Mar 07

Discover the 5 Essential Tactics Used by the Best Divorce Lawyers

Written by: Megan Dell


In the whirlwind of legal separation proceedings, the best divorce lawyers rely on meticulous organization and detailed record-keeping to navigate complexities, meet deadlines, and keep clients informed. Yet, amidst the emotional storm, the best divorce lawyers also bravely confront uncomfortable truths, guide strategic plans, and remember the humanity in every interaction.

Lawyer hitting a gavel - what can you expect from the best divorce lawyer

1 The best divorce lawyers keep organized and detailed records.

Divorce cases can be complex and lengthy, involving various legal documents, correspondence between attorneys, and court filings. Maintaining organized files allows lawyers to manage cases efficiently, track important deadlines, and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.

Clients often feel overwhelmed and anxious during divorce proceedings, and they rely on their divorce lawyers to keep them informed about the divorce process. Detailed records enable divorce lawyers and their staff to provide accurate updates, answer questions, and address concerns promptly.

Clients of divorce attorneys feel empowered when they have access to organized files and can actively participate in their legal representation. Being able to review documents, track case progress, and understand the legal strategies employed by their lawyer enables clients to make informed decisions about their divorce proceedings.


2 They tell you the truth, even if it’s not what you want to hear.

Divorce and separation cases and custody disputes often evoke strong emotions. Many factors can affect how well a person manages those emotions, how they want to express them, and their expectations for the court proceedings.

Some spouses want the Family Court to vindicate them and confirm they were wronged and treated badly by their ex-spouse, or even worse, they want a family court judge to help them get revenge. Likewise, some litigants deeply desire their co-parent to be more reliable, more engaged, or more connected with their children, and they desperately believe a child custody order will finally force the other parent to do the right things.

The best divorce lawyers will tell you the truth about Family Court, even if it’s not what you want to hear. As put by John F. Kennedy, Jr., “For the great enemy of truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived, and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.”

The best lawyers will tell you a broad range of truths like these:

  • Contested divorces or child custody cases can be expensive. The initial divorce lawyer cost is the beginning of the expenses, and the only way to end them is for your case to conclude with either a settlement or a trial. And the sooner you reach a settlement, the less your divorce will cost.
  • I believe you that your spouse has been emotionally and psychologically abusive. Unfortunately, I do not think we have enough evidence to prove that at trial. I’m not sure we can convince a judge to limit your spouse’s time with your children, and trying to do so without having enough evidence may result in your motives being questioned.
  • The research indicates that an equal time-sharing schedule is not ideal for children who are the age of your children.
  • Your children’s educational and medical needs make it important for them to spend the majority of their time in the same household. Because your spouse has been their primary caretaker, it makes sense for the children to live with the other parent.
  • Based on the information you have given me, I do not think a judge will allow you to relocate across the country with your children. It is possible you will spend a lot of money trying to build a case to support relocation, and then go to trial and lose. If that happens, the court can require you to pay the other parent’s attorney’s fees.
  • Based on various circumstances, you are not entitled to spousal support, and though I can advocate for you to receive it, I do not think a judge will award you alimony at trial.
  • Yes, it is unfair that if you begin dating before your divorce is final, you will be barred from receiving alimony, but your spouse can date as much as they want right now. Unfortunately, that is the law in this state.
  • Throughout your marriage, you did not have financial difficulties because you and your spouse earned nice incomes. But the amount of consumer debt you incurred indicates that, despite your incomes, you were living beyond your means during the marriage. Two households are more expensive to operate than one so your standard of living is likely to be worse after your divorce, at least for a period of time.
  • We can divide your marital property evenly. But because of the substantial debts incurred during your marriage, the property division is going to hurt more than it helps you. The sooner you accept that outcome, the sooner you can move on with your future and rebuild your financial life.
  • You and your spouse do not have many significant assets, despite being married for many years. The property division is likely to result in each of you receiving one-half of the marital estate. The home you love has the greatest value of everything you own, but it is not likely you can afford to keep it after the divorce.
  • Yes, your spouse has established multiple business entities and makes money operating them. But because of the nature of the businesses, they cannot be sold to any third party for a significant amount, which means there are fewer options for dividing your marital assets.
  • Child support is based on a formula, and the Family Court cannot print money. If the other parent has never earned more than $40,000 per year, then it is unlikely the court will require them to pay child support that covers the costs of their housing, groceries, clothing, and many extracurricular activities. You may not be able to afford to send your children to private school, and you may have to make decisions about which extracurricular activities are too expensive to continue.
  • Though the other side has some weaknesses in their case, you do too. If we take your case in front of a judge, it is likely that neither of you will look good. You will not “win” by going to court, which is why continuing negotiations is truly your best option.
  • The more times I have to remind you of these truths, or request your cooperation in preparing your case, or follow up repeatedly for needed information, the more you will have to pay me to be your divorce attorney.

When a divorce lawyer gives you this kind of guidance, it is not because they are unsupportive or lack faith in your case. It’s because they have an obligation to provide you with an honest assessment about the likely outcomes for your case. 

Additionally, most divorce lawyers understand you have to make big decisions that will affect your future, and they will encourage you to seek a second (or even third) opinion. If several divorce attorneys reach the same conclusion, then you probably need to accept some uncomfortable truths about your case.

The best divorce lawyers are focused on helping clients, which means not allowing them to believe myths about what is likely to happen in their divorce cases.

the best divorce lawyers tell you like it is!

3 They remember everyone involved is human and encourage you to do the same.

Divorce is often a highly emotional and stressful process for clients. Empathy helps lawyers understand and connect with their clients on a personal level, allowing them to better address their needs and concerns throughout the divorce case.

But the best divorce lawyers will extend empathy to others involved in your case, as well. In South Carolina, as required by Rule 402(h)(3), SCACR, every lawyer participates in a “swearing in” ceremony, during which they recite the following oath:

The Lawyer’s Oath

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that:

I am duly qualified, according to the Constitution of this State, to exercise the duties of the office to which I have been appointed, and that I will, to the best of my ability, discharge those duties and will preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of this State and of the United States;

I will maintain the respect and courtesy due to courts of justice, judicial officers, and those who assist them;

To my clients, I pledge faithfulness, competence, diligence, good judgment, and prompt communication;

To opposing parties and their counsel, I pledge fairness, integrity, and civility, not only in court, but also in all written and oral communications;

I will not pursue or maintain any suit or proceeding which appears to me to be unjust nor maintain any defenses except those I believe to be honestly debatable under the law of the land, but this obligation shall not prevent me from defending a person charged with a crime;

I will employ for the purpose of maintaining the causes confided to me only such means as are consistent with trust and honor and the principles of professionalism, and will never seek to mislead an opposing party, the judge, or jury by a false statement of fact or law;

I will respect and preserve inviolate the confidences of my clients, and will accept no compensation in connection with a client’s business except from the client or with the client’s knowledge and approval;

I will maintain the dignity of the legal system and advance no fact prejudicial to the honor or reputation of a party or witness, unless required by the justice of the cause with which I am charged;

I will assist the defenseless or oppressed by ensuring that justice is available to all citizens and will not delay any person’s cause for profit or malice;

[So help me God.]

divorce lawyer demonstrating how property will be divided in a divorce case

Your Spouse is Human

It can be easy to slip into a mindset of assuming your spouse or “the other side” is intentionally making your case harder to resolve or trying to force you to accept an unfair settlement just to end the litigation. Sometimes this is true, but most of the time, your spouse is being the same flawed human you married, but in the different, more formal context of divorce litigation.

Usually, your spouse is experiencing the same feelings of confusion and overwhelm that you are. You are not responsible for managing those feelings or accommodating them. However, forgetting the opposing party is human can lead to needless litigation and make a contested divorce out of one that could have been an uncontested divorce. The best divorce lawyers will help you pursue your goals without needless destruction or chaos.

This is especially important in divorce cases or child custody disputes when maintaining a civil relationship between the parties can be beneficial for long-term interactions. When lawyers acknowledge the humanity of the opposing party – and encourage you to do the same – they can help preserve whatever positive aspects of the relationship remain, which may ultimately benefit you and your children.

When lawyers acknowledge the humanity of the opposing party, it can help de-escalate tensions and reduce hostility between the parties involved. By fostering a more respectful and empathetic atmosphere, the best divorce lawyers can encourage constructive dialogue and cooperation, which may lead to more amicable resolutions.

couple talking to a divorce lawyer

Family Law Judges and Court Staff Are Human

Every aspect of law practice in South Carolina, from the top to the bottom, is managed by humans. 

The South Carolina Supreme Court is made up of five humans. Likewise, the South Carolina Court of Appeals is made up of nine humans. At any given time, there are approximately sixty humans who preside over South Carolina Family Court cases.

There are forty-six counties in South Carolina, and there are forty humans who are elected to serve as the Clerks of Court. Clerks of Court are responsible for docket management, receipt of fees, fines and costs, maintenance of all court records, and submission of reports to a variety of state and federal agencies. In Charleston County alone, the Clerk of Court oversees a staff of 82 human county employees managing approximately 35,000 cases at any given time. 

The court reporters who transcribe every proceeding are human. Even in courtrooms that use a digital court recording process, a human is required to ensure the equipment operates correctly.

Then, in any particular case, each of the parties, each of the lawyers, and any Guardian ad Litem is also human.

In addition to formal efforts to encourage civility in the practice of law, the best divorce lawyers will instinctively encourage you to remember the humanity of every person who touches your case, and to grant grace to those people, even if it is undeserved.

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4 They explain why the process doesn’t always work like it’s supposed to.

When the process does not unfold as it is supposed to, it can be frustrating for even the most seasoned attorney. Because the judicial system consists almost entirely of humans, sometimes, the process is affected by humanity.

Some research indicates that judges’ decisions are affected by how long it has been since they last ate. Sometimes, judges might also have bad moods, car trouble, health complications, or family members to care for. These are all very human circumstances to manage.

This humanity touches every stage of family law cases, and sometimes, it is inconvenient — and even unfair — to the litigants who want their divorce and separation process to move forward smoothly.

The best divorce lawyers can, and do, explain the known circumstances that could disrupt your case, and they provide guidance on how to move forward despite obstacles.

doing through a divorce will be easier if yo can find the best divorce lawyer

5 The best divorce lawyers outline a strategic plan for your goals, and then execute it.

From the very beginning, the best divorce lawyers evaluate the client’s goals and needs, taking into account both legal and personal aspects. They discuss what the client hopes to achieve through the divorce process, including property division, child custody, spousal support, and related matters.

The best divorce lawyer focuses on behavior and your desired outcomes, not emotions. The lawyer will develop a strategic plan tailored to your specific circumstances and objectives, including your priorities, the complexity of your case, and the budget you have available for the litigation. 

Collaboration between the divorce lawyer and client is crucial for ensuring that the strategic plan aligns with your goals and preferences. The best lawyers will give you insights on how to divide marital property and related matters, minimize conflict with your former spouse, and move you toward a resolution of your divorce case so you can get on with your life.

signing divorce paperwork

How To Find The Best Divorce Lawyers

The best divorce lawyers serve as guides through this turbulent journey, armed with honesty, empathy, and strategic insight. By acknowledging the humanity of all involved, they pave the way for more amicable resolutions and empower clients to embark on new chapters of their lives with clarity and confidence.