There are many people that you need to have in your corner while going through divorce. Legal support is something you will want to consider early as a good lawyer will be able to walk you through divorce process and prepare you for what to expect. Choosing lawyer is a very personal decision and finding the right one can depend on a number of factors. Here are some things to keep in mind as you are deciding who is going to represent and support you through your divorce.
Decide what type of divorce you want (or need)
These days there are many types of divorce processes and lawyers that specialize in each one. Do you want to use mediation, litigation or collaborative or cooperative divorce? Once you figure out what process is most likely going to work for you, then you can find a lawyer that specializes in handling those types of cases. You have to match the lawyer with the process otherwise you may not be happy with the end result.
Figure out your budget
There is no way around it. Lawyers can be expensive. But not everyone needs a $500/hour elite law firm lawyer. If your case is relatively simple (short marriage, no kids, no real estate etc.) then you may be able to get away with a simple consultation with a lawyer. On the other hand, if you have been married for a while, have children and lots of shared assets it is recommended that you hire someone to look after your best interests. Paying a little more to have someone represent you is often worth the money. Balancing what you think you realistically need with what you can afford can go a long way in helping you choose this right lawyer for your situation.
Ask for recommendations
One of the best ways to find a good lawyer is by word of mouth. If you have friends or family members who have been divorced ask them who they used to represent them. Were they happy with their services?
If you can, avoid looking at online lawyer ratings. Often lawyers that choose not to advertise or participate in a site’s rating program may be rated poorly even though they are actually a great lawyer. Also, many people who are going through divorce are not very happy. This can be reflected their lawyer’s rating even though they did a great job for them.
Overall recommendations are great but put more weight into those you get from people you trust. Those that are close to you are unlikely to lead you astray when it comes to something as serious as your divorce.
It doesn’t say anywhere that you have to go with the first lawyer you see. As a general rule you should interview 2-3 family lawyers before you make a decision. All lawyers are different and may have very different viewpoints about how to handle your case. Make sure you are comfortable with their approach before you choose to hire them. You also want to make sure they have a personality that is compatible with yours. Having a good working relationship with them is important as you are going to be spending a lot of time together. Go with your gut, if you feel uneasy don’t be afraid to go find someone else.