If you’re considering divorce, you are probably wondering how to choose the right divorce attorney. You’re looking online and perhaps asking around. It’s important to determine just what you’re looking for in a divorce lawyer and how you envision your divorce going. Then, choose someone you respect and get along with who has the same vision. Here’s what to look for:
Someone who has handled divorces like yours before. You might be in the military, have a lot of assets, expect a lot of conflict, own a business or farm, or have international issues, for example. Your attorney should know how to handle these.
Someone who handles the divorce process you’re interested in. Will there be any contested issues in your divorce? If so, would you like to negotiate them yourself? Engage in mediation or collaborative law? Is the lawyer inclined to fight hard for results or tamp down the conflict?
Someone with the experience and resources you need. Your lawyer should have negotiation, courtroom and other dispute resolution experience. They should have a network of divorce experts available. They should ideally have strong connections to the local legal community. They should be able to use technology persuasively. A firm with sufficient capital and a dedicated support staff is ideal.
Someone who is prepared. Every step in your divorce is important. Your attorney should be prepared for every hearing and eventuality.
Someone who will keep your documents and money secure. Your retainer and any other money you provide to the firm should be put in its own account. You should receive detailed bills.
Someone who will be up-front and honest with you. They should spell out their policies and procedures, what you can expect to pay and how you will be billed. The lawyer you meet with should be the lawyer you’ll be working with.
Someone who will go the extra mile for you. Your lawyer should be compassionate with you and committed to helping you. They should be ready to step in with a plan to solve the problems you are facing. They should treat you like a valued client and fight to protect your rights.
A few red flags to look for: You should pay attention to what any prospective divorce lawyer says and how they say it. Are they telling you something just because you want to hear it? Do they talk disrespectfully about former clients? Were they distracted during your meeting? Did they fail to return your phone call or email right away?
Feel empowered to call. Although most divorce attorneys do charge for consultations, you should not hesitate to call for information and to get a sense of who you would be working with.
Take the guesswork out of choosing the ‘right’ attorney. These tips will help you find a compassionate attorney who understands what you need.