No one is ever excited to file for divorce. Even if you know divorce is the right choice for you and your spouse, the process can still be frustrating, confusing and upsetting. Having the right legal advocate by your side during this time can make all the difference. Your divorce attorney will be handling the complex details of your case, so it’s important that you hire a professional whom you can trust.
Credentials and Specialization
It may sound obvious, but make sure the lawyer you choose has experience in divorce/family law or even lists it as one of their specialties. Your lawyer should already be competent and knowledgeable in divorce proceedings. If you have children, you will benefit from seeking out an attorney who also has experience in child support or custody cases. Think about it this way: if you needed open heart surgery, you wouldn’t go to a brain surgeon; you would want a doctor who had performed this operation before and was extensively trained. Choosing your divorce lawyer should follow a similar standard.
Know Their Reputation
Do your research on the lawyer you are considering. Browse their website before calling to see if they sound like a good fit and have the necessary background and education. You can read former clients’ reviews and testimonials online through the law group’s website or legal resource sites such as www.Avvo.com. You can also see if the law practice is accredited through the Better Business Bureau and if they received an acceptable grade.
Divorce cases often touch upon a lot of delicate topics, from finances to visitation rights, so it’s a smart idea to find a lawyer who is on the same page as you. Most lawyers offer a consultation to discuss your situation and the direction you want to take your case. They will need to know the details of your marriage and your objectives for the divorce.
Make the most of your consultation and really try to get a feel for whether or not you and this attorney would be compatible. Obviously, their personality will play a role in this, but also note if the lawyer is respectful, professional and willing to answer your questions. Additionally, does this attorney take the approach you want? Do you want a lawyer who will simply get all the paperwork done, or do you need a tougher advocate on your side? Are you looking for a quick, simple process in which both parties are in agreement, or is your case a bit more complicated? You should feel comfortable with your lawyer and trust his or her judgment in your case.
As you might expect, you will need to consider the financial aspect of choosing your divorce lawyer. You can typically inquire about retainer fees or hourly fees during your initial phone call or consultation. The cost of a good lawyer will vary depending on the region and their level of experience. Know what you can realistically afford and be honest with each potential attorney about your budget.
Remember, a good family law attorney is an investment. As your case is most likely of great importance to you, feeling comfortable with your decision is essential. After all, you want to feel like your lawyer is working with you, not against you. You will be working together for several months, so don’t be afraid to ask any questions that will make you feel completely confident that you are in experienced, organized hands.