How do I determine the right Indianapolis divorce attorney for my case?
Anyone who has traveled throughout a region or multi-state portion in the United States understands that vast cultural differences exist. For this reason, in divorce, more so than most other legal areas, if you are in Indiana, it is important to consider obtaining an Indiana or Indianapolis divorce attorney just as it is important to consider retaining a Dallas attorney if you live in Texas, although other factors may dictate otherwise. How child-related issues or division of marital assets are viewed by the law and courts are different as you crisscross the United States, and even within a state.
With respect to the division of a married couple’s assets, seasoned Indiana or Indianapolis divorce attorneys will know and understand which property to include as “marital” property, which is subject to division. This is broad, and for example, includes real property that is inherited during marriage and before separation; such is included as part of the marital estate for purposes of dividing property in a divorce action (Grathwohl v. Garrity, 2007).
Another is example is spousal maintenance, which not broad alimony in Indiana law unlike some awards is made famous in the large amounts ordered to be paid by trial courts in other states. Specifically, an Indiana or Indianapolis divorce attorney will know that Indiana trial courts may award only three, quite limited varieties of post-dissolution maintenance: spousal incapacity maintenance, caregiver maintenance, and rehabilitative maintenance (Zan v. Zan, 2005).
In short, an Indiana or Indianapolis divorce attorneys are more likely to understand your legal objectives and the means to achieve them than an attorney from a different area. Locality and experience thresholds are criteria that you should consider in selecting professionals in any aspect of life. Indianapolis divorce attorneys are as competent as those from Evansville or South Bend, but a local attorney may be able to navigate your case in a more cost effective and efficient way than a more remote attorney. There are a number of unwritten customs and practice standards from place to place and court to court. Attorneys who actively practice in the same courts know this and are accustomed to these practices.
On the other hand, there are times when it is easy – even necessary–as a litigant to have a fresh, outside attorney representing your position. This is a “gut feeling.” Many of the more known attorneys who practice family law or criminal defense throughout the state may do so in tandem with a local attorney, known as “local counsel.” The ultimate “gut question” after discussing your legal objectives with any attorney is to ask the question based on what you have researched and observed and weigh it asking, “Can I live with the legal results if I do not reach my objectives with this counsel?”
Finally, a good divorce attorney will study your legal questions and perhaps disagree with you, or at least temper you, at all points in the litigation. To simply tell you what you want to hear is not what you are paying for, nor an effective way to reach toward your objectives. In the best scenario, there is an attorney-client balance, where privately you can discuss things with your attorney and disagree, but where ultimately you are harmonious in trial.
These are some of the benchmarks of an effective attorney-client relationship in any place in the United States, particularly in domestic cases where there are as many emotional dynamics as there are legal ones. When you feel you have found a divorce attorney who can meet these thresholds and standards, you have probably found your advocate. Stated differently, you should consider seeking out an Indiana divorce attorney who will give you realistic expectations of your case, the time involved, potential costs and scenarios, and the potential range of outcomes.
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