Simon Mediation - Dan Simon, M.A., J.D.

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Dan Simon, M.A., J.D.

Are Minnesota Divorce Lawyers Nothing But Scam Artists?

Good question. I’ve certainly seen situations where divorce lawyers seem to do much more harm than good. But I don’t think it’s intentional on their part. Having been trained in the law myself, I understand how lawyers assume that it’s helpful to advise clients about what they’re “entitled to.” And it’s natural for lawyers to disregard the unintended consequences of that advice. I recently worked with a couple that had spent over $500,000 on their divorce lawyers, and the result was that they lost two homes to foreclosure, felt they had wasted two years of their life, and hated each other more than ever. I believe all of the lawyers involved (they were “Superlawyers” even) thought they were being helpful. These lawyers probably thought they were making legitimate legal arguments; and they probably felt like they were responding to what their clients were asking for. But there’s no question that the results were devastating to the clients.

Sometimes, lawyers are helpful. They generally know how to complete the paperwork that the court requires in order to finalize a divorce. Having a lawyer do your paperwork is a legitimate choice, if you prefer not to do it yourself or to hire a paralegal to do it. But turning to a lawyer for advice about how to negotiate with your co-parent doesn’t really make sense. A lawyer has no way of understanding what matters most to you; and a lawyer tends to intimidate the other party and make them more difficult to deal with. So the best approach is to deal directly with the other party, or hire a mediator if your overwhelmed by dealing with the other party alone.