Divorce Consulting: The Alternative to Litigation

by
 Raymond Hekmat
October 12, 2020

Divorce Consulting: The Alternative to Litigation

Raymond Hekmat

There are many different types of professionals that can help make your divorce process more smooth and cost effective.  One such professional is a divorce consultant, also known as a consulting divorce attorney – a legal advisor that can help you through different divorce processes in different capacities from legal to strategic and more.  Raymond Hekmat, an attorney, mediator and divorce consultant, gives us the ins and outs of hiring a divorce consultant. This post originally appeared on Hekmat Law & Mediation’s blog.

You might think divorce consulting is simply defined as the first free session you have with a divorce attorney. Or you might equate the term with divorce coaching or counseling. Either way, we’re here to set the record straight and give you a clear understanding of divorce consulting: what it is, what it’s not, when to use it and our unique approach to it, here at Hekmat Law & Mediation.

What is Divorce Consulting?

A divorce consultant, often referred to as a consulting divorce attorney or consulting attorney, is an attorney that advises you on legal matters when you choose to mediate or represent yourself in a divorce. A divorce consultant is available to help you in any way you choose to use their  services. Whether it be filling out legal forms, discussing the specifics of your case, strategizing settlement, uncovering what you’re entitled to, or giving you general legal advice to understand  what you’re signing – a divorce consultant can guide you every step of the way.

More importantly, your divorce consultant is your advocate and source of empowerment, to keep you level-headed and focused on your goals, through an otherwise emotional time. An effective consulting divorce attorney will:

  • Gather data to build a complete picture of your financial situation.
  • Collaborate and strategize with you and your mediator to bring creative options to complicated settlement issues.
  • Offer insight into the pros and cons of alternative settlement proposals and support you in choosing an option most aligned with your goals.
  • Conserve precious emotional and financial resources.
  • Offer an objective and compassionate viewpoint during an emotional time and provide a cost/benefit perspective of pursuing certain financial issues, so you can make informed decisions.
  • Help you avoid the common financial mistakes made in divorce.
  • Facilitate strategic planning for transitioning to your new financial life.

It’s important to note that you are not retaining your consulting divorce attorney as your Attorney of Record. This means that they do not act on your behalf or represent you in your divorce proceedings. The advantage here is that you are not paying for the time spent on formal discovery, filing motions, writing letters, and calling the other attorney which can quickly rack up thousands and thousands of dollars in the matter of days. When you hire a divorce consultant, you choose when and how often you need their service, so you know exactly how much time and money you are spending.

Hiring a Divorce Consultant During Mediation

Mediation is often the most cost-effective and cordial way of working through your divorce. However, your mediator is an unbiased third party who is there to facilitate discussions between you and your spouse. Simply put, mediators are not allowed to give you legal advice.

This is where a divorce consultant can help you most with mediation. A divorce consultant provides you legal advice based on your goals to prepare you for your mediation sessions, and helps you make the right decisions that will impact your financial future. For example, how much spousal support are you obligated to pay and for how long? How should certain assets be divided? Do you have an interest in your partner’s business or real estate? With the help of a divorce consultant, you will be able to answer these important questions and countless others, with specificity to your goals.

In addition, it’s vital to retain your divorce consultant before the mediation—not after. This way, your attorney knows exactly how you arrived at an agreement and how to adjust your negotiations to make progress without compromising your goals. Otherwise, if you wait to share your judgment with a consultant after an agreement, their hands are tied and they are unable to suggest any modifications without possibly throwing the entire agreement out the window. You may have to start the mediation over if you discover terms in the agreement that put you at a disadvantage, and that’s not in anyone’s best interest.

Divorce Consultant vs Divorce Coach

Certified divorce coaches can work with you to emotionally guide you through your divorce. They help you identify your concerns, prioritize them and create a plan to think through your decisions. Divorce coaches are invaluable to many of our clients, and they can be an integral part of an effective team to help you through this difficult time.

However, divorce coaches do not and cannot give you legal advice. They rely on consulting attorneys to educate their clients about their legal rights and obligations, as well as empowering them with the law and strategy to achieve their goals through the mediation process. Though most consulting divorce attorneys strictly adhere to legal matters and documents, our approach to divorce consulting combines our legal expertise with the emotional sensibility and support of divorce coaching.

Divorce Consultant vs Divorce Concierge

A divorce concierge helps you build a team of professionals or specialists to fully support you through your divorce, as well as helping you with planning your life post-divorce. For example, a concierge can assemble a team of professionals including a mediator, accountant, therapist, financial advisor and lawyer to make sure you are appropriately advised and supported financially, emotionally, and legally.

Even though these services can be useful, your case may be placed into a network of already determined professionals that may not have your customized and specific needs in mind.

Our Unique Approach to Divorce Consulting

As a divorce consultant, my goal is make sure your emotional, financial and legal needs are met. My legal representation is coupled with the compassion of a personal coach, while I build the right team to meet your needs during this difficult time. Divorce consulting clients work directly with me to make smart, healthy decisions, while feeling supported and confident that their rights are being protected.

What makes us different is that we are equipped to tackle legal matters yet welcome tough emotional conversations always keeping one thing in mind: achieving your goals. Whatever the case may be, our approach to divorce consulting is predicated on your well being and success—even if it means that your case is too complex for mediation and needs to go to litigation.



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