Hiring a Divorce Lawyer
You will need to hire a divorce lawyer if you are unable to
do your own divorce
or you and your soon to be ex spouse are gridlocked on any of the issues.
Is hiring a lawyer as simple as opening the phone book, closing your eyes and choosing whoever your finger lands on? Well, you could go that route. But, your divorce is a major expense in your life much like doing major renovations on your home. If you choose someone at random to replace your plumbing and they have never done plumbing before, you could regret that decision every time you run water. So how then do you find a divorce attorney?
Tips for Hiring a Divorce Lawyer
• Ask for referrals from family and friends. Even if they have never been divorced themselves, they may know someone who has or know a good divorce lawyer by professional association through their job. They may also be able to warn you about lawyers to avoid. Bad news seems to travel faster than good news.
• Ask for referrals from your
or community groups who provide support for those going through a divorce.
• If after asking others, you still do not have any recommendations, go to your phone book and call some lawyers. When you call them, ask if they would be willing to provide references from previous clients or put you in touch with previous clients so you can find out what kind of job they have done for others.
• Personality is important. You will be discussing some very personal issues with your divorce lawyer and you will need to be working with someone you feel comfortable with. You should feel comfortable that they are listening to you and have yours and your children’s best interest at heart.
• Their style and motivation will also be important. If you are seeking to have disputes mediated and resolved and are not looking for revenge, a lawyer whose style is to win at any cost, may not be a good match for you. If you are seeking to honor God, choosing a Christian lawyer who shares your beliefs may be a good fit.
• While the length of time they have been practicing law is of concern, more important is how long they have been practicing in your area. Are they familiar with the judges in the family courts and how they work? Are they experienced in your jurisdiction and knowledgeable about with the laws that apply to your case?
• How much of their case load is divorce cases? If they only do a couple of divorces a year, you may want to keep looking for someone who is more specialized in divorce litigation. Have they handled cases similar to yours? If so, how did they turn out?
• Are they up to date on tax and real estate laws? Are they experienced in both custody cases and monetary settlement cases?
• How many of their cases end up in court? Do they have court experience? If your estranged spouse is being particularly combative, you may end up having to go to court. If you do, is your lawyer experienced enough to handle it?
• Are they honest? When you ask them what they think the outcome of the divorce will be, do they paint a realistic picture or are they promising you everything you want and more? You do not want your lawyer to make you feel good; you want them to do their job and seek what is best for you and your children within the confines of the law.
• Do they offer a written agreement? You can avoid a lot of unexpected expenses if you have a written contract outlining what your costs will be. Of course if the divorce process drags on because of disputes from your spouse, there will likely be additional expenses.
• How much do they charge? While price should not be the primary factor in choosing your lawyer, it is important to know what they will require for a retainer or how much they charge per hour and what they think the total cost will be. Ask for an estimate outlining all the expected costs including disbursements.
Have An Interesting Lawyer Story?
Something others should look for or watch out for when choosing a divorce lawyer? Tell us about your experience - the good, the bad and the ugly.
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