People who care about you will tell you to go see a doctor at the first sign of illness. If your car is making a funny noise or a warning light comes on, you should have it looked at before it strands you on the side of the road. When it comes to family law issues, these are matters that impact the rest of your life.
Make no mistake about it, developments that occur very early on in your case can and will have a dramatic impact on virtually every aspect of the case moving forward and will also impact the nature of the ultimate resolution, whether that is a negotiated settlement agreement or ruling by the court following a trial, particularly when there are custody and timesharing, as well as property and debt issues at stake. Often times, by the time someone realizes that they really do need a lawyer to help them, it is because there has been some damaging turn for the worst, typically resulting from a hearing. Damage has been done, and now you need a lawyer to try to fix it. Virtually all Domestic Relations cases in New Mexico are public record, so when our office schedules consultations, I typically look up existing cases prior to the consultation to get a sense of the complexion of a case. Unfortunately, many potential clients will have had a hearing within a day or two before contacting our office, indicating to me that the hearing did not go well.
Consider the dynamic of a marriage. By the time one or both spouses consider divorce, communications have already substantially broken down and one or both spouses realize that they only thought they knew the other. You are no longer talking to one another, and you actually do not know who they are talking to, who is advising them, what advice they are getting, what they are planning, or sadly, what the other is capable of in order to achieve their objectives. Remember, it turns out you don’t know them, but you can be sure that your legal and financial interests are not very high on your adversary’s list of priorities. If you begin your divorce and custody case by having to defend yourself against allegations of domestic abuse, you are already in a hole that can be very expensive and time-consuming to climb out of, and if you are stuck with very little timesharing during the pendency of the case, which can be months, you are not likely to end up with liberal or equal timesharing at the end of the case. You will spend most of the duration in “damage control” mode. Likewise, if your spouse has a plan and you do not, you are exposed to substantial financial risk based on actions your spouse may take prior to filing the Petition for Divorce.
With the stakes so high, you cannot afford the risk of losing ground at the very beginning of your case. You need advice and representation from an attorney who knows exactly what they’re doing. This is not a time to look for a bargain lawyer, or go with a friend of a friend. You will get what you pay for and unfortunately, you will also likely regret it. At Sandia Family Law, we practice in the area of family law and only family law, and we have done so for many years. We are well-versed in the pitfalls you are facing, and we will be able to effectively help you avoid them while also proactively identifying your objectives and making a plan to achieve them. Please contact our office so we can put our knowledge and experience to work for you.