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Selecting the RIGHT Divorce Attorney

Assisting you to ensure you protect yourself and your family while dealing with a divorce.

Choosing the Right Divorce Attorney

Many times, potential clients call to ask whether or not they need an attorney. Our standard response is that while that is your decision, divorce can have many ramifications for your financial and emotional well-being including dividing assets, bills and personal property; the awarding of maintenance (i.e. spousal support or alimony), child custody and child placement that a skilled attorney or mediator can help resolve. Although friends and relatives may have good intentions, their advice is without proper training and is likely to be inaccurate even when based upon their personal experiences. Circumstances in their cases may have been far different from those in your case or the laws may have changed since their divorce. It is like using another’s eyeglasses–they rarely fit properly. Make sure you are comfortable with the attorney you chose as they will help guide you thru one of the hardest times of your life.

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Do I have to go to mediation? And why do I have to take a parenting class first?

I have had many parents ask me why they have to participate in mediation. They often explain that they have not been able to reach an agreement with their child’s other parent on their own, and therefore mediation just won’t work. What those parents don’t realize, and what I explain to them, is that Wisconsin’s family court laws have made mediation the required first step.  Wisconsin Statute 767.405(5) directs that a court must refer parents with placement and custody disputes to their county’s mediation program.  In addition, parents are required to attend a parenting class, which usually doubles as the mediation orientation session. The focus of this programming is often related to co-parenting communication and explanations of how the mediation process works.   Though you should not agree to any custody arrangements you can’t deal with for at least a couple years, most of the local counties have very high rates of successfully getting parents to an agreement.   There are only limited circumstances in which you can bypass the mediation process and proceed directly to a GAL (guardian ad litem).

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Different Kinds of Divorce Resolution-Litigation, Mediation and Collaborative Divorce

In addition to the traditional divorce litigation representation, both collaborative divorce and divorce mediation services are ways to proceed with a divorce in a much less aggressive manner. Petit & Dommershausen handles all three types of representation.

As a divorce mediator, Petit & Dommershausen does not take a sides. Our role is to help a couple to communicate and arrive at mutual agreements. Through mediation, you may be able to resolve disputes faster, with less bitterness, and at less cost than battling in court. The mediator can provide information about the divorce process and guide a discussion to help resolve issues. Petit & Dommershausen would not represent either party and could not provide legal advice. The couple can hire Petit & Dommershausen as a mediator if you have an attorney or if you are not represented by an attorney at all. During this process, the parties may communicate with one another directly in the presence of the mediator. The goal of mediation is to allow parties to reach agreements that meet the needs of both parties and their children without the financial and emotional cost of a court battle.

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