How To Hire The Perfect Divorce Attorney
Getting divorced is a stressful and confusing time. As well as coming to terms with the end of your marriage and coping with the emotional upset, there are lots of practical things to think about too. You may be asking yourself questions such as: What happens to the kids? How will we split our assets? Where will we live?
It can be difficult to know where to start. However, the first thing to consider should always be your divorce attorney, and finding the right one for you. It’s not as easy as you might think. You need someone that you feel comfortable with and that you trust to work on your behalf. Your divorce attorney’s style and approach needs to fit with your own.
Divorce can also be costly and the wrong lawyer can mean time wasted and bills piling up. So if you want to hire the perfect divorce attorney for you, follow our simple steps…
What Kind Of Divorce Do You Want?
There are several options when it comes to divorce and which one you choose really depends on your individual situation and the health of the relationship with your partner. Mediation is a good first option and it can be the simplest way to settle issues and divide assets. However, this relies on there being a dialogue between the two parties and a willingness to discuss and reach an agreement.
There is also a collaborative or cooperative divorce. These routes involve negotiation and communication, with the aim of avoiding costly and drawn out court proceedings. Are you open to trying mediation or collaboration, or has the situation between you and your partner become so negative that you feel things can only be settled in court proceedings?
Whatever path you choose, you’ll need a lawyer whose style and expertise supports your philosophy on divorce. Do they lean towards negotiation? Are they confrontational enough to fight for you in court if needed? Ask for their trial record and history of success in court, should it come to that in your case. Having an attorney on your side with substantial experience in court will be important if you know your divorce cannot be settled cooperatively.
Shop Around For Your Perfect Divorce Attorney…
Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to dive in with the first solicitor you speak to. While divorce is a confusing time, this is when you need to keep your cool and choose wisely. Try to narrow your list down to at least three potential attorneys and arrange to meet them for an ‘interview’. Sit down together with a list of questions and try to get a feel for if they are right for you.
Questions you should ask include:
- What is the likely outcome of your case?
- What are their hourly costs?
- How accessible are they – can you reach them directly by phone and email?
- How long is your divorce likely to take?
- What are your chances of obtaining custody?
- What is their experience/success rate?
- How will they keep you up to date?
How they act in the meeting could sway you one way or another. Are they focused on you, supportive and understanding? Or are they checking emails and giving you the hard sell? Your gut instinct is often the right one.
Where your divorce lawyer or family law firm is based is pretty important if you think about the time and expense of travelling – an added stress at an already difficult time. Don’t be swayed by fancy city centre offices, as there’s no guarantee you’ll get a better service than with smaller, local firms. Being able to pop to your solicitors for meetings is a big advantage.
You’ll want to be sure your attorney has the right experience and skills to handle your divorce as smoothly and professionally as possible. Look for a specialist in divorce or family law and check how much experience they have. How long have they been practicing and how many cases have they handled? You’ll also want to check that they are registered with the Law Society and Solicitors Regulation Authority.
Word of mouth and first hand recommendations are still the most effective way of finding a potential divorce attorney, but these days, you can see reviews of their services on Google and social media. While you do have to take a broad view of online reviews as part of the bigger picture in decision making, they are still an important part of your research.
More expensive doesn’t always mean a better service. Large, established law firms with shiny offices can charge more but there’s no guarantee you’ll get a better service than with smaller or newer firms.
Try to have an idea of how much you can afford and make sure you know how much your solicitor charges before entering into any agreements.
Depending on what’s involved and your particular situation, a smaller firm or solo lawyer could provide better value. If you have children, pensions, businesses, investments or a complicated financial situation in any sense, then you may need a more experienced firm and it could be worth paying more.
Getting divorced is often devastating, but try to keep conversations with your attorney to business only. Remember, they are on the clock and you don’t want to rack up bills pouring your heart out. Family and divorce attorneys do understand how hard it is, but you should look for emotional support from your family and friends instead.
Looking Out For You…
Yes, attorneys are on the clock and law firms have to make money like any other business, but really good divorce lawyers care. They care about getting the best outcome for you and take pride in providing a good service. They are not going to draw proceedings out so they can meet their billing targets, but will move things along as efficiently as possible and look to keep costs at a reasonable level. Good divorce attorneys are focused on settling matters as swiftly and smoothly as practicable so that the emotional upset is not prolonged and you can get on with your life.
Nobody plans to get divorced, but sometimes things just don’t work out. If that happens, hiring the perfect divorce attorney for you at the outset can make a huge difference to your divorce experience. If you’d like to find out more about hiring the perfect divorce attorney, speak to our friendly specialist team.