitimate, you open the way to arbitrary decisions about what is or should be tolerable in a relationship, made by people who have no stake in the actual lives being lived.”

The most common reasons for no fault divorce are “irreconcilable differences” or “irreparable breakdown of the marriage.” Essentially, these are complicated ways of saying the two people do not get along anymore and no longer wish to be married or in a relationship with each other. One or both of them believe the problems they have are beyond repair and cannot peacefully coexist and live with one another any longer.

The benefits of no fault divorce include:

  • Spouses cannot be financially penalized for extramarital affairs or sexual activities. Therefore, if your spouse cheats on you, you could still be legally required to pay spousal support to your partner and give them half of your assets, depending on your situation.
  • One spouse cannot object to the filing, as the court will see that opposition itself as an irreconcilable difference. In the years proceeding no-fault divorces, a spouse could block a divorce if they raised an objection that the court agreed with.
  • This type of divorce avoids the costly blame-game type mediation that would occur if a fault divorce was sought instead.
  • Prevents divorcing couples from having to go into great detail about private details of their marriage

All states in the US recognize no fault divorces, and some states require that the couple live apart for a specified period of time before one of the spouses can formally file for a divorce. These living apart rules are in place because it’s thought that if a couple spends some time living apart, there’s a chance they could work it out and reconcile. Always be sure to check with the laws of your state before you decide to file for a divorce without a divorce attorney. The more knowledge you have about the process, the better off you will be in the long run. 

On the other hand, no fault divorces do not allow people to share circumstances and facts that led to the breakdown of the marriage, and this can be an important psychological process for some people. If it’s important for you to feel as though your voice has been heard and validated by a third party, you might opt for a no-fault divorce while sharing your story with a family therapist or counselor that specializes in divorce.

Types of Divorce, Option #5: Limited Divorce

Benefits: Ideal for spouses that need time to organize matters such as community property and child custody.

Negatives: Not considered a legal divorce, therefore spouses cannot remarry and all financial and custody claims are unresolved.

This type of divorce is not as common, and is not available in every US state. It is comparable to a legal separation and is ordered by the court when a couple needs extra time to resolve their financial and legal issues.

Limited divorce it is not a final decree of divorce.

Limited divorce is a legal action monitored by the court. Therefore, spouses cannot remarry while issues such as community property and custody are still pending and until the court issues the final divorce. Spouses can negotiate their marital agreement during a limited divorce, until the court determines they have negotiated a deal that qualifies for the full, absolute divorce decree.

The following legal mandates apply to a limited divorce:

  • Spouse cannot remarry while the limited divorce order is in place.
  • Community property claims and negotiations are still pending.
  • Decisions regarding child custody, support payments and community property are temporary until the final divorce decree is issue by the court.
  • If the court rejects a limited divorce case, the spouses would revert to being legally married.
  • The court determines which spouse is at fault, if applicable.


Types of Divorce, Option #6: Summary Dissolution

Benefits: Inexpensive, fast.

Negatives: Only available to couples with no children and limited assets, and debts.

Summary Dissolution is an easier way to end a marriage than regular divorce and is a form of collaborative law. Similar to uncontested divorce, this type of dissolution requires a couple to work together, and possibly with a team of professionals if required, to legally terminate their marriage while avoiding court mandated mediation. The process requires less paperwork and can usually be done in less time than traditional divorce. This type of dissolution is best for couples who do not have children, are not pregnant during the time of separation, and do not have significant debt or community property. Similar to uncontested divorce cases, summary dissolution, or simple divorces, can also be done without representation of a family law attorney.

Other requirements that must be fulfilled to qualify for a summary dissolution include:

  • Neither spouse has interest in or owns real estate.
  • Neither spouse has accumulated more than a specified amount of debt since the date of marriage – requirements can vary state by state. For example, in California the limit is $5,000 and in Oregon it is $15,000. (Vehicle loans are excluded)
  • Neither spouse has accumulated more than $25,000 – $35,000 in assets since the date of marriage – the exact amount is determined by the filing state. (Cars are excluded)
  • Both parties will never request spousal support or child support.
  • Both parties agree to execute a Joint Petition and pay the court filing fees, if required by their county.
  • Both parties must sign an agreement to split community property before the Joint Petition is signed.
  • One or both spouse must fulfill the residency requirements in their state. Requirements will vary from state to state.  For example, in California at least one spouse must live in a the state for a minimum of 6 months, and 
  • Neither party is requesting a temporary court order, such as a restraining or protective order.

5 tips on being successful at family law

We recently caught up with Optimal Solicitors to discover how to be successful at Family Law. This is what they said:

“There’s a quote attributed to none other than the Dalai Lama that goes: “The best way to resolve any problem in the human world is for all sides to sit down and talk”.

If you’re in the business of family law, it might be worth having this in mind. The issues families or their individual members might approach you with will be unique and usually extremely private and sensitive matters. To be successful at family law means not only knowing the business but also being sensitive and empathetic, keeping in mind that you are dealing with flesh-and-blood human beings.

Here are our top five tips on being successful at family law, both from a personal and professional standpoint.

Be empathetic

To achieve the highest levels of success in family law, your practise should be client-focused, which means knowing what your clients need, delivering great service, providing them with value, and, of course, delivering the results you promised (at the very least).

Just like sitting down and talking is a great way to resolve problems, it’s also the best way to get to know your client. Make time for face-to-face conversations, be mindful of how long it takes you to reply to phone calls and emails, in short – be available. Be courteous in conversation, use language they can understand, and try to remember you’re dealing with human beings after all.

Show your clients they can trust you and rely on you

If you’ve shown your clients some empathy, you’re already halfway there to gaining their trust. If you’ve responded to their inquiries correctly and in a timely manner, you’re showing them that they can rely on you. Be there to guide them from start to finish and you’ll have an extremely satisfied customer, even though the situation might seem rather dismal.

However, you also need to demonstrate you have the required knowledge and skills to handle their case. Also, you need to show you can use that knowledge to help them achieve their goal and that you’re doing everything in their best interest.

There are as many problems and specific cases as there are families. You should be ready to handle any case that comes your way, be it divorce, annulment, judicial separation, children-related matters, financial settlements, domestic abuse cases, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, and so on.

It can prove difficult to find a legal firm that is experienced in all of these areas and can handle them with the care and discretion that they call for. Although there is one firm in the UK – Optimal Solicitors – that fit the bill!

Stay up to date

You should most certainly stay updated on legal matters relevant to family law. To give a fresh example, the new “stamp duty holiday” announced in July of 2020 will surely greatly impact many families as it was introduced to help homebuyers during the COVID-19 crisis.

Laws and regulations change. In order to give actionable and relevant advice to your clients, be it families looking to buy a home or perhaps couples looking to go their separate ways, it would be wise to stay in the loop and be extremely well-informed. Small changes can make a huge difference in your clients’ lives!

Not only is it necessary to stay up to date in terms of raw information, but also in terms of your skill sets. As an example, more and more clients may want to go through the divorce process online, if they can, to avoid as much emotional turmoil as they can. Developing technical skills alongside litigation skills will greatly expand your knowledge and your business.

Build a great reputation in your line of work

If you’ve applied the above suggestions, you will have probably already gained a fair number of satisfied clients who will have spread the word of your impeccable work ethic and overall quality of work. Your reputation can grow via word-of-mouth or can be visible through online reviews. Either way, individuals or families approaching you for your family law services will need to be sure you can provide them with great service.


If you continue with these practices, you can rest assured that your reputation will follow and represent you. You’ll probably end up doing an even better job after each new client thanks to the new knowledge and experience you’ve gained. So, ultimately, success is inevitable!”

Who is Optimal Solicitors?

Optimal Solicitors are more than your typical law firm, applying fresh thinking to your legal quandary.

They are a niche law practice based in Old Trafford, Manchester. A well-established, multi-service law firm best known for their work in the Personal Injury field, securing settlements on behalf of claimants. Their tenacious pursuit of objectives allows them to deliver enviable results.

Top 10 Tips for Family Law Clients

Here are our top 10 Tips to reduce stress and get the best outcome during your family law issue.

1. Start as you mean to go on

Relationship breakdowns can be stressful for all. You should take legal advice as early on as possible so that you can focus on resolving issues. It is better for all to be as calm and focused as possible rather than let resentment guide you. If you start off this way then hopefully this can continue throughout your case to help achieve a swift and successful resolution.

2. Be open and honest

In all your dealings, you should be open and honest. Hiding information only results in increased costs and animosity as well as lengthier disputes. Everything always comes out in the end and depending on your situation you could find yourself not just worse off but having to pay the costs of your ex-partner.

3. Be respectful of all involved

It can be difficult to be respectful towards someone who has hurt you. However, if you are rude or difficult then this will not make your ex-partner inclined to negotiate. Seeking revenge can often be self- destructive. If there are children involved you will have to deal with your ex-partner in the future and a hostile relationship will make co-parenting very difficult.

4. Consider long term and short term

Some of your long and short-term goals may be the same but often what you need now will not help you in the future. Often people are not concerned with their pensions now but when they retire it is most people’s only source of income. Equally what you arrange for the children now will not likely affect you when they are adults. By considering both points of view it can help you walk away with a result that works both now and in the future.

5. Put the children first

In any case where there are children involved then their welfare should be the first thing to consider when you are making decisions. Children are often those most affected by family breakdowns and will remember their experience for the rest of their lives. The Court considers the children’s welfare to be vital in any case where they are involved and so should you.

6. Pick your battles

Resolving issues whether big or small is the only way to reach a settlement. When you fail to resolve the issues you will likely end up in expensive, stressful and costly contested Court proceedings. Is it worth arguing over the toaster when you are also trying to negotiate on what share of your Husband’s pension you will have? Equally, consider if it is worth arguing over the fact that on one occasion the children were handed over 5 minutes late if you are trying to secure overnight contact. Consider where it is best to exert your energy and spend your legal costs.

7. Look forward not back

Look towards when your case will be over and you can move on. If you spend your case focussed on the actions of the past and attempting to allocate blame for the relationship breakdown then this will hamper your ability to negotiate successfully. Calculating the exact number of minutes of contact you are ‘owed’ from the last two years or producing bank statements of who has bought what share of the groceries will not help your case. Look at what outcome you want and work towards that rather than trying to punish your ex-partner for the past.

8. Consider settlements

If an offer to settle is received you should consider this carefully. Often offers made will not be acceptable, at least initially. Focus on the positive and consider your options carefully. Blunt rejection of offers to settle can often inflame matters however if you accept an offer without fully considering it then you may find yourself worse off. Equally, you should not delay when considering offers as most have a time limit attached.

9. Consider all the options

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Often the best thing is not running off to Court. We will always help you to consider your options, sometimes the best option can be to wait and see how things evolve. Equally sometimes you need to take action quickly. Not everything requires a shirty letter or a Court application. Considering all the options can help you make calm decisions in the best interests of you and your family.

10. Don’t assume that what works for someone else will work for you

Each case is different. Relationships break down for different reasons and everyone has different finances. What is appropriate for a family with children is not the same for a couple without. Equally one parent staying at home with the children whilst the other works will impact a case differently than if both parents work full time. Whilst you may know others who have been through a similar experience remember that what worked for them will not necessarily work for you.