Choose the right Jacksonville Divorce Lawyer to handle your case!
Here is what you need to ask yourself. Do you want to settle and control your outcome? Or, do you want to fight and let a judge decide your fate? Give some serious thought to those two questions when selecting a lawyer.
If you look hard enough, you can find an attorney who will fight every issue for you and gladly bill you in the process! Thankfully, most of my clients are people who want to resolve their divorce case without wasting time and money. I consider myself a lawyer who is solution oriented.
Every case is different, but I resolve the great majority of my cases on an uncontested basis. My settlement statistics for divorce cases in 2014 are posted on the upper right hand corner of this site.
Unfortunately not every case can be resolved and that is why we have judges. It is important to choose an attorney who has experience in court. Personally, I have handled hundreds of hearings in my 20+ year legal career. Despite my strong belief that every reasonable attempt should be made to settle, I am not sure you would want an attorney who wasn’t ready to go to court if necessary.
However (and this is absolutely critical), unlike some attorneys, I am not looking to start a fight. That simply means throughout my representation I am going to look for ways to resolve your case instead of exploring ways to prolong your case and increase your fees. There are unfortunately still a few lawyers out there that care more about their wallet than they do about their client’s welfare.
Does the divorce lawyer my spouse choose matter?
Your spouse’s selection of a divorce lawyer definitely matters. If your spouse chooses a lawyer with a settlement mentality, then there is a much greater chance of resolving the case by way of agreement (either by negotiation, settlement conference or mediation).
Some people (mostly because they are hurt) choose to hire a “bulldog” attorney thinking the attorney will be their tool to cause the other party financial and emotional pain. It is somewhat ironic that, contrary to their bark, some of the divorce lawyers who like to fight and want to take every case to a contested hearing aren’t even that effective in court. What they are almost always skilled at is extracting a lot of fees from their clients.
It is sad to see 2 people who have both chosen overly aggressive lawyers spend tens of thousands dollars on their divorce case, yet it happens! The damage these people do to their (and their children’s!) financial and emotional well-being is sometimes irreparable.
With the advent of mediation, it is clear that judges want people to try to work their cases out. In my opinion, the effectiveness of unreasonable attorneys in the eye’s of the court is in decline. Fortunately, the majority of the lawyers I work with would like to settle their cases in a reasonable fashion. This should not be taken as a sign of weakness, however, as many of these same lawyers are excellent if they are forced to go to court.
Does my spouse have to have his/her own lawyer?
Your spouse does not have to have his/her own lawyer. In Florida, a divorce lawyer cannot represent both parties in a divorce case. However, a divorce attorney can represent one party and the other side can choose to represent themselves. In this situation, the divorce attorney for the represented party can draft a Marital Settlement Agreement (or Consent Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage) that can then be provided to the unrepresented party. The unrepresented party, if they choose, can consult with another lawyer for an independent opinion.
Who is Steve Leitman?
Steve Leitman is a Florida lawyer who represents clients going through divorce. He practices before Family Law Judges in the counties of Duval, St. Johns, Clay and Nassau. Steve has over 20 years of courtroom experience and formerly served as an Assistant State Attorney in the Fourth Judicial Circuit. Steve was also a former Florida Supreme Court certified family law mediator who mediated over 500 family law cases. He has also served as a court appointed Special Magistrate. Steve believes clients (and their children) are best served when a reasonable settlement can be reached.
Steve received an AV® Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell. According to the Martindale-Hubble website an AV® certification mark is a significant rating accomplishment and a testament to the fact that a lawyer’s peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence. A lawyer must be admitted to the bar for 10 years or more to receive an AV® rating.
I know it can be challenging to figure everything out alone. Your researching on the internet about potential Jacksonville divorce attorneys is a great start. My philosophy is very simple…if there is a way for you to get a great settlement without having to go to court, then we will pursue that option first. I look forward to speaking with you about the various options you may have regarding your divorce case and how I can help. If you have questions about which lawyer to choose, call me.
*Here are some great questions to ask your referral source about their lawyer…
Was their divorce lawyer responsive to their questions?
Did their divorce lawyer accomplish what was asked?
Did their divorce lawyer move the case forward in a reasonable fashion?
Did their divorce lawyer look for ways to get the case settled?
Did their divorce lawyer charge a reasonable fee?
Did their divorce lawyer have a good working knowledge of the relevant Florida Statutes and case law?
There are literally over a hundred divorce attorneys to choose from in Jacksonville. Choose a divorce lawyer whose former clients would answer yes to all of these questions and you should be in good shape!