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The Association of Divorce Financial Planners (ADFP) is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be addressed to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors, 150 Fourth Avenue North, Suite 700, Nashville, TN, 37219-2417. Web site: www.nasbatools.com.

Hiring the Lawyer

Reading the Contract: If the lawyer you're considering hiring didn't provide you with a copy of his or her standard contract at your interview, you should ask for one now. This document, commonly referred to as a "fee agreement" or "retainer agreement," will spell out the terms of your relationship with your lawyer.

Understanding the Financial Terms: Be sure you understand the financial terms a lawyer is offering you. It comes as a shock to many legal customers when they learn that they are billed by the minute for talking on the phone to their lawyer and for their lawyer's talking on the phone to the other side's lawyer. Billing in this manner is the norm. It is how lawyers earn a living. Think of it as being similar to a store's inventory.

Obtaining an Action Plan: Only one person can rescue you from any dangers up ahead, and that is your lawyer. A truly effective lawyer will harness the energy of the river and use it to steer your raft to a quiet pond where rational thought is possible and an agreement can be reached about how everyone can avoid going over the waterfall.

Sticking with a Plan: A lawyer may have every intention of being assertive, aggressive, and in control of the litigation and then, for whatever reason, fail to deliver on that promise. Plan items are listed here.