Among all the confusion in divorce, picking a law firm may not be your top concern. While a divorce lawyer is not absolutely necessary, a lawyer can make the whole process go a lot smoother, especially if you have no prior legal experience. Finding the right lawyer can be difficult, but after this article, you will be able to navigate the divorce lawyer field.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when finding the right divorce lawyer, or divorce attorney, for you.
Take Stock of Your Situation
All divorce cases pose their own unique circumstances and challenges but some divorces can still run quicker than others—and your case is no different. For example, if you and your spouse don’t have children and aren’t completely financially entangled, you might not need a lawyer at all. In particular, if your spouse is cooperative, hiring an experienced mediator offers the quickest, cheapest method of splitting assets in a way that pleases you and your spouse. However, if you’ve thoroughly mixed finances and assets or had children, a divorce lawyer will know the legality of splitting these issues better than a mediator. If that sounds like you, proceed with finding a good divorce attorney with these next steps.
Understand What Your Lawyer Is For
Every divorce case is difficult, no one can argue that. But the point of a divorce is to legally dissolve all assets and resolve custody issues between you and your spouse. Your divorce lawyer is there to aid this process. It will be tempting to talk to your lawyer about your emotional process during the divorce process, but the lawyer is not only not trained for this but will still be on the clock whenever you talk to them. Divorce lawyers have seen it all, but they haven’t seen a therapy degree. Save time and money and keep meetings with the divorce lawyers solely on the divorce process.
Set Up Goals and Expectations
What do you want from this divorce? Obviously, to get divorced from your spouse. But you should also try to make the process go quickly and easily, avoiding lifestyle depreciation in the process. Discuss with your lawyer what assets or custody rights you want the most out of your divorce.
Set Up a Budget
Like with all divorce cases, finding the right divorce lawyer means finding someone who can operate within your budget range. Different firms will offer different rates, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that the most expensive lawyer will do the best job considering what you want to get out of your divorce. Do some research and try to establish what price range (and thus lawyers) you can work with.
With that, continue with choosing the right person.
Look Up the Lawyers in Your City and County
Seeing local lawyers reduces travel time, which cuts subsequent travel costs. Besides, local lawyers understand the legal system specific to where you live, helping you navigate the legal nuance of divorce in your region. Ask friends for any recommendations, call up local divorce law firms, or do some quick google searches to find potential lawyers.
Pick Your Top Three Lawyers
Once you’ve found someone in your region, taking into account your budget limitations, choose the top three lawyers who look the most promising. Depending on your situation, you might need someone with family law expertise or someone with a more financial background. Regardless of lawyer specifics, a good lawyer will be someone who is knowledgeable in the divorce process in your area, communicates well, negotiates better, and solves problems creatively.
Interview Your Lawyers
While a lawyer will do their job no matter what, get a lawyer you personally like to save yourself a headache. If the lawyer cares about you as a person, not just another client, they should be happy to answer a few questions before you decide to hire them. The best lawyer will have your best interest in mind, but keep in mind that there should be a few things to look out for.
What kind of history does the lawyer have? How long have they been practicing? What is their expertise and what kind of clients have they dealt with in the past? A lawyer’s past professional history helps you understand how they’ll be able to help you. And if this is your first divorce, use the interview time to get a better picture on what the divorce process as a whole is like. There’s nothing wrong with asking questions and feel fully empowered to do so. When it comes to understanding divorce, less knowledge is not more.
Watch Out for Red Flags
While divorce tilts your life, the divorce process is just another day at the work for the lawyer. From this, lawyers might try to shift your divorce into their area of expertise. When interviewing your lawyer, notice if they get constantly distracted by phone calls or emails. Do they try to rush you or seem like they’re selling you something? Do they talk about past clients casually or divulge confidential information? Chances are, they’ll do the same to you. A lawyer who won’t respect you outside of court probably won’t respect you in it. Remember, your divorce can have major implications on your life, and if your divorce lawyer in any way takes that lightly, they’re not the right lawyer for you.
Decide On the Right Lawyer
Taking all aspects of your situation into consideration, and after interviewing your potential lawyers, pick someone who you feel most comfortable with. This person should be local, a good negotiator with a great track record, and has a philosophy towards divorce that is similar to yours. They give you their sole attention and will respect you in and out of court, and you’re confident that they will represent you well. You can rest assured knowing that the divorce will proceed smoothly.
Be prepared to do further research based on specifics of your divorce, such as child support, custody rights, and ownership of unique assets. Divorce is murky and difficult to navigate, but after reading this article, you’re now able to pick the right divorce lawyer to help you through it.