In 2009 there were 9,140 divorce actions and 2,406 paternity actions filed in Broward County, Florida. There are 8,100 attorneys with offices in Broward County; and of those 8,100 attorneys, 496 of them practice exclusively or primarily in the area of Family Law.
If we do the math, this means that there are approximately 23 divorce cases for each attorney in Broward County who specializes in Family Law, and only 1 divorce case for each attorney who practices in the County. This does not take into consideration lawyers from other counties who also practice in Broward County. The conclusion is inescapable. Competition for your business is intense.
So what sets this website apart from every other Family Attorney website on the internet?
The first thing that sets this website apart is that it is not written by a professional copywriter. Every word that appears on this website is being written for you by me. That is why the building of this website is a work in progress. I will be writing a summary for each of the practice areas listed on this site and revising and updating them periodically for you as the laws change.
The second thing that sets this website apart is that you will be guided to links that will give you the opportunity to explore in much greater depth the actual Florida Statutes and Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure which govern each practice area, and you will be guided to articles and organizations which will enhance your knowledge of the specific practice area and provide further support for you.
For example, if you want to know more about the area of equitable distribution, you will be guided to Section 61.075 of the Florida Statutes entitled “Equitable Distribution of Marital Assets and Liabilities”. If you want to know more about “Mandatory Disclosure,” you will be guided to Rule 12.285 of the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure. If you want to know more about mediation, you will be guided to Chapter 44 of the Florida Statutes entitled “Mediation Alternatives To Judicial Action”, Rules 12.740 and 12.741 of the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure, and to websites like www.Mediate.com.
The third thing that sets this website apart is that it will guide you to self-help centers and self-help forms which will enable you to file pleadings yourself. Even though my fees are extremely reasonable compared to the fees of some other Family Law attorneys in the area, you may be unable to afford an attorney and may not qualify for the services of Legal Aid.
Now don’t get me wrong. I don’t recommend that you represent yourself and file your own pleadings. You know the old saying: “A person who represents himself has a fool for a client.” And I’m not just talking about you. That saying applies to attorneys as well. I didn’t represent myself in my divorce some twenty-five years ago, and I don’t recommend that you try it either. But if you need help and can’t afford an attorney, the least I can do is guide you to areas which will help you get in front of a judge so that you can ask for the relief which you need.
Let’s talk about the hiring of an attorney for a minute. It can take a year or more to finalize a divorce in Broward County. How long it actually takes depends upon how many issues there are in your case and how emotionally charged each issue is for you (please go to the Divorce Law Section of this website for more information about Contested and Uncontested Divorces and the Emotional Divorce Process).
You will be spending a lot of time with your attorney, sharing very sensitive and confidential information with your attorney, and giving your attorney a considerable amount of money. The choice of an attorney is every bit as important as the choice of a therapist for you or your children. You need to have confidence in your attorney and know that he or she is experienced and competent to represent you. In addition, there has to be the right “fit” between you and your attorney. Personalities differ, and just as there is no therapist who is perfect for all patients, there is no attorney who is perfect for all clients. Just because a friend or relative of yours hired a certain attorney does not mean that he or she is right for you.
Interview your attorney as you would interview an applicant seeking a job working for you. Remember that you are hiring the attorney to represent you and that your attorney works for you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions such as: How long have you been a Family Law attorney? What percentage of your practice is devoted to Family Law? Will you do all the work on my case or will someone else in the firm also be working on my divorce? How much is your retainer for fees and costs? What is your hourly billing rate? Have you ever been sued for malpractice and do you have malpractice insurance? If your attorney is offended by your questions or you are not satisfied by the answers you receive from the attorney, keep looking. That attorney is not right for you.
I want you to be as educated a consumer as you can be. It is my belief that the more you know about the law as it relates to the issues in your case and the more you understand where you are in the emotional divorce process, the better we will be able to work together to accomplish your goals.
The decision regarding whether or not to file for divorce is yours and yours alone. You may not be ready to file for divorce and may only be seeking information regarding your legal rights. That is a very legitimate reason for speaking with a divorce attorney. Many of my clients have had initial consultations and returned after months and even years of soul searching when the time was right for them to initiate the divorce.
Of course, if you have been served with divorce papers, you must file an answer to your spouse’s petition within twenty days of the date you were served. If this is the case, then time is of the essence and you must act and act now. Please call my office and make an appointment for a free, initial, confidential consultation.
We’d like to help you with any problems you are having in the area of Family Law. We will be happy to explain your legal rights and responsibilities, as well as answer any questions you may have. Call Attorney Kramer at (954) 468-3220 for an initial confidential case consultation; or send us an e-mail using our on-line contact form.