Facing a divorce can be a tough time and not knowing what to do next is common among many couples. Well, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to know how to find an excellent attorney who can give you the legal advice you require at an affordable price and be the ideal fit for your current situation. However, this is usually not as easy at it sounds.
Why Picking The Right Divorce Attorney is Important
Every lawyer has their own beliefs, philosophies, ideas and ways of going about things. Every attorney has their own approach to divorce and each one of them is great at some things and not so great at others.
Some attorneys are excellent in courts but would cause havoc in a collaborative divorce. Some are excellent negotiators, but not great trial lawyers. Varying divorce attorneys excel at handling varying types of divorces. Some are good at handling complex financial situations and others are excellent in high conflict divorces management. Heck, some have even streamlined their practices and are able to help individuals with limited resources.
The goal here is to get through your divorce in the best way possible and so, it is imperative that you pick the best attorney. Here are a few tips for that:
Pick the Divorce Process That You Want
This is obviously, the first and most important decision that you will have to take. You need to decide whether you want to use litigation, collaborative, mediation or any other form of divorce. You can then start hunting for a divorce attorney with substantial experience in that domain.
What is crucial is that you match the lawyer you pick with the divorce process that you have chosen. If you wish to get divorced amicably, it would be a poor decision to hire a shark lawyer who will just escalate the situation between you and your partner. On the contrary, if your partner hires a shark lawyer and you are in court fighting for your life, then it will be wise to hire one that can handle such level of conflict.
Figure Out What Form of Legal Service You Require
In my opinion, everyone going through a divorce requires legal advice, but not everyone is capable or needs a $400 per hour law firm on their side. If you own companies, in a complex financial situation or own a lot of assets, then you may need a huge law firm or at least a lawyer who comprehends finances and is well equipped to handle your situation.
However, if you have a short marriage, no real estate and no children, then choosing a big law firm is just overkill. You will end up paying them a lot of money for a job that an excellent solo attorney could handle and charge you for less.
Know What You Can Afford
The last thing you want when undergoing a divorce is to shed thousands of dollars to a divorce attorney. However, remember the adage being penny wise and pound foolish. You need to strike a balance between the services that you need and the cost of the legal services that you can afford. You also need to be honest with yourself.
If you have a six-figure salary and own multiple businesses and properties, then you can afford a lawyer. If you have something to lose, then picking a cheap lawyer may end up costing you more than you wanted to save. On the contrary, if you live paycheck to paycheck, are in debt and own zero assets, then getting a high-powered expensive divorce attorney isn’t the way to go. It will make you feel better, but you might end up in bankruptcy court as well.
Perhaps the best way to find an excellent attorney who specializes in family law is word of mouth. If you know somebody who has undergone a divorce and was satisfied with their attorney, then get the lawyer’s name. However, you should ask them what type of divorce process they went through. If your friend went through litigation and you want mediation, then you may not want to use their attorney.
Also, if you know of any attorneys in other fields of law ask them for a referral. Attorneys know each other and your real estate lawyer neighbor might point you to a great divorce attorney.
Take Advantage of the Internet, But Use It Wisely
Your potential attorney’s site should give you a clear picture of their philosophy. If the site talks about how they will fight for your rights, then chances are they are a trial lawyer. If they talk about staying out of court and divorcing amicably, then they are likely to work well in collaborative or mediation divorce.
Avoid getting impressed by an attorney who has a slick site or pays to have their ad on the first page of search engines. A lawyer with a huge marketing budget isn’t necessarily the best for your case. On the contrary, if the lawyer’s site has not been updated for years, you should immediately start looking elsewhere.
You’ll also want to use the internet wisely. The web is excellent for validating referrals and garnering information. Ensure that you interview the lawyer properly if you’re going to pick one online.
Pick a Lawyer With Experience in Family Law
When getting a divorce, you will certainly want an experienced individual by your side. This isn’t the time to hire your cousin who specializes in real estate or business law. You need an attorney who regularly deals with divorces or family law.
Getting an experienced legal representative, however, does not mean you have to hire one that only handles divorce cases. Some attorneys, particularly those in smaller towns usually handle varying types of cases such as Dean Hines. This does not mean they will not properly handle your divorce. You just need to avoid a lawyer who handles just one divorce every few years.
Ideally, keep in mind that you want to hire an attorney who can handle the type of divorce you want.
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