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Lawyer Versatility and Divorce - Experience Counts

One critical item rarely considered by those who are entering the divorce process is the number of legal fields which a family lawyer must have better than passing familiarity on while advising the client and litigating the case. Here in Louisville (and in Kentucky in general), we are fortunate in that our family courts grant a fair amount of latitude in arguments and don't require skilled counsel to present panels of experts on each item of valuation or each ramification of differing allocation of parenting time. As a result of this latitude, however, we must be alert to bedrock principles of law, the vagaries of local economics,local educational performance issues, and in our analyses we should know our limitations and be willing to bring in outside help and testimony if needed.

In addition to the fundamentals of divorce law, high caliber, quality divorce counsel should demonstrate an understanding of:

1. State and Federal tax law as regards ongoing tax issues during the divorce, as well as the tax ramifications of the disposition of business, investment and retirement assets.

2. The law as it relates to real estate transfers, mortgages, lien priorities and the extinguishment of notes and obligations. Also beneficial is some knowledge of the underwriting process as well as anecdotal information about credit availability.

3. The law as it relates to debts and collection, as well as a working knowledge of the United States Bankruptcy Code.

4. The law as it relates to retirement security, as well as that pertaining to military pensions.

5. The law of closely held business corporations, particularly as it relates to structure and governance.

6. Typical local valuation of real estate, business assets and personal property.

7. The basic setup of local public and private school systems, basic aspects of the school calendar, and which means a litigant may take to seek out special assistance for a minor child.

8. The availability of local counseling services, substance testing and treatment and educational services.

9. The local business climate, together with some aspect of knowledge of comparable rates of pay for similar services.

This list is not meant to be exhaustive, but demonstrates that any good family attorney should be versatile and experienced before undertaking complex family litigation.