When faced with divorce, it’s often difficult to know where to turn for help. The decision to legally end a marriage is the beginning of a process that most individuals have little experience navigating. Without the support of a good divorce attorney who is adept with and up-to-date on the intricacies of divorce law, that process can become overwhelming.
Just finding a divorce attorney can be a confusing and stressful process. With so many seemingly qualified attorneys to choose from, you want to be sure you’ve picked the right fit for your situation.
This will require a bit of research, but by following the guidelines in this article, you can gather the information needed to make an informed and confident decision about the divorce attorney you ultimately choose.
Find an Attorney Experienced in Divorce and Family Law
Just finding an attorney is not enough. Attorneys specialize in different disciplines of law, so you will need to focus your search on someone with actual proven experience specifically in the area of divorce and family law.
The in-depth knowledge of ever-changing laws, familiarity with local courts and judges, and insight into the legal strategies used in divorce cases that a specialist offers can save you time, money and headaches throughout the divorce process.
Get Referrals from Trusted Sources
People you know may have gone through a similar experience to your own. Trusted friends, coworkers, and psychologists can often provide solid referrals for divorce attorneys and can provide you with feedback and answers to your initial questions about attorneys with whom they’ve worked.
These are some questions you may want to ask your referral source(s): What was it like working with the attorney? Did he/she seem concerned with your well-being (not just treating your divorce as a job)? Did he/she answer all of your questions and keep you informed throughout the process? How were the children’s needs taken into consideration?
Prepare Questions for the Attorney
Once you’re ready to contact a divorce attorney, make sure you’re prepared to ask the right questions.
Create a brief list of questions to ask potential attorneys, such as:
- How long has he/she been practicing law?
- Has he/she handled cases similar to yours?
- Does he/she go to trial often? In divorce cases, this is not common, so an attorney who does go to trial often may not be as qualified or may not provide the results you want.
- What are the retainer and attorney fees?
- Who will be your main contact throughout your case (i.e., the attorney or an assistant attorney)?
- Does he/she have any resources or materials that might help you through the divorce process? Articles and referral sources can be a valuable extension of the attorney’s services and can provide you with guidance and answers that you can explore in your own time.
Get Legal Answers You Can Understand
Attorneys spend a lot of time immersed in the law and can tend to use legal-speak, which can be confusing. While you do want an attorney who is experienced with the law, you need to be sure you can get answers and information in plain English. This will help you understand your case throughout the process and keep you informed and in control of your situation.
Look Out for Your Children
Children need special care from parents — and special consideration from divorce attorneys throughout a divorce. If you have children, be sure to hire an attorney who is experienced in the intricacies of family law and who is concerned with the well-being of your children.
Don’t Base Your Decision on Price Alone
It’s true that most of us don’t have endless funds, but when selecting a divorce attorney, don’t base your decision on price alone. Ask about fees up front. Is there a consultation fee? What is the retainer fee? What are the attorney’s hourly fees? Weigh these costs into your decision-making process, but don’t make them the only deciding factor. You need an attorney who meets all of your criteria in order to achieve the most favorable results for your case.
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