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While an overwhelming majority of divorce lawyers are highly ethical and dedicated to their client's wellbeing, there are some who give the profession a bad name. To help you avoid them, we're sharing some shady divorce lawyer tactics to watch for.
Pushing to Litigate
While most people still think of divorce as two parties fighting it out in court, today, that's much rarer. In fact, most couples negotiate outside of court with their lawyers aiding the process as they create their own divorce settlement, determining how property is divided, setting child support payments, and also determining a child support schedule. When both parties can create a mutually beneficial arrangement outside of court, this is for the best, saving time, stress, and money.
While there are times when court is unavoidable, a shady or unethical divorce lawyer will push away any attempt to negotiate and insist upon litigation, even when it's not in their client's best interest. Often, this is to charge higher fees or attempt to improve their reputation.
Opaque Billing and Fees
Your lawyer should be transparent when it comes to billing, breaking down their fees, and providing you with a quote for service. When you get an invoice, there should be a clear, itemized list so you know where the money is going. Unethical divorce lawyers will often rely on padding their hours, double billing, or failing to provide a detailed invoice in order to get more money out of their clients.
Promising "Fast" Divorce
In North Carolina, both parties must be separated for a minimum of one year before they can file for divorce. When an attorney promises a fast divorce, they still have to abide by this law before filing the paperwork and making the move toward an absolute divorce. This can be misleading for couples who have recently separated and aren't familiar with the law.
Encouraging Unethical Behavior
If a divorce lawyer encourages behavior that seems unethical, it probably is. For example, recommending vindictive or dishonest behavior in order to improve the outcome of your case is not only ethically wrong, but it can also backfire in court. This includes:
- Lying about parenting abilities
- Alleging domestic violence, including emotional, mental, or verbal abuse
- Allege adultery
- Clean out bank accounts without telling the spouse (removing some money is acceptable to protect your own interests, but generally not more than half)
Going in front of a judge with false allegations or behaving in a vindictive manner can lead the judge to act against your favor in a settlement. Perhaps more important, this behavior can also harm any children you and your spouse have together, causing emotional trauma.
If your attorney recommends taking an action that doesn't sit right with you or seems unethical, it may be best to find another attorney to work with.
Schedule a Consultation with a Reliable Divorce Attorney in Raleigh
At Doyle Law Group, we are dedicated to fighting for our clients, providing aggressive representation to help them meet their goals, but we are also highly ethical and understand the importance of following our code of ethics. When you need an attorney you can rely on, reach out to our office today at (919) 301-8843 or fill out the form below to get started.
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