How Important is Legal Representation in a Divorce?

A couple of years ago I wrote an article on whether or not a person really needs a lawyer when getting a divorce. The longer I practice family law, the more convinced I am that not only does a person need legal representation, the type of representation is just as important. Would you go to an Urologist for a foot injury? I think not. And, what happens when your general practitioner doctor discovers you have cancer? Does he/she treat you? No, they send you to an endocrinologist, or other doctor who specializes in cancer treatment.

The same is true in law. How important is it to have as much time with your children as possible? How important to you is lose more than your fair share of the community assets? How important is it for you to know your full legal rights regarding spousal support, how to determine the extent of community assets, etc? Deciding to do it on your own, or hiring an attorney who does not specialize in family does not make sense.

This becomes an issue quite frequently with people who consult, and ultimately retain my firm. They may have tried to do it alone. Or, perhaps they chose an attorney who practiced more than one are of the law and was not well educated in family law. Quite often this office encounters such clients who were not properly represented and they come to see my office to clean up the mess.

Recently, the Los Angeles Times had an article about this vary issue. A Judge in the Los Angeles Superior Court discovered that there were thousands of cases in the system where people never completed their divorce. The Judge had discovered that although some of these people had reconciled, the majority of them thought they were divorced, and worse yet, some had remarried, making them unintentional bigamists!

How important is having an attorney? Very. But more important than having an attorney, make certain it is an attorney who only practices family law. Better yet, hire a family law specialist. The State Bar of California provides you with information as to whether or not your attorney is a specialist. Just go to their website, www.calbar.ca.gov and search for your attorneys name. If the attorney is a certified legal specialist, you will see on their information the words “Legal Specialist” and the area of law next to their name state their area of expertise. If your attorney is truly a legal specialist, it will say so. If you do not yet have an attorney, the State Bar website also lists specialists. Follow the following prompts: go to “attorney search” on the home page, on the next page go to “legal specialist search,” on the next page under “specialty area” pull up family law and under county pull up San Bernardino County (for Chino Hills). It will give you the names of the certified family law specialists in San Bernardino County.

The bottom line is don’t do it alone and don’t hire just any attorney. Look for the best. Look for a certified family law specialist.


Edwards-Swift & Associates | Family Law & Divorce Attorney Chino | Hills, CA

When my case was passed onto Pam to take over after a previous associate left the company I was nervous. We met for the first time at the court house, heading into court to set trial dates.
We had a break before coming back in and grabbed a bite to eat. I was able to speak with her freely, as if she were a friend. (A very expensive friend haha)
She was easy to talk to and it was clear that she was passionate about her work and that made me feel like more than just a paycheck.
The results of the custody battle were in my favor, thanks to her.

Thank you for your compassion Pam.

Brittany R., Las Vegas, NV

My husband and I reached out to Pam for custody and child support dispute for my 5 year old step son almost a year ago. These situations are never easy but having a knowledgeable attorney made a world of difference. We worked with Pam and her para-legal Evelyn and we couldn’t be happier with end result. I would highly recommend Pam and her team if you’re looking for someone to look out for your and your child’s best interest.

Licet T., Chino, CA

I am grateful for Pam Swift and her staff! They were supportive and understanding during my time of need. Unfortunately due to my cases particular circumstances, it took years to handle. But in the end, her services blessed us with freedom from one of the most traumatic times of our lives.

Jennifer Reimer

OUTSTANDING Attorney. Took care of business, went on the offensive and balanced the scales. Very much appreciate Pamela’s care and understanding of my situation. Could not be happier with the results!

Steve D.

Pamela Edwards-Swift was a life saver when I had to take my ex back to court to gain primary custody of my daughter. Throughout the entire process, Ms. Swift clearly explained the process, set very clear expectations with me regarding each phase of the court proceedings, made solid recommendations to me which helped me decide on the best overall situation for my daughter. Our custody battle took just over one year, and what impressed me most about Ms. Swift is the results we got happened exactly as she said it would! I highly recommend Ms. Swift!

Mike Rodgers

Pam and her team exceeded my expectations. I’ve never had to higher a lawyer before and I met with a few before her. I felt comfortable, reassured and that she had not only mine but my daughters best interest for my case. I highly recommend her. She has years of experience in all types of family law cases.

Christina Hradisky

I have known Pam Swift professionally for the last ten years.  She is professional, knowledgeable, cares about ther clients and looks for amicable ways of handling very tough situations.  I highly recommend her.

Dr. Betty U.

I found Ms Swift to be a top notch attorney who has both experience and integrity. My estate attorney referred me to her because she had worked with her on a number of cases and was impressed with her ethical skills and personable style. I have nothing but praise for the way she and her team, especially her paralegal, Evelyn, handled my divorce. My case was somewhat complex and yet they doggedly worked their way through it always looking out for my best interests with a positive attitude. She and her staff easily have my 5 star vote!

Andrea G., Sierra Madre, CA

Pamela Edwards-Swift?

  • Over 22 Years of Family Law Experience
  • Commitment To Earning Your Trust & Confidence
  • Certified Family Law Specialist
  • Exclusively Focused on Family Law Matters
  • Family Law Mediator
  • Mediation Consultant


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