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  • Inside Track
    September 15, 2010

    Choosing a Process for Divorce: Newest addition to consumer pamphlets helps clients select the best divorce process

    Choosing a Process for DivorceSept. 15, 2010 – Helping your clients understand the various divorce processes just got a lot easier. Choosing a Process for Divorce, a seven-page pamphlet developed by the Family Law Section, educates the public about mediation, collaboration, lawyer negotiation/litigation, and pro se options. The newest addition to the State Bar’s consumer pamphlet series, this easy-to-read brochure gives a brief explanation of each process, lays out the typical scenario each process follows, and includes brief explanations outlining why different options may be used based on the couple’s specific situation.

    The Family Law Section’s goal, according to Past Chair Susan A. Hansen, is “to explore ways to encourage parties to obtain legal advice so they can make informed decisions, which will lead to better agreements and reduce the rapidly escalating post-judgment litigation that keeps families in conflict and overburdens court calendars.”

    “If you handle divorce cases, helping your clients select the right divorce process for their situation is the first step in making informed choices,” says former section Chair Carlton Stansbury. “Emotions often overwhelm clients when they need to think clearly, and the information you provide at the initial consultation is invaluable and may establish a foundation for the rest of the case. Helping your clients to understand that there are several ways to approach these issues and reach reasonable resolutions for their family before conflict takes a toll on their financial and emotional well-being is time well-spent.”

    Consumer pamphlet series

    The consumer pamphlet series communicates basic information about 20 legal issues that many people eventually face. Each pamphlet – available in print or licensing for law firm websites – answers commonly asked questions, defines concepts and basic terms in plain English, and describes the need for, and role of, an attorney. Consumer publications save lawyers time by answering clients’ basic questions. Publications can be used in law offices, presentations to the community, and on firm Web site to educate clients.

    The series can be displayed in law offices, distributed during community presentations, donated to community resource centers, or licensed for posting to firm Web sites. Attorneys can customize all State Bar publications by stamping their firm name, address, and phone number on the back.

    Pamphlets are available in packets of 50. State Bar members receive discounts on pamphlets: one packet is $20; 2-10 packets are $18 each; 11 or more packets are $16 each. Six- and nine-pocket display racks also are available.

    Licensing an online version is simple

    As more and more law firms establish websites, there is a need for trustworthy, substantive content to attract potential clients to the site and showcase a firm’s practice expertise. Attorneys can license online versions of the consumer pamphlet series for display on their website. View a sample PDF of Choosing a Process for Divorce (does not reflect the print version).

    The pamphlets are updated frequently to reflect legal changes, and licensees will be notified when material is updated. The license fee does not grant a law firm permission to print out the pamphlets for client distribution. The material is available in both PDF and HTML formats.

    Consumer pamphlet licenses are priced at $65 per title and are good for one year before renewal. For more information, visit the Consumer Pamphlet Series online license page on WisBar.

    Other State Bar consumer publications

    The State Bar also offers publications that address end-of-life and probate issues, guardianship responsibilities, and a variety of law-related education resources for classroom and community presentations.

    • A Gift to Your Family: Planning Ahead for Future Health Needs educates the public about issues surrounding advance directives, such as powers of attorney for health care, living wills, and other issues such as organ and tissue donation. This comprehensive 28-page end-of-life planning guide, available in both English and Spanish, costs $4 for members and $4.50 for nonmembers, plus tax, shipping, and handling. Volume discounts are available

    • A Handbook for Personal Representatives, developed by the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section, is a 24-page booklet that spells out a personal representative’s basic responsibilities and tasks. The handbook explains basic legal concepts related to probate, clarifies the role of the attorney, provides an overall checklist of tasks to be accomplished, and details central tasks such as preparing an inventory, listing all claims, and maintaining financial records. This book is available for $3 to members and $4 for nonmembers, plus tax, shipping, and handling. Volume discounts are available.

    • Understanding Guardianships: A Handbook for Guardians gives clients basic information about guardianships and a guardian’s duties. It outlines the court procedure followed to appoint a guardian, and guides those who serve as guardians. This handbook takes the mystery out of guardianship by outlining how courts appoint guardians and helps clients understand the role of the guardian. It’s just one more way for you to highlight your abilities to meet your clients’ legal needs. This book is available for $4 to members and $5 for nonmembers, plus tax, shipping, and handling. Volume discounts are available.

    • The State Bar also offers a variety of law-related educational resources to assist lawyers with classroom and community presentations, and educators with civics curriculum enhancement. Resources include brochures, videotapes, classroom activities, lesson plans, and law-related education programs.

    For more information, contact the State Bar at (800) 728-7788.

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