A divorce can be a difficult experience for anyone. Acknowledging that a marriage is over is the first step – but next is finding a divorce attorney. The right lawyer can streamline the process, protect a client’s rights throughout a divorce proceeding, and help him or her get on with life faster. Here are a few important factors to consider when choosing an attorney for a divorce proceeding.
1. Stay Focused
Some people let their emotions get in the way of making sound decisions during the divorce, and that also applies to lawyer selection. Stay focused on the goal – the dissolution of a marriage without a major depreciation in the current lifestyle. Pick an attorney who can fulfill this goal – not someone a friend recommended because he or she was a “shark.”
2. Identify a Few Potential Candidates
Start by casting a wider net – for example, by talking to friends and family and reading reviews on an attorney’s website or on Yelp. Based on the initial research, narrow the search further, based on an attorney’s approach and your goals for the divorce. Meet with each candidate and discuss goals, objectives, and philosophy surrounding a divorce proceeding. Look for good communication, problem-solving, and negotiation skills.
3. Consider Other Methods of Dispute Resolution
The right divorce attorney won’t simply jump into litigation as a solution. Rather, he or she should explain alternative methods of solving issues common in divorce. Willingness to mediate or arbitrate will save lots of time and money over litigation overall. Choose an attorney who is willing to work with third parties to resolve some of the most contentious aspects of divorce.
4. Be Wary of Attorneys Who Seem Too Good to Be True
Unfortunately, some attorney will simply tell clients what they want to hear to add another case to the load. Be wary of any attorney who seems to be making promises he or she can’t keep. No attorney should promise results in a meeting, nor should he or she divulge confidential information about clients or disparage other attorneys. If any of these red flags occur in a meeting, it’s time to look elsewhere.
5. Find a Good Personality Fit
An attorney might seem experienced, knowledgeable, and willing to take on a case – but even when a candidate checks all the other boxes, sometimes personalities simply don’t mesh. This can make communication difficult and prolong your divorce proceeding. If something seems off about the way the attorney handles him or herself, find someone with a better personality fit.
6. Transparency Is Key
Find an attorney who will be transparent – not only about the process that’s to come but also about the fine print, such as costs. Ask an attorney about the fee schedule and what to expect regarding the cost of the divorce. Most good divorce attorneys understand that divorces are a significant cost for the parties involved. As a result, they should be upfront about the way they charge.
The cost may be an important aspect for everyone, but don’t reject a potential candidate because he or she charges for an initial consultation. The information in this initial meeting could be invaluable, as this is when an attorney provides insight into the divorce proceeding and what a client can expect.
Choosing the right divorce attorney requires research, introspection, and interviewing several potential candidates. Consider important aspects like alternative dispute resolution, personality, transparency, and cost.