Facing a divorce can be an overwhelming development for anyone. Majority of the affected people often lack prior legal experience that is required to deal with the problematic nature of divorce proceedings. During my practice as a divorce coach, I have come across people who wasted money and time trying to find the right attorney to tackle their case. Indeed finding a good attorney for your divorce proceedings cuts down on time and financial burden, in addition to lessening the emotional strain that comes with divorce. But the question is how do you find the right divorce lawyer when you are not aware of what to look for in a divorce attorney?
Here are seven steps you can follow to find the right divorce attorney for you:
1. Be Realistic
First, you should understand that a divorce constitutes a legal process that solely aims at dissolution and distribution of matrimonial assets, in addition to addressing custody issues. It is the responsibility of your divorce attorney to offer their best representation in the course of divorce proceedings. The attorney may sympathize with your frustrations, anger, and pain, but their job really is to handle the legal process surrounding your divorce. Defense attorneys will charge you for their time, and it is essential that you put your emotions together and engage them strictly on legal matters to save time and money. Therefore you should be realistic on the nature of legal help you require and what you expect from your divorce attorney.
2. Stay focused on the divorce goal
You ultimately aim at getting divorced relatively regarding relationship dissolution, asset distribution, child custody and support, and any other pertinent issues. You shouldn’t allow emotions to cloud your negotiations on asset distribution as this may not be very significant to you but will make the divorce a more drawn-out litigious and definitely expensive affair. You should ask yourself whether the things you are fighting for are really worth it. You will need to sober up and cut down on your over-the-top litigation demands if you have to keep the divorce process fast and inexpensive.
3. Understand what you want from the divorce
It is crucial to understand what you want from a divorce before seeking legal assistance. Only enlist the services of a divorce attorney when other alternatives have failed to yield fruit. When there is no much contention on things like property distribution, child custody and support, you should consider hiring a divorce mediator instead. Mediators just work as well as divorce attorneys and often deliver a quick and inexpensive divorce settlement. However, if the divorce is too complicated, you will require the services of a divorce lawyer to negotiate settlement terms with the attorney representing your spouse. Some spouses opt for a collaborative divorce, which primarily aims at upholding the co-parenting relationship. T
Typically, when all negotiations run into a stalemate with no party willing to compromise or concede ground, then the divorce proceeds to a litigation trial. At this level, you should understand what you want from the divorce and the kind of divorce attorney you will need. You need to be aware that divorce attorneys will try to buy you into their own understanding and experience with such matters, but you have to stick to your reasons for seeking professional help.
4. Shortlist from at least three potential attorneys
Don’t rush into arrangements with any given divorce lawyer. It is not possible that any attorney will deliver to your expectations. You must, therefore, find an interview at least three lawyers before settling for one that will best represent your interests. You will be better off hiring lawyer that deals in family law and one that is experienced in handling divorce litigation. The divorce attorney should take you through the process, communicating and negotiating effectively to help sort out outstanding issues. A resident attorney, who understands divorce trials or judges that handle cases in your locality, is better as they will help you develop an appropriate legal strategy. There are a number of ways you can use to find potential divorce attorneys. You may ask for recommendations from friends or ask for leads from other legal associates such as your property attorney. You can also get a good attorney from websites that post reviews on lawyers or law firms.
5. Conducting research and interviews on potential attorneys
Start by making phone calls to your potential attorney to inquire about their services, mainly if they practice family law and their experience in the field. Ask them about the nature of their clientele and the rates charged for the legal services offered. Majority of divorce attorneys charge an hourly rate plus a retainer – an advance fee. Some divorce attorney will base on the anticipated settlements to negotiate and set a price.
If one attorney’s fee range is outside your expectations or what you can afford, move on to the next without wasting each other’s time. Many lawyers provide a free consultation to discuss the specifics of your case and how they will offer approach it. This should be an opportunity for you to collect some legal advice. Make sure to meet up with the attorney that will be directly involved in the handling of your case as they may be different from the one offering consultation. You should also be aware that the divorce process is not limited to lawyers only. Other professionals likely to be involved include parenting coordinators, coach facilitators, financial experts, and forensic appraisers. Kindly inquire to find out whether your attorney can mobilize all these resources as it is essential to your case and will impact on the overall cost. It is also advisable that you look at the attorney’s success rate, even if you have no intention of proceeding to trial. The track record will offer you a heads up on how the attorney will succeed.
6. Beware of red flags
Beware that lawyers can get sneaky at times. Many will agree with you on many levels just so as to close the deal. While the success of your divorce could be a critical milestone in your life, to them it is just business as usual. Make sure that the attorney is making promises that can be delivered, as small mistakes can affect the outcome. You should be wary of attorneys that tell of how they have handled high profile divorce cases or those that divulge confidential information on previous cases they have handled. If the attorney keeps interrupting the conversation to respond to phone calls or emails, then chances are that they won’t be fully available for your case. See to it that the lawyer you settle for has the ability to abide by professional ethics that guide the legal industry, respects and is attentive to your case.
7. Settle for a choice
Briefly, the divorce attorney you settle for should have the following attributes: practices within your locality, is experienced and knowledgeable in handling divorce cases, has the capacity to conduct business in a professional way, in addition to excellent communication skills. He should be a person you feel comfortable communicating your worries to, and understands the philosophy that drives your decisions. If your divorce includes child custody, the lawyer should be able to make affair legal argument rather than unreasonable child support demands that may crumble your case.
You should be aware of the fact that divorce is a highly emotional and personal matter that could have significant impact on your life. As much as the separation is essential to you, there is no guarantee that the outcome will favor you. If you follow these steps however, you have a high chance of finding a divorce attorney that is best placed to help you.
For more help on divorce attorneys and the laws surrounding them, visit the attorneys at Laughlin Law today! They can be found here:
Laughlin & Company Lawyers Mediators
2755 Lougheed Hwy #710, Port Coquitlam, BC V3B 5Y9