MEET ELIZABETH STEPHENSON AND SARAH HINK
Family law has been Elizabeth Stephenson’s passion for 19 years. She enjoys learning her client’s story, as this allows her to dig deep to discover their goals and work with them to develop a winning strategy. That means sitting face to face, when possible, and sharing the pros and cons of their case. Family law cases are oftentimes filled with bitter emotions and resentment, and Elizabeth won’t sugar coat it. She’s upfront and honest about the likely outcome. Every case has its good and bad, and her job is to put her client’s facts and circumstances in the best light to achieve the best outcome. Elizabeth understands the emotional upheaval and stress experienced by families facing separation and divorce and is dedicated to providing steadfast support and guidance to each and every client.
Sarah was drawn to the practice of family law because it allows her to make a real difference in the lives of her clients during an emotional and stressful period in their lives. Sarah believes that litigation should not be driven by the emotions of attorneys or clients, and separating the legal process from the healing process helps keep legal fees and stress levels low. Sarah’s knowledge of the law, emphasis on communication, and her ability to empathize with clients while remaining calm, poised, and pragmatic serves her well in advocating for their best interests in both settlement negotiations and in court. A zealous advocate, Sarah ensures her clients find the stability and security needed to move forward in a positive direction. Being part of this healing process is the most rewarding aspect of her practice. Sarah continues to raise the bar in the practice of family law with her dedication to her clients, professionalism, and advocacy skills both in and out of the courtroom.
IN THIS PODCAST
- Should you consider calling in attorneys?
- If you receive unproductive legal advice, can you turn to a new attorney?
- What is collaborative divorce and when is it useful?
- Benefits of a parent coordinator
- Needing an attorney post-divorce – tips and considerations
SHOULD YOU CONSIDER CALLING IN ATTORNEYS?
“My philosophy is ‘education is power’. So many of our initial consultations of folks who come and see us the first time are still together, or they’re just thinking about it. After they speak with us and find out about their legal rights and options, they may say ‘Okay, I’m ready to move forward’ or ‘let me think about that but thank you, now I know what I need to do.”
Some people think that hiring an attorney to aid them in a divorce is the final resort, or may mean that the process will explode into something more difficult – this is not the case at all. It is a good idea to know and consider what the future would look like after the separation with regards to financial issues, custody options, and an attorney can assist you in this.
Prior to separation, an attorney can give you valuable advice. Everything is confidential and it helps you be aware of all your options.
IF YOU RECEIVED UNPRODUCTIVE LEGAL ADVICE, CAN YOU TURN TO A NEW ATTORNEY?
“If you’re working with an attorney and you don’t feel that connection, or you don’t feel that trust with them, it’s okay to go seek advice from someone else. You don’t have to lock in on the first attorney you speak with.”
Yes, it is never too late to switch. Elizabeth Stephenson says “the client is the boss” and that it is absolutely the client’s choice to proceed how they would like to. Attorneys are similar to advisors in the early days, and if you are struggling to work with and take on board an attorney’s inputs, then you have complete authority to hire a new one.
Be wary of easy-access online assistance. You may sign a contract not thinking much of it but then be locked into an agreement from an online attorney service that would be difficult to remove yourself from. Even though the separation process can be incredibly painful, simply signing a contract will not ease the pain faster, therefore it is important to work with precision and think of the long term as your goal.
WHAT IS COLLABORATIVE DIVORCE AND WHEN IS IT USEFUL?
In a collaborative divorce, each party still needs to be represented individually by their own attorneys, but they work together throughout the separation process. Both parties are required to voluntarily disclose financial information, sit and work together in the same room and talk openly and honestly in order to come to a resolution that benefits both of them, with the help and guidance of their attorneys present.
- There is also an incentive to come to a resolution through collaborative divorce because the collaborative lawyer cannot represent you in court, and therefore both parties would have to pay for an extra set of lawyers should they decide to quit the collaborative option.
- Another benefit of collaborative divorce is that part of the process is to learn how to talk and listen proactively. It is greatly beneficial to divorcing parties that have children and need to learn how to co-parent.
However, if the divorce or separation is particularly high conflict and it would be almost counterproductive to get both parties to work together, it may be easier to work through the standard separation process. Both individuals have to totally agree on collaborative divorce for it to work well.
BENEFITS OF A PARENT COORDINATOR
If the separation is high conflict and the parents cannot come to an agreement on any topic that involves their children or child, a parent coordinator steps in and can help move along the decision-making process. They get matters resolved in a timely matter so that the situation is not unnecessarily drawn out.
NEEDING AN ATTORNEY POST-DIVORCE – TIPS AND CONSIDERATIONS
“So life changes can really cause a new time to speak to an attorney about what the next step is gonna look like.”
There can be changes in everyday circumstances that happen post-divorce that could still require the assistance of an attorney. These could be the introduction of a step-parent if a parent is moving to another state and so forth:
It is advised to weigh it out. Think about weighing it out as cost related to the benefits to see if it would be worth it. Also weigh it out with regards to cost to emotional and physical health because going back to that place time and time again can take a toll on a person, and also their children if they have.