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Introduction and Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers has produced this handbook to explain what people throughout the United States face when considering or going through a divorce. This handbook is the product of the combined experience and collective efforts of Academy Fellows from around the country. The laws and procedures of most states are taken into account, but this is not a guide to the law of any one state.

Like any handbook, this one is no substitute for legal advice. It is intended only to give you some idea of what to expect and to help you and your lawyer work together more effectively.

A Glossary at the back of this book defines some commonly used terms.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. I. THE DIVORCE PROCESS
    1. A. Introduction
    2. B. Divorce Proceedings
      1. 1. The Petition
      2. 2. The Response
      3. 3. Temporary Orders
      4. 4. Discovery
      5. 5. Negotiated Settlement
      6. 6. Trial
      7. 7. Alternative Dispute Resolution
        1. a. Mediation
        2. b. Neutral Case Evaluation
        3. c. Arbitration
        4. d. Collaborative Law
    3. C. Your Conduct
    4. D. After the Divorce
      1. 1. Modification
      2. 2. Enforcement
      3. 3. Omitted Property
    5. E. Some Questions and Answers about the Divorce Process
  2. II. RECONCILIATION
  3. III. COUNSELING
    1. A. Purposes of Counseling
      1. 1. Helping you help your children through the breakup of their family
      2. 2. Helping you and your spouse work together for your children’s welfare
      3. 3. Helping you deal with the stress of divorce
      4. 4. Helping you work with your lawyer
      5. 5. Helping you to understand the marital breakup
      6. 6. Helping you rebuild your life
      7. 7. Reconciliation
    2. B. If You Have Been to Counseling
    3. C. Some Questions and Answers about Counseling
  4. IV. CHILDREN
    1. A. Introduction
    2. B. Legal and Physical Custody
    3. C. Joint Custody
    4. D. Allegations Of Child Abuse
    5. E. Custody Litigation
      1. 1. Mediation
      2. 2. Investigation
      3. 3. Lawyer or Guardian ad Litem for the children
      4. 4. Trial
      5. 5. Children as witnesses
    6. F. Child Support
    7. G. Misuse Of Children
    8. H. Your Conduct with Your Children
    9. I. Some Questions and Answers about Children
  5. V. SELECTING A DIVORCE LAWYER
    1. A. Introduction
    2. B. Getting Names of Lawyers
      1. 1. From other professionals
      2. 2. From organizations
      3. 3. Referrals from other persons
    3. C. What to Look For
      1. 1. Cost
      2. 2. Gender, age, race, religion, national origin
      3. 3. Credentials
      4. 4. Personal compatibility
      5. 5. Location
    4. D. Interviewing
  6. VI. THE LAWYER-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP
    1. A. Introduction
    2. B. What You Can Expect from Your Lawyer
    3. C. What You Cannot Expect from Your Lawyer
      1. 1. Your lawyer will not handle matters that are beyond the scope of your agreement.
      2. 2. Your lawyer cannot guarantee results.
      3. 3. Your lawyer cannot do anything unethical or illegal.
      4. 4. Your lawyer may be reluctant to act against the best interests of your children.
    4. D. Lawyers and Clients Should Maintain an Appropriate Professional Relationship.
  7. VII. COMMUNICATION BETWEEN LAWYER AND CLIENT
    1. A. The Importance Of Communication
    2. B. Financial Information
    3. C. Marital History
    4. D. Keeping in Touch
    5. E. Calling Your Lawyer and Returning Calls
    6. F. Being Available
    7. G. Correspondence
    8. H. Your Involvement In Other Legal Proceedings
    9. I. Some Questions and Answers about Communication:
  8. VIII. THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN OPPOSING COUNSEL
    1. A. Introduction
    2. B. You Benefit From Cooperation Between the Lawyers.
    3. C. You Will Be Hurt If The Lawyers Are Drawn Into An Emotional Fight.
    4. D. Dirty Tricks Do Not Help.
    5. E. Some Questions and Answers about the Relationship Between Opposing Counsel
  9. IX. YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO THIRD PARTIES
    1. A. The Court
    2. B. Experts
      1. 1. Your side
      2. 2. The other side
      3. 3. Appointed experts
    3. C. Your Children
    4. D. Witnesses
    5. E. Psychotherapists and Members of the Clergy
    6. F. Others
    7. G. Some Questions and Answers about Clients' Relationships to Third Parties.
  10. X. CONFIDENTIALITY
  11. XI. ELECTRONIC INFORMATION
  12. XII. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
    1. A. Definition.
    2. B. The Harmful Effects of Domestic Violence
    3. C. Tell Your Lawyer
    4. D. What Can Be Done?
      1. 1. Shelters
      2. 2. Restraining orders
      3. 3. Criminal prosecution
      4. 4. Civil lawsuits
      5. 5. Therapy
    5. E. Reporting Requirements
  13. XIII. ATTORNEY'S FEES AND COSTS
    1. A. Introduction
    2. B. Different Fee Arrangements
    3. C. Written Fee Agreements
    4. D. Costs And Expenses
    5. E. Security for Payment
    6. F. If You Find You Can't Pay According To Your Agreement
      1. 1. Work with your lawyer to solve the problem.
      2. 2. If you can't resolve the problem after talking to your lawyer, here is what might happen.
        1. a. Withdrawal
        2. b. Liens
        3. c. Mediation
        4. d. Arbitration
        5. e. Lawsuits
    7. G. Some Questions and Answers About Fees and Costs
    8. XIV. PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENTS 
  14. XV. ESTATE PLANNING CONCERNS
    1. A. At the beginning of the case
    2. B. After the divorce
  15. GLOSSARY

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