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1. Joy, how can I pay?
You can pay by check, cash, and by credit card. I accept payment by credit card and echeck. Remote payment by credit card and echeck are available through PayPal.
2. Joy, I have consulted with several lawyers and I am not sure who to pick.
What do you want from a lawyer? If you want someone who is good at case- and team management, does not encourage unnecessary litigation, is easy to reach by telephone and email, works one-on-one directly with you, is highly involved in child advocacy and mental health issues, and is experienced and hard-working, then I may be right for you.
3. Joy, isn’t it really just about winning?
In family and mental health law, it is not just about winning. I like to win, don’t get me wrong. However, the people I work with have so many considerations that “winning” just isn’t the right word. Having your children come out of a divorce still feeling loved and cared for, being able to co-parent despite legal conflict, preserving money and assets, maintaining dignity and one’s values…these are all very important considerations.
4. Joy, will you help me to lie, cheat, and take the low road through this divorce?
No…no, and no. I strongly believe in professionalism and ethics. Judges expect a high degree of professionalism from all attorneys and my behavior reflects on your credibility. We are expected to work cooperatively on case management issues, such as scheduling hearings and depositions. And, we are expected to follow the law and procedural rules, which are extensive, in family law. In the end, working cooperatively and with professionalism saves you money and reduces unnecessary conflict and anxiety.
5. Joy, why shouldn’t I go to my business lawyer to do my divorce?
A competent lawyer can learn unfamiliar areas of the law. But, family law is one of those areas that is highly specialized. The statutes and rules change often. There is an extensive history of case law precedent. There are local rules and customs. In family law, experience counts.
6. Joy, what other professionals besides attorneys do we need for my divorce case?
A good divorce lawyer recognizes the need to use a team of professionals, when possible. We may consider working with a forensic accountant, a divorce financial planner, a forensic psychologist, a family therapist, a mediator, a Guardian ad Litem, an occupational specialist, appraisers, a real estate and/or mortgage specialist, a relocation specialist, and an educational and/or career consultant, depending on the needs and issues of your case.
7. Joy, I have heard the term Guardian ad Litem before...what is that?
A “GAL” is a person, often a lawyer in family law cases, who has been trained to be an advocate for the best interest of children involved in the legal system. A GAL may investigate the allegations that involve the child, can address the court and make recommendations, and report the child’s wishes. You can get more information about GALs generally by going to the website of the statewide Guardian ad Litem Program, which is a public program for advocacy mostly in the juvenile courts of the state. See, www.guardianadlitem.org. I was certified as a GAL in 1987, formerly served as the Program Attorney in Palm Beach County, and I have been appointed to many Family Division cases to serve as GAL. I helped develop the curriculum for, and I have taken the certification course for Guardian ad Litem Training for Family Court.
8. Joy, what is this new Collaborative Law I've heard about?
Collaborative law consists of the two clients and their collaborative lawyers which form the base of the collaborative team. The collaborative process involves negotiations between both parties with the assistance of the collaborative professionals. This is all done outside the courtroom eliminating the need for hearings, filing of pleadings and formal discovery. Decision-making rests with the parties not a judge and they decide when and where to negotiate. Disputes are resolved based on fully disclosed information in the transparent process. For more: http://choosecollaborative.com/
9. Joy, are you a certified family mediator?
Yes, I am. I have been certified by the Florida Supreme Court as a trained mediator for family law cases. I have the background in business and tax to facilitate settlement of complex equitable distribution and support (alimony and child support). I have the background in children’s advocacy and mental health issues to facilitate settlement of difficult parental responsibility and timesharing conflicts. I would appreciate and be honored by your consideration to serve as a mediator in your family law case.