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Finding the right divorce lawyer can be a painstaking process. However, it is far more difficult if you have to switch lawyers halfway through your divorce case, because you hired the wrong lawyer to begin with.
Here are 4 tips to help you hire the right divorce lawyer, the first time:
- The sooner, the better.
The beginning stages of a divorce may be very stressful so it is important to find a lawyer you trust early on. When you are in the throes of an emotional separation from your spouse, it can feel extremely difficult to make a clear headed decision when hiring a divorce lawyer; especially if you are running out of time and are forced to make that decision quickly. Therefore, it is important to leave yourself enough time to do your research, meet with different attorneys, and make an informed decision before hiring a lawyer.
- Do your research.
- Reputation does matter: An Attorney with a poor reputation or one who is known to be difficult to work with, is not an attorney you want to hire. If you want to get your divorce over with as painlessly as possible and with the best results, hire a lawyer who has a solid professional reputation. Reach out to friends or family who have been divorced or who are lawyers in your state, and ask if they have heard of the lawyer you are considering.
- Search Online: Google is a tremendous resource for finding lawyers located in your area, and reading reviews and background information about them. It is very common for past clients to post reviews on the lawyer’s google plus page or the lawyer’s own website. You can learn a lot about a lawyer’s style and philosophy by reading what former clients have to say.
- It may be helpful to check your state bar website to make sure there are no pending disciplinary actions against an attorney before meeting with them.
- Hire a Lawyer that Specializes in Divorce/Family Law.
Lawyers that specialize in Divorce and family law are often the most familiar with the judges that may be assigned to, and due to their specialty in divorce law, have up to date knowledge to handle your case.
- Have an Initial Consultation & Ask Questions
It is important to meet the attorney before hiring them, so that you can get a sense of their personality, relevant experience and legal strategy. The lawyer you choose to represent you cannot determine how your spouse reacts during the divorce process or how the judge rules on your case. However, working with a lawyer who is fair and reasonable and who you trust, can greatly reduce the stress from a divorce.
You may find it helpful to evaluate how you felt about the lawyer’s overall demeanor and legal strategy after the consultation:
- Did you feel comfortable speaking openly with this lawyer?
- Did the lawyer listen to your concerns and answer your questions, or
were they busy trying to sell their services?
- Did they give you advice that was frank and honest?
Oftentimes, it is a very good thing when an attorney tells you something you did not want to hear. It is vital that you have realistic expectations about the outcome of your divorce and a clear legal strategy before hiring a lawyer. A good lawyer will give you quality legal advice, and not just tell you what you want to hear.
- What do they charge?
It important to ask if the lawyer requires a retainer, whether or not they work on a flat fee basis, and how much they charge per hour. You may also ask if the lawyer utilizes the assistance of an associate or paralegal to help offset the overall cost of the case. Remember: cheaper is not always better.