If you are going through a divorce chances are you will need a lawyer. The role of a lawyer in a divorce is varied, depending on the type of divorce process you choose, but generally they are there to walk you through the legal processes of the divorce and be your advocate when it comes to things like custody rights and equalization. They usually play an important role in the divorce process therefore it is essential that you make an educated decision on who you get to represent you through this difficult time. Here are 5 things to consider when choosing a divorce lawyer.
Know your needs
When choosing a divorce lawyer it is important to know your needs. There are many different divorce processes and you should hire a lawyer who has experience in the process that best fits your situation. If you foresee a contested divorce it is important to hire a lawyer who is comfortable in court. If you have chosen the collaborative divorce route there are also specific lawyers who are well versed in this process. In some cases you may even be able to skip hiring a lawyer all together and opt for a mediator instead if you and your spouse feel you will be able to come to an amicable conclusion when it comes to custody and division of property. Divorce is a highly personal process and deciding what your needs are and which process you would like to use will help in choosing the attorney that is right for you.
Set a budget
There is no way around it, lawyers can be pricey. However some lawyers come with a higher price tag than others. It is important to know your budget before you start researching and interviewing lawyers to represent you. While it is never a good idea to “cheap out” when it comes to choosing someone that will help you through the divorce process, going bankrupt to hire the most expensive lawyer from the most impressive law firm isn’t a good option either. Balancing your need for quality representation with what you can afford is essential in making sure you come out of the divorce process in the black.
Do your research
The internet is a great resource for finding a divorce lawyer near you. If they have a website it should tell you a bit about them and what they focus on in their practice. The internet is best used for gathering initial information and validating referrals. You should never hire a divorce lawyer solely based on a flashy website, but if they have a good presence online it is generally a good sign. Asking for referrals from friends or even other lawyers who don’t specialize in divorce is also a good idea. Lawyers in a certain ares often know each other and they might be able to recommend someone who will be a good fit for your situation. Word of mouth is and probably will always be the best way to find a good divorce lawyer.
Make sure you interview at least three divorce lawyers before your make a selection. Write down questions beforehand so you don’t get flustered during the process and forget to gather an essential piece of information. Taking notes during the interview will also help you remember and compare their answers to your questions later. The lawyers you interview may also give you different perspectives on ways to handle your case. This is a good thing as it will help you make a final decision on which process you prefer. Make sure that the lawyer you choose is attentive and doesn’t keep checking their phone or emails during the interview. You want to ensure that they will be focused on your case and if they are unable to sit through a ten minute interview with you without getting distracted it’s not a good sign.
Trust your instinct
In the end it is important that the lawyer you hire is someone you trust and respect. Make sure they talk to you in words you understand (no legalese) and make you feel comfortable and supported. This is someone you are trusting with negotiating terms that will effect your future, therefore you should feel comfortable with the way they interact. When choosing a divorce lawyer use your head but also pay attention to your gut. If you walk away from your initial meeting feeling like you haven’t been heard or with a funny feeling he/she is probably not the right lawyer for you.