Each case is unique. Yet, once you have been in the divorce business for a while, it becomes clear there are patterns. An experienced divorce lawyer will take the facts you tell them, ask important questions and then tell you, the client, what an overall game plan would be to maximize your success.
Lawyers can help you in two major ways. First, because they have guided so many other clients though the divorce, they can offer sound advice to avoid problems. Second, they can think about how this case will be viewed in the eyes of a judge. Many cases will be decided in either mediation under the threat of going to court or in court. So presenting an argument that will look good in court is vital to your case. Arguments are build on facts and a good lawyer will know how to use facts to your advantage.
When clients walk into the office, they come with a set of facts. Who wants the divorce? Are there children involved? Will there be a custody dispute? Has the other spouse hired a lawyer? Is there a lot of property involved? An experienced divorce lawyer will take these facts and quickly come up with a sound divorce strategy based on years of working on divorce files. This strategy should be customized for the needs of the client and the facts of the case.
When you are consulting with a divorce lawyer, you want someone who is experienced working the legal system of that jurisdiction. If you are getting a divorce in New York City you want to hire someone who is familiar with New York law and also someone who is familiar with New York courts.
In the United States, most aspects of family law are generally within the jurisdiction of the states. This means that there can be variation between the facts that would be relevant in New York in comparison, to say, Louisiana. While many of the principles may be the same, for example, the importance of acting in the best interests of the children in custody disputes is generally recognized across the United States, and cases from one American jurisdiction may be persuasive in another jurisdiction, New York law can vary in subtle and significant ways from the law in other states. This is why it is so important to hire a family lawyer who has practiced in New York. An attorney who knows New York law will consider facts of the case in light of New York law.
It is not enough for lawyers to have just studied law books. A good divorce lawyer will have logged plenty of hours in court arguing cases before judges. Strategies that may work on some judges may not be as effective on others. For example, some judges may be unsympathetic toward fathers. An attorney who knows this will craft arguments accordingly. If representing a father, perhaps more effort should be spent presenting the client in a good light. An experienced lawyer will know what facts to ask for. For example, when dealing with a judge who is unsympathetic to fathers, the lawyer should ask the client for facts about the time spent with the child. This can be used as evidence in court.
In summary, cases are built on facts. Lawyers who know the system can advise you on what strategy would work best for your case. An experienced lawyer is important. The lawyer who can provide you with the best advice will worked for many years on family law cases in New York and spent a significant amount of time in court.