Buying a house is hard. Selling a house is hard. Navigating both at the same time, even harder. Add in a divorce, an angry, bitter, spiteful spouse, and a one dimensional attorney and you have a recipe for disaster. Some attorneys get so focused on the legal aspect of your case and resolving the divorce, they forget you are a human and that the legal aspect, the outcome of dividing assets on paper have actual, real life, impacts. From cars to homes, from couches to family photos. When short sighted attorneys don’t think through long term impacts of legal arguments and requests for relief from the court, you could get stuck in an untenable situation.
Make sure you hire a law firm that will put the right people in your corner and will build the right team for you. When interviewing an attorney, ask some questions that get the attorney to step outside of the legal impacts of your case and discuss the practical impacts. This may seem strange, but it is extremely important. Ask the attorney if they are involved in the community. Ask if they have trusted referral sources for companies or individuals who might be able to help you with the logistics of a divorce, i.e. Realtors, mortgage brokers, moving companies, plumbers, landscapers, financial planners, insurance brokers, etc. Ask for that information.
A great attorney will do that for you. A great attorney looks beyond the legal impacts of your case to the practical impacts, as well. A great attorney thinks through not only the legal outcomes but also the real life problems you might face once your divorce is finalized. And, in that, work to provide you the resources you need to make sure you are getting the answers and services you need.
As an example, during the height of COVID, homes were being sold left and right, interest rates were at an all time low. It was a great time to sell, but a terrible time to buy. Now, the market has cooled off and selling is more difficult with the increase in rates. If you weren’t ready for either situation or had a team that didn’t account for that, you could have been severely impacted. Coming out of the seller’s market, and into the cooling off period, it is still as important as ever to consider those impacts when deciding whether or not to advocate for the sale of your home and a division of equity, or to advocate to keep your home and buy out your soon to be ex’s share of the home with another asset or by refinancing. Thinking through these options is just one of many in a long line of question and answers needed in determining your legal strategy. And having an attorney with the forethought and resources to help guide you in those decisions gives you an advantage.
Being multidimensional, thinking about practical impacts on a client’s case, is an important part of being a great attorney.
Being one dimensional is decidedly not.