Unfortunately, divorce is common and it often plays a massive role in disrupting one’s ability to continue living at a satisfactory level whether financially or in terms of family disruption. Finding an experienced divorce lawyer to help you emerge from a divorce virtually unscathed can be challenging, as the world is clearly saturated with attorneys and not all of them are skilled or licensed. Working with a bad lawyer can devastate your case and in some cases cost you much more than legal fees. Poorly skilled attorneys can make matters worse and lead to your spouse taking everything, including the kids and the dog. By following these tips you can ensure your lawyer is a true expert in his practice area and increase your chances of having your case ruled strongly in your favor.
Determine Your Divorce Process Before You Go Lawyer Hunting
Before you start researching lawyers you must first determine what divorce process to use. These options include litigation, mediation, collaborative divorce or a cooperative divorce. Once you determine the right avenue you will need to find a lawyer who has a winning experience and advanced skills with the particular divorce process you are pursuing.
Determine the Type of Legal Services You Need
It is highly recommended that anyone going through a divorce have legal representation. However, not all people need a massive law firm charging $700 an hour to handle your case. When trying to find a divorce lawyer best suited to help you with your case, ask yourself if any of these following play into the situation:
- You own a business
- Have lots of assets
- Complicated financial situation
- Real estate
- Shared retirement plan
- Stocks and bonds
If you have children then finding a divorce lawyer who specializes in child custody issues is ideal, whereas having a shared business will create the need for a divorce lawyer who specializes in business dealings.
Understand what You can Afford
Good lawyers aren’t cheap. Remember, you aren’t hiring a cleaning lady to sweep up the pet hair and clean your bathroom; you are hiring someone to clean up a current mess that can impact the rest of your life. Therefore, there is real value in investing dollars. However, you need to be able to afford the legal fees and manage the payment method. Some lawyers charge hourly while others charge for a single service. It might be worth your while to seek advice from a financial advisor in order to determine what you can afford.
Do Online Research and Ask Around
If you come across a lawyer who doesn’t have an online presence, be wary. This usually means they have something to hide. The last thing you need is to get involved with an attorney who was disbarred or who has shut down his website due to floods of negative feedback from clients. Look for a divorce lawyer who has a professional website with an active blog and social media presence. Read the content he is sharing with the public and see what others have to say about him. You should also call your state’s bar association and ask around inquiring if he is licensed to practice family and divorce law.
Final Advice Points for Finding the Top Divorce Lawyer
Don’t just settle on the first lawyer you interview, even if you like him. Talk to several of them. Try to get a good read for how each one listens to you. Do they seem in a hurry and finish your sentence for you? Do they seem preoccupied with other things like phone calls or paper work and aren’t giving you 100% of their attention? Do they speak your language and communicate on your level? What does your gut instinct say about the lawyer? These things will help steer you towards working with a divorce attorney who you can trust, communicate efficiently with, and work with in a seamless manner.