Divorcing Better—What makes a great divorce attorney, and how they can improve the process for you

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You’ve made the agonizing decision to end your marriage. You’ve worked to salvage the relationship, but now you feel certain it’s time to move on. You’re ready to take the next step.

You’re probably feeling anxious, emotional, fragile, overwhelmed—and lost about how to proceed.

Although you can get divorced in California without an attorney, a qualified and experienced divorce lawyer can smooth and streamline the process immeasurably. An attorney can help ensure you reach a favorable settlement that enables you to move on with your new life as quickly as possible and in the best possible position.

Some of the essential functions of a family attorney include:

  • Handling logistics: filling out paperwork, filing documents, managing deadlines and court dates
  • Having a thorough knowledge of the relevant laws and family court processes in your state
  • Understanding the facts of your case, researching, and preparing an effective strategy
  • Educating you on the dissolution process; providing objective advice; helping you avoid common pitfalls
  • Acting as the intermediary between you and your spouse’s team
  • Helping you feel calm, rational, and confident even in tense situations
  • Keeping the process as amicable as possible

But this list just scratches the surface.

Here are six crucial qualities of a good divorce attorney – and how your lawyer can help you have a better divorce.

Great communicator. You’re going through a tremendously painful and complicated time. You need an attorney who is available to you and with whom you feel comfortable speaking frankly and openly. You need someone who listens and makes you feel heard and understood. Someone who talks with you in a way that is clear, candid, calm, and objective; someone who tells you the truth. Someone you feel can effectively convey your wants, needs, and perspective to the other party.

People person. You may be in a heightened state at times—worried, angry, hurt, volatile. Your divorce attorney should have exceptional interpersonal skills. You want a compassionate and understanding lawyer who validates what you’re going through—and YET—can help “talk you down” off the emotional ledge and help you stay calm, rational, and business-like in the legal process. They should inspire confidence and make you feel calm, prepared, and composed. Choose a lawyer who will help reduce your stress level and enable you to focus on the big picture. Likewise, you want an attorney who is poised and professional in dealing with the other party through tense negotiations or trial if necessary; someone who is good under pressure, who knows when to push and when to dial down the temperature.

Stellar legal skills. A divorce attorney must thoroughly analyze your case, understand all the facts, research and interpret applicable laws, and prepare a strategy. They need creativity, strong decision-making and problem-solving skills, an ability to find weak points in your case and the other party’s, and to think on their feet. You want someone adept in various approaches, from mediation and collaborative divorce to litigation, with the expertise and experience to keep your divorce as amicable as possible, even when complex and contentious. You need a skilled negotiator who can be more collaborative or move aggressively as needed, an attorney who will do everything possible to reach a favorable settlement but is prepared to go to court. It’s also essential for your lawyer to have sound judgment, to be honest with you about what NOT to do, and how to prevent harmful, expensive mistakes.

Fierce advocacy. An amicable divorce is always best for everyone. But— whether you can reach a settlement agreement or have to battle out some tough issues in court—you want an attorney who is committed to fighting for you, protecting your rights and best interests, and even your reputation when needed.

Dedication. The divorce process can be long, slow-moving, and arduous. A good family attorney is willing to put in the hours and hard work, stay available to you, and keep communicating to persevere.

Best for YOU. Every divorce is unique and highly personal. There isn’t one perfect attorney for every person or situation—your divorce attorney should fit YOUR needs. Find someone you know will work hard to help you have the kind of divorce you want, laying the foundation for your new life and future relationship with your ex. Seek out a lawyer who is knowledgeable and experienced in cases and circumstances similar to your own. Equally important, find someone who feels right to you, that you trust, has a good reputation, and has an excellent rapport with you.

The veteran California family attorneys at SFLG are known for their compassion, commitment, honesty, open communication, and tireless advocacy—at the bargaining table and in the courtroom. Contact our Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, or Redlands divorce attorneys today for expert guidance through your divorce process.

By Debra Schoenberg

Our Awards and Memberships

Schoenberg Family Law Group, P.C., recognizes that family law matters involve complex, sensitive issues that can have a lasting impact on you, your family, your finances and your future.

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10.0 Avvo Superb Top Attorney Family Law, Divorce
Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journal
American Jurist Institute Top 10 Attorneys 2017
2022 Client Satisfaction American Institute of Family Law Attorneys 10 Best
100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies In the Bay Area San Francisco Business Times
10 Best Female Attorneys 2017 American Institute of Family Law Attorneys
San Francisco Bay Area's Best and Brightest Companies to Work For Winner 2021
2018 Best Lawyers Best Law Firms U.S. News & World Report
California Board of Legal Specialization (CBLS) State Bar of California
2020 Client Champion Debra R. Schoenberg
San Francisco Business Times Corporate Philanthropy Awards 2019
Expertise Best Divorce Lawyers in Concord 2020
2018 Expertise Best Divorce Lawyers in San Francisco
Fast 100
Lead Counsel Rated
Litigation Counsel of America (LCA) Fellow
National Board of Trial Advocacy
2017 Parents' Press Best of The Bay
San Francisco Business Times
Rated By Super Lawyers Debra R. Schoenberg
The Business of Pride
2021 Best Businesses Three Best Rated
San Francisco Business Times Corporate Philanthropy Awards & Summit
American Jurist Institute Top 10 Attorneys of 2018
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