What should I look for in a divorce attorney?
The most important thing to look for is someone you trust. Your attorney will be helping you in a process that will shape the rest of your life. If you have any doubts or you do not completely trust your attorney, the entire process can be extremely stressful. The next most important quality to look for is someone who shares the same goals for your divorce as you. A lawyer who honestly wants the best for you and your family is a terrific asset when going through a divorce.
Do not hesitate to visit several attorneys before you make a decision. The right attorney for you can make all the difference when helping with a process that will affect the rest of your life.
What is the best way to avoid going to court with my divorce?
The truth is that most divorces end in settlement and do not go to court. But in almost every divorce, time and money are spent preparing for court. The only method of divorce that attempts to completely avoid court action is Collaborative Divorce. Collaborative Divorce involves both attorneys pledging to not file court action and commit to the negotiation process. This achieves an atmosphere of cooperation and a commitment to working together.
What is Collaborative Divorce?
Collaborative Divorce is a new approach to Divorce that avoids the courtroom entirely. It is focused on a spirit of cooperation and negotiation, as opposed to the typically adversarial litigation system.
First, you and your spouse will meet with your respective collaborative attorneys to discuss your individual needs and concerns. Then, everyone agrees that they will all work toward an effective solution for both spouses. You, your spouse, and both attorneys then meet in four-way sessions to reach a settlement without involving the court.
This is just the beginning of what makes Collaborative Divorce a great option for many spouses, to learn more contact Lori D. Becker.
My spouse and I don’t get along, is Collaborative Divorce even an option for us?
Collaborative attorneys have been trained to effectively work with couples that have considerable conflict. You will not be alone. Your attorney will be there with you to ensure your needs are addressed, and to facilitate negotiations with your spouse. In addition to your attorney, a Divorce Coach is there to help you determine your priorities and to set up a strategy for how best to approach the negotiations. Collaborative Divorce will not eliminate the problems with your spouse, but it will provide the best possible forum for working though those differences toward an outcome that is best for everyone.
Will I get less from my divorce if I choose Collaborative Divorce?
No. Collaborative Divorce is about the process of a divorce, not the settlement. Often times, a Collaborative Divorce settlement will be nearly identical to what would have been decided in a courtroom, but it is reached with greater efficiency, fewer expenses, and a focus on the emotional issues involved.
In a Collaborative Divorce, your lawyer is still working for you. The difference is that you and your lawyer are working with your spouse and his or her lawyer. This improves communication and understanding as the process develops.
I want to pursue a Collaborative Divorce but my husband/wife doesn’t, what does this mean?
In order for the Collaborative Divorce process to work, both spouses must sign a Collaborative agreement. But this does not mean that your hope for a Collaborative Divorce is over. Encourage your spouse to at least meet with an attorney who offers Collaborative Divorce to discuss if it might be the right path for them. (Contact Lori D. Becker’s office for a complete list of Collaborative Divorce attorneys in the area.)
If your spouse is still insistent on not using the Collaborative method and you still wish to retain Lori D. Becker as your attorney, she is more than willing to represent you in a typical divorce proceeding.
Who is in my Collaborative Team?
Your Collaborative Team is made up of professionals who meet your specific divorce needs. Your attorney is the first member of your team; your attorney will guide you through the process and provide the legal expertise needed. You will also be advised by a Divorce Coach. A Divorce Coach is someone who is specifically trained in Collaborative Divorce and has a lot of experience helping people like you through your divorce. Your Divorce Coach will help you set your priorities for the divorce negotiations as well as help you with strategies to ensure the most productive negotiations.
The Collaborative approach also has the flexibility to involve other professionals whose expertise assist in the divorce negotiations. If there are any complicated financial concerns, a Financial Neutral is brought in to help the spouses sort through the finances and to provide an expert-level assessment.
If there are kids involved, a child therapist can help the spouses manage any child custody issues in a way that ensures the healthiest outcome for the children.
Other mental health professionals are available to assist in the divorce if needed. These professionals, along with your attorneys, compose a strong team of experts, all trained in Collaborative Divorce, who are all working to help achieve the best divorce result.
If divorce coaches, financial neutrals, and child therapists are all hired, how is a Collaborative Divorce less expensive for me?
Collaborative Divorce still manages to be less expensive than a typical litigated divorce because the enormous costs of preparing for court do not exist. 95% of divorces end in an out-of-court settlement. But still, attorneys waste time and resources preparing for the “day in court” that never comes. In a Collaborative Divorce, we are never preparing for a court appearance; all of your team’s efforts are spent on reaching a resolution.
Collaborative Divorce also saves you money because it saves time. Instead of spending time posturing and waiting for responses, as is the case in a litigated divorce, both attorneys and spouses discuss the issues of the divorce in efficient 4-way meetings. This set-up is designed to reduce wasted efforts and to keep the divorce moving at your pace.
What is your opinion regarding clients educating themselves on legal issues?
I absolutely encourage it. The better informed my clients are, the better attorney I can be for them.
Clients that have had experiences with other attorneys appreciate the benefits of my service and have a clear understanding of the legal representation that I personally provide.
Are you willing to review documents prepared by clients?
I encourage my clients to prepare a file explaining their position and if they have come to any prior agreements with the other party. This enables me to prepare the necessary legal documents to implement their agreements.
Are you willing to coach clients who want to represent themselves?
It is often more cost effective for the client to have their attorney properly draft those agreements into the appropriate legal documents. In the matter of divorce and family law, anything outside of the most simple uncontested matter can result in some very complicated entanglements that can be very costly to repair, if indeed it remains possible.
Why did you decide to be a lawyer?
Higher education was a tremendously high value in my family and many of us, parents and siblings are medical practitioners. I wanted to work in a field that uses my mind but my path went in a different direction when I decided to study law. I have never regretted the decision to go into law, though it did take a while for me to find the areas of law about which I am truly passionate.
I have a great deal of corporate legal experience from my time in a large firm, focused on product liability defense litigation. This is exactly opposite the work that I do now which is far more personal and complex and allows me to have very different, and I feel better, relationships with my clients.
Collaborative law, the newest option for divorcing couples, allows me to deliver the highest level of help. Special training in CL, and my certification as a Mediator blend well with years of experience with domestic violence counseling to focus my ability to listen and negotiate in powerful and helpful ways, even under extreme circumstances to truly act as an attorney and counselor of the law.
What work experience and education helps you be a better lawyer?
Ten years of volunteering as a First Response Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Crisis Counselor for HAVEN have taught me how to listen and to go beyond this, to hear what people are saying. In this volunteer work, I provide the emergency crisis response to sexual assault victims and domestic violence victims by going to the emergency room or to HAVEN whenever the police or hospitals page. When I am on call this can occur at anytime, day or night.
Through this work I am reminded that each case is unique with its own set of facts and circumstances.
Why did you decide on your primary area of practice?
Because of some very personal experiences, I am acutely aware of how easily a parent can become disenfranchised through poor representation, the court system and its process.
What do you like best about your career?
Watching my clients actually get stronger in an otherwise very damaging experience.
Tell us about your law firm:
Becker Legal, P.C. was originally founded in 2002 when I decided to leave a very large, 120 attorney firm to start my own firm to better meet the needs of my clients. Dealing with other attorneys is not my idea of practicing law. Aiding in the success of my clients is what matters most.
What are your strengths and style?
I am a very strong listener and negotiator. I seek to implement creative solutions to problems so everyone feels as though they have achieved their goals.
Lori D. Becker named one of the top Up & Coming lawyers in Michigan by Michigan Lawyers Weekly Newspaper
Lori D. Becker appears on Shelby Twp. Television to discuss Collaborative Divorce
Lori D. Becker's Open House is featured on the front page of the July 2nd edition of the Oakland County Legal News
Lori D. Becker is highlighted in the June edition of the Collaborative Chronicles
Lori D. Becker is the first person from Michigan ever elected to the Board of Directors of the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
Lori D. Becker:
Elected Board Member of Women Lawyer Association of Michigan Foundation
Elected Board Member Collaborative Practice Institute of Michigan
Elected Board Member of MacOakWay Collaborative Practice Group
Elected Committee Member of Public Education for International Academyof Collaborative Professionals
“It takes a special person to be a good lawyer, a wise counsel, and a thoughtful friend, all at the same time. I am truly grateful for all you have done..." (read more)
- Len, Rochester Hills