Five Smart Steps to Choosing a Divorce Lawyer
Divorce is an emotionally and financially draining challenge for anyone to face. However, with the wrong lawyer by your side, the entire process could take longer and be even more painful than necessary. You may be inclined to hurry up and get things moving, but take the time to follow these five steps when choosing a divorce lawyer. Making the right choice the first time can reduce stress and leave you happier in the long run.
Step 1: Learn what you need in a lawyer. No two divorce lawyers are exactly the same. Each attorney may offer different areas of expertise, experience in different court systems, or specialties in certain aspects such as couples with children or those with a high net worth. Consider your situation and determine which type of divorce is the best fit for you. A good place to start is by asking friends for recommendations or looking at reviews online.
Step 2: Set up a consultation with potential hires. During a free consultation, you can usually gather all the information you need to decide if a potential divorce lawyer is a good fit. Be sure to ask them about associates that will also be on the case and other resources or colleagues they have access to, such as financial experts and parenting coordinators. You can also ask for information such as trial record and history of success in court to help aid in your decision. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for specifics about the attorney’s rates.
Step 3: Look out for any red flags. During your consultation, keep your eyes open for anything suspicious or sneaky. Divorce attorneys may make grandiose promises, gossip about previous clients, or bad-mouth competing lawyers in town. If they seem untrustworthy, listen to your gut. And if any lawyer makes you feel uncomfortable or seems dismissive of your case, run in the opposite direction!
Step 4: Stay focused on your goals. Divorce stirs up a lot of emotions and it can be easy to let those emotions distract you from your goals. While it is important to hire a divorce attorney you can trust, remember, they are not trained to be your therapist. Keep the price and time down by being realistic about your expectations from your legal counsel and be willing to compromise when you need to.
Step 5: Make your choice! Now that you know what kind of lawyer you want, have determined your needs and budget, weeded out any unsavory types, and made a commitment to your goal of divorce, it’s time to make a decision. While there are no guarantees that everything will go perfectly, you can feel confident knowing that you took your time and hired the lawyer with whom you feel most comfortable representing you and your desires.