You don’t want to waste money on a lawyer who won’t fight for you. But you also don’t want to waste time trying to find that attorney.
The realization that your marriage is coming to an end is never a happy one, but the process doesn’t need to be harder than it has to. Finding a divorce lawyer shouldn’t add stress to an already difficult situation.
5 Steps to Choosing the Best Divorce Attorney for You
Understanding what divorce does is a great place to start when looking for the right divorce attorney. A divorce is often a complicated legal process that deals with the division of property, establishes parenting plans and child support when applicable, and requires both parties to cooperate in a difficult time.
The key to a smooth divorce is hiring an experienced, knowledgeable family law attorney. But how do you do that?
We’ve outlined a few steps to help walk you through finding the right divorce attorney for you.
Step #1: Think logically
In some situations, personal feelings cause more trouble in a divorce than legal proceedings. It’s an emotional time, but it’s important to think logically — not emotionally.
When you let your emotions get the best of you, it makes negotiating over material things difficult. You may end up arguing over a piece of furniture for months. This results in a longer and more expensive than average divorce. In the end, you may realize you spent more money on litigation than the single piece of furniture could ever be worth – no matter the sentimental value.
That’s why it’s important, going into a divorce that you think logically. Keep your head straight and make rational decisions that are practical, diplomatic, and smart.
Step #2: Make decisions early on
When it comes to making decisions about your divorce, you want to make them early on. You don’t want to run out, retain an expensive lawyer, and then realize your spouse was open to mediation. Mediation is a much cheaper way to dissolve a marriage, and if that’s the case, you may not need an attorney.
Now, if you have children, it complicates negotiations. Child support and visitation schedules might require an attorney to reach an agreement.
You also need to consider how complicated your finances and assets are. If you have a lot of property to divide or tangled up estates, things can get very complicated, and it’s best to have an attorney on your side to help determine value, create a plan, and guide you through the process.
After you figure out what type of divorce you are looking at, it’s easier to narrow down the best attorney for the job.
Step #3: Ask for referrals
When searching for a divorce lawyer, a good place to start is usually with word of mouth from those close to you. You want reviews and feedback from someone you trust. You can just open the yellow pages and start calling every family law attorney. But you’ll have better luck asking around.
Ask your closest friends for recommendations. Even if your friends haven’t used the attorney themselves, they may remember how the attorney handled a relative’s case. Or if you have an estate or trust attorney, they may have good recommendations, as well. Follow up these referrals with your own online research, and compare other lawyers in your area.
Step #4: Go in for Consultations
Once you have a list of attorneys to start with, you’ll want to schedule consultations. Some attorneys offer consults for free, while some will charge a small fee.
At your consultation, you’ll want to ask a lot of questions — prepare these ahead of time and make sure the attorney is qualified for the task at hand.
Some important questions to ask include:
- How long have you been practicing family law?
- How much do you charge and what is the estimated cost of my divorce?
- What do you think the outcome of my divorce might be?
- Do you know my spouse’s attorney?
- Who at the law firm will be handling my case?
These are just a few questions to get the right conversations started. But make sure before you leave their office, you listen to their plan for your case. Go over their strategy for your divorce.
By asking these questions and hearing their game plan, you’ll have a better idea about how well you and the divorce attorney will work together.
Step #5: Be Realistic
Be realistic with your game plan, though, as well as your finances — and your attorney’s job.
It’s your divorce lawyer’s job to handle the dissolution of your marriage. They aren’t there to coach you through the emotional parts of the divorce.
Divorces are expensive, and if you expect your attorney to listen while you vent about your spouse, it may get costly. Your lawyer is there to help you through the process – and you may need to express your frustrations at times, but it is important to keep your meetings productive and to task to ensure you’re making progress and saving money.
And that’s something else that needs realistic expectations—cost. Consider what you can afford in an attorney. You may like one lawyer’s gameplan better, but if you can’t afford to proceed through without draining your savings, then they may not be the attorney for you.
Are you ready for consultations?
Divorces get messy. You need an experienced divorce attorney who is an expert in family law—someone who will help you set realistic goals—someone that you trust.
Whether you’re filing for divorce or have been served divorce papers, you may feel like your world has come crashing down around you. It’s a very vulnerable and confusing place to be in, which is why you need the best legal counsel possible to navigate all the ins and outs of divorce law.
Attorney Hunter Fowler has provided legal services to many individuals in your precise situation and will work with you through every detail of your divorce proceedings to ensure the final outcome is what you want for yourself and your family. Contact Hunter Fowler today to get the legal counsel you deserve.