10 Tips for Selecting the Right Divorce Attorney
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Deciding to divorce your spouse could be one of the most stressful and painful moments in a person’s life. The strong emotions accompanying it can make going through the often complex divorce process feel like an insurmountable weight has been placed on your chest.
Divorce attorneys (a subsection of Family Law) specialize in the entire divorce process from start to finish, help smooth over differences between disagreeing parties, and even offer a sympathetic ear to listen when you feel overwhelmed or upset.
Hiring a divorce attorney is often one of the first steps any person seeking a divorce will perform, and it is easily the most important, as their guiding hand can help make every subsequent step much easier.
Once you have planned to acquire an attorney’s services, your first big decision is which attorney to choose and why.
What is a divorce lawyer?
A divorce lawyer is a legal professional who specializes in handling divorce cases. They provide legal advice and guidance to clients who are going through a divorce, and help them navigate the complex legal process of ending a marriage.
What is a divorce attorney or lawyer? Divorce lawyers can represent clients in negotiations with their spouse and their spouse’s legal team, as well as in court if necessary. They can help clients with issues such as child custody, division of property, spousal support, and more.
Family divorce attorneys must have a deep understanding of family law and the legal system, as well as excellent communication and negotiation skills to help their clients achieve the best possible outcome.
How can I afford a divorce lawyer?
Affording a divorce lawyer can be a concern for many individuals who are considering or going through a divorce. Some options for making legal representation more affordable include finding a lawyer who offers a payment plan or reduced rate, utilizing legal aid services, or seeking pro bono representation through a local bar association.
It may also be helpful to consider alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation or collaborative divorce, which can be less expensive than traditional litigation. It’s important to do research and carefully consider options before making a decision.
10 tips to find the right divorce attorney for yourself
How to choose a divorce attorney? Below you will discover six essential tips for hiring a divorce lawyer process, so you can be assured that you will have the most appropriate lawyer for your unique situation and needs.
It’s important that you get an attorney for divorce that works in line with your approach.
1. Figure out what type of divorce you want first
Not all divorces are identical. There are many different reasons why couples decide to split up formally. Sometimes this decision is amicable. Other times, this decision creates great hostility. Sometimes, there are many assets, or even children, that need to be factored into the equation; sometimes there aren’t.
Depending on the living situation and the relationship you have with your spouse can have a significant impact on the divorce process. So, you must know the criteria for choosing a divorce attorney and what to expect from a divorce lawyer.
Possible ways to go about the divorce process include arbitration, mediation, litigation, collaborative divorce, summary divorce, contested divorce, and others. Spend time researching these methods and select the path that you think will work best for you.
This will also guide you in your quest toward finding the best possible divorce attorney, as most specialize in one or two divorce processes. So, if, for example, you decide that mediation will be the best way to end your marriage, you can then focus your attorney search on lawyers who specialize in mediation.
2. Create a budget
How to select a divorce attorney? Make your budget. As most people know, lawyers can get quite costly for their services; however, that is not always the case.
When calculating your budget, you need to factor in your lawyer’s fees and how much money/assets you stand to ‘lose’ to your spouse if you pick an inexpensive, less experienced attorney who doesn’t effectively fight for your interests.
After you calculate how much you are able/willing to spend, you can then effectively continue your lawyer search, looking for attorneys within your price range.
Related Reading: 4 Steps to Budgeting as a Couple for the New Year
3. Ask people you know for recommendations
After determining which type of divorce you want to explore and creating your budget, you can now begin to search for the perfect attorney for your needs.
Starting with friends and family is the best place you can begin, as it is likely that at least one friend or a family member has gone through a divorce (or, at the very least, are friends with an attorney), and have already been through this whole process.
If you are friends with any attorneys, even if they aren’t the divorce attorneys, it’s very likely that they will know at least a couple of family law/divorce lawyers and can help you get into contact with them
4. Search the web
Suppose you have exhausted your friends and family’s recommendations and still have not found the right lawyer. In that case, there is no reason not to utilize the biggest resource of them all– the Internet.
But how to pick a divorce attorney from such an exhaustive list? Try searching for ‘best divorce attorney near me’ or ‘top divorce lawyer near me’.
While the number of attorneys you will encounter after a simple Google search can feel overwhelming, you can narrow your search by adding the search query to the divorce process you are seeking (arbitration, mediation, etc.).
This will ensure that the lawyers who appear in your search results will specialize in the type of divorce you want.
Concerning the lawyer’s websites themselves, try not to be immediately drawn in by flashy graphics or elaborate animations, but at the same time, if their website is bare-bones and doesn’t look like it has been updated in years is also a bad sign.
Try to focus less on aesthetics and more on the content.
Are they experienced in the type of divorce law you’re looking for?
Do they showcase a track record of proven results?
Do they appear compassionate?
You can glean a lot of these things by looking at a website which can help you in selecting the right divorce attorney.
5. Create a list of interview questions
It is recommended that you schedule appointments (either phone or in-person) with at least 2-3 attorneys (after you have already narrowed down your search through personal recommendations and savvy internet research) before making your decision.
Having an actual interview with the attorney can help solidify your mind if they are the right type of person with the right expertise for your case.
To ensure that you get all the information you need to make an informed choice, create a list of questions beforehand, and ensure to go over each question in full depth. Examples of divorce questions for attorney may include:
- How long have you been in practice?
- What type of divorces do you usually handle?
- Who is your typical client?
- Have you been a representative of cases that were similar to mine?
Be sure to remember to bring a pen and paper with you when performing your interviews. Penning down notes will help you remember what the lawyers said when you are making your decision later.
6. Search for an experienced lawyer with board certification
If you’ve already been through all of our above steps, and you’re still up in the air about who to select, it is recommended that you should choose the attorney from your shortlist who has the most relevant legal experience.
At least you can feel comfortable knowing that an experienced attorney has likely seen it all and shall be ready to fight for you, no matter what you’re up against.
Another important distinction to look for when choosing a lawyer is whether or not they are Board Certified in Marital & Family Law, which is the highest accreditation possible for divorce attorneys.
Board Certified marital law attorneys have an additional legal education and training specific to legal separation and divorce law and will be of particular use for your divorce.
Going through a divorce is a painful event, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Compassion, hard-working, experienced are some of the qualities of a divorce lawyer that can help you get what you want out of your marriage’s dissolution so that you can focus on beginning the rest of your life.
7. Schedule a consultation
Once you have a shortlist of potential attorneys, schedule a consultation with each one. Most divorce attorneys offer a free initial consultation, which gives you the opportunity to meet with the attorney, discuss your case, and ask any questions you may have.
During the consultation, pay attention to how the attorney communicates with you. Do they listen to your concerns? Do they explain the legal process in a way that is easy to understand? Do they seem knowledgeable and experienced in handling divorce cases?
8. Consider their approach to divorce
Different divorce attorneys have different approaches to handling divorce cases. Some attorneys may be more aggressive and seek to win at all costs, while others may take a more collaborative approach and seek to find solutions that work for both parties.
Consider what approach would be best for you and your situation. If you have a complex case with many assets to divide, you may need an attorney who is aggressive and will fight for your rights.
On the other hand, if you have children and want to minimize the impact of the divorce on them, you may want an attorney who takes a more collaborative approach and can help you negotiate a fair settlement.
Related Reading: 5 Proven Solutions to Divorce
9. Check out their fees
Divorce attorneys can be expensive, so it’s important to consider their fees when choosing an attorney. Some attorneys charge a flat fee for their services, while others charge by the hour.
Make sure you understand the attorney’s fee structure and what is included in their fees. Ask if there are any additional costs, such as court fees or expert witness fees, that you will be responsible for.
It’s also important to consider the value that the attorney can bring to your case. While a more expensive attorney may seem like a higher upfront cost, they may be able to negotiate a better settlement or save you money in the long run by avoiding costly mistakes.
10. Look for empathy
It’s important that you feel comfortable and safe while discussing your case with your attorney. For this, your divorce attorney must have an empathatic attitude throughout the process. They should understand your vulnerability in the scenario and act accordingly.
An empathetic attitude will also allow them to listen to you attentively. At times, they might also be able to provide some marital counseling.
If your attorney is acting too pricey or has a conduct that is rough in nature, they likely lack empathy needed to deal with divorce cases which are mostly sensitive. They might leave you feeling guilty or hesitant altogether.
Related Reading: Is Empathy a Friend or Foe?
Top 10 questions to ask before hiring a divorce attorney
Divorce is a difficult process, and hiring the right attorney is critical to ensuring a fair and just outcome. Having some prior knowledge can help you get a sense of the attorney’s communication style, work ethic, approach and success rate.
Here are 10 important questions to ask divorce attorney before hiring them:
- What is your experience with divorce cases?
- What is your approach to divorce cases?
- What is your fee structure?
- Will you be the only attorney working on my case?
- How often will we communicate, and through what channels?
- What is your opinion on mediation or other alternative dispute resolution methods?
- How do you approach child custody and visitation cases?
- How long do you expect my case to take?
- Can you provide references from previous clients?
- Can you explain what sets you apart from other divorce attorneys?
Alternatively, you can watch the video below for top 10 things to ask your divorce attorney:
Find a dependable resource for yourself!
Selecting the right divorce attorney can make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. It’s important to find an attorney who specializes in this field of work and has a rich experience with cases similar to yours.
Additionally, you should consider factors such as communication style, fee structure, and approach to alternative dispute resolution methods. It’s important to ask the right questions, such as their experience with divorce cases, how they approach child custody and visitation, and how long they expect your case to take.
While their background and references from previous clients can provide valuable insight into an attorney’s work ethic and success rate, it’s recommended to also rely on your own understanding and readiness to work with a particular attorney.
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