If there's one time you want the right person in your corner, it's during a divorce. Having the best attorney for your situation is critical. Here's some crucial expert advice for finding one.
Start by asking your friends, family and financial advisors for references for lawyers that specialize in family law. Create a list of a couple of names and begin your research. You can check out the firm's website, pull up the attorney's bio and learn about their education and experience. Find out what you can about their track record in court. Be mindful, though, that there is a lot of false information on attorney slam websites from disgruntled, unreasonable people. Make sure you get your information from trustworthy sources only.
Set up initial consultations with each attorney. During that interview there is plenty that you should ask. For example, you want to know how many and what kind of cases they've handled and their success rates.
There may not be much difference in costs from beginning to end, so hire someone you are confident will get the job done right. Poor quality representation is the most expensive representation there is. While you certainly want to be sure your attorney has the education and the experience to take on your case, there's more to consider. Chemistry counts. You want an attorney who you feel comfortable with. This is a highly emotional time, temperament matters. Do ask how you will communicate with each other. You want someone who is reasonably available.
Ask for an estimate of what you can expect to pay for the attorney's services, what's included, and what's extra. Find out if the agreement will be written or oral. Getting something in writing is best. When it comes to money, things can be deceiving. Hourly rates can vary, but so can the time someone charges for a work product. It's key to work with someone you trust is honest and will treat you fairly.
Tell the attorney the basics of your story and tell them your goals, what matters most to you – where you draw a line in the sand and what's negotiable. Ask them what they think of your case, where they see potential problems and where there is strength. Inquire about how they would approach your case. What's their philosophy and strategy? Can they be aggressive as need be? Will they be open to pursuing your objectives? If you're not comfortable with what you hear, that may be the best clue that this attorney is not right for you.
Choose an attorney with the great care you would in selecting a doctor or anyone else who will have a significant impact on your life.
While an attorney may offer a flat fee arrangement, realize that if your case winds up taking more time than they project, they may run out of enthusiasm and you won't get the top service you deserve.
Divorce is its own beast. You don't want an attorney who has six “specialties” and one of them is divorce. You want someone who lives and breathes family law.
Maybe the attorney has all the right credentials, but if something about him or her is bothering you that you can't put your finger on, trust your instinct and keep moving down your list.
When it comes to finding a divorce attorney, be thorough in your research. Take into account credentials as well as personal chemistry. Be clear on all the fees upfront. Make sure you are in agreement with how the attorney will approach your case. Trust your instinct.
More expert advice about Divorce and Separation Law
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