Getting a divorce is likely one of the most stressful events in your life. It’s difficult to know where to turn and how to find the right help. Most people simply don’t have any experience with the legal ins and outs of the divorce process, which makes an already difficult situation all-the-more challenging.
Finding the right divorce attorney is key to any divorce case. If you go it alone, you may leave money on the table, lose assets, and even end up losing custody or getting less visitation. There are many divorce attorneys out there, but how do you choose the right one? Here are the five essential traits you should look for to help you find the right divorce attorney for you.
1. The Attorney Is Equipped With References
Some of the best attorneys don’t advertise themselves. They don’t have to. They rely on past client referrals, other lawyers, and other professionals. Instead of finding your attorney via a billboard or social media ad, talk to your friends and family. Chances are, you know someone who has gone through a divorce, likely more than one person. Ask them who they went with, and ask if they were pleased with their attorney’s attentiveness and performance.
What You Don’t Want
Make sure the people you talk to have direct experience with the attorney in a professional capacity. Only get information from someone who has hired the attorney in a family or divorce law case. You don’t want them to refer you to an attorney they met somewhere and simply had a chat with at some function they attended.
2.The Attorney Is an Authority in Their Niche
Family law is different from other types of law. You wouldn’t want a contract or tax attorney handling your divorce. Both types of law are entirely separate from one another. Any attorney you choose should specialize in family law and be sensitive to the emotional and practical aspects of negotiating a divorce. The right attorney should have experience in handling all types of issues that arise in a divorce, such as:
- Financial negotiations
- Real estate
- Trauma from domestic violence
- Child school and education issues
- Child Support and custody
- Alimony (spousal support)
This is just a short list of the base-experience a divorce attorney needs to represent you properly. Ask them about their areas of expertise and their success rate in and out of trial.
What You Don’t Want
Many attorneys out there advertise themselves as a “do it all” type of attorney. They may offer services in a smorgasbord of fields of law. While they may have a lot of experience, they may not have the knowledge you need to navigate your divorce if they don’t specialize in anything in particular. Even what looks like the most straightforward divorce can get complicated quickly. Make sure you choose an attorney who can help guide you through the process step by step, and knows how to navigate complicated divorce cases.
3. The Attorney Understands Divorce Strategy
Divorces can be easy and amicable or long and drawn out, or anywhere in between. Only you understand your ex and how they handle disagreements. Will they dig in their heels, or will they work with you to get things over and done with?
Your attorney should have strategies to handle any situation that arises with your ex. A good attorney has experience resolving divorce disputes with meditation, alternate dispute resolution, and litigation. There is a time and place for each of these strategies, and a good divorce attorney will know which one is best suited for your case.
What You Don’t Want
Some lawyers like to stoke the flames rather than putting them out. Even if you feel like you may be in for a fight, make sure the attorney knows how to help resolve things before resorting to a trial that will inevitably cost much of your time and money.
4. The Attorney Feels Comfortable Talking About Personal Issues
Every divorce is different, and there is likely something in your case that makes it unusual or challenging. You’ll be asked many personal questions during your divorce, especially if you end up in court. Make sure you’re comfortable talking to the attorney about personal issues regarding your marriage and its dissolution. A few of the most common questions you may be asked are:
- Did you adopt a child? Did you use a sperm donor to produce a child?
- Do you have any property that is part of an inheritance?
- Do either of you own a business?
- What debts do you have that need to be addressed?
- Do you have any investment accounts, pensions, or other retirement accounts? Does your spouse have any?
You want to talk about the tough issues with your attorney upfront. Ensure they thoroughly understand (and can communicate) the law and how it affects each issue that may arise during the divorce proceedings. The right attorney has experience with the problems you bring to them. How they respond to the big issues in your initial consultation helps you judge their empathy towards emotional issues and whether or not they have the ability to handle your case in the way that is best for you.
What You Don’t Want
It can be enticing to settle a case quickly and just get it over with. However, an attorney who pushes for a quick settlement may not fully understand your situation. If you get the feeling that the attorney you’re considering is trying to gloss over and avoid the tough questions, they likely aren’t the right attorney for you.
Choose The Best Divorce Attorney for You
You don’t just need someone to guide you through the complexities behind filing for divorce. You need someone who will listen and win the best possible outcome for you.
Experienced Tennessee divorce attorney Hunter Fowler is here to help you through the divorce process.
He has handled many divorce cases just like yours and will work through your divorce with and for you, fighting for the outcome that works best for you and your family.
From establishing temporary parenting plans to simply filling you in on Tennessee divorce law in all of its details, we are here for you. Contact us today to get the legal counsel you deserve.