You and your partner have decided to part ways and get a divorce. While this decision has no doubt left you upset, sad, frustrated, and disappointed, you need to go through the divorce process so you can eventually move on with your life. An important step in doing so is hiring a competent and skilled divorce lawyer. Below are 5 tips in choosing one.
1. Identify your needs
Before you begin the process of selecting a lawyer for your divorce case, have a list of your needs prepared. That way, you are in a better position to know which one will best meet your needs.
First, you have to decide which process you are going to use for your case. Will it be through mediation, litigation, or a collaborative process? You should also consider your budget. Legal fees are typically arranged in two ways: hourly and contingency rates. Hourly rates are common among most lawyers, and they vary from one lawyer to another.
The price includes the lawyer’s time as well as the time spent by paralegals working on your case. The contingency fee is paid after a successful case. Regardless of the payment arrangement, you should ensure the price is right for you. You should also list out your main concerns. This could include financial interests or child custody and access.
2. Seek recommendations
An effective way to get an excellent divorce lawyer is by word of mouth. You can ask for recommendations from friends, family members, and colleagues who have gone through a divorce before.
You should, however, ask what kind of divorce process these lawyers used to be sure the attorney you choose is the right one for your case. If you prefer litigation, for example, then a lawyer who uses mediation or a collaborative process might not be ideal for you.
3. Conduct in-depth research
Conducting research will help you find the right divorce lawyer for your case. Some of the essential things to check include education background, experience, and qualifications.
You should use the internet to conduct your background checks and gather more information on the attorney. Online directories will enable you to find lawyers and learn about their past experiences in handling divorce cases. For a lawyer that has a website, you can check the ratings and reviews on the site to help you understand the attorney better.
Do not ignore any negative comments or reviews you read about a lawyer you are considering. They are probably written by past clients who are in a good position to make comments.
4. Interview your prospective lawyers
After conducting thorough research, identify at least three attorneys who you can interview. During the interview, you can tell the divorce lawyer your story and hear how they can handle your divorce case.
Depending on which approach they will use, you can select your preferred divorce lawyer to represent you. As you interview the listed candidates, you get to know their personalities and whether you can trust them to handle your case well. Always trust your gut feeling and work with a divorce attorney that you are comfortable with.
You can ask the divorce lawyers about past cases that they have handled. Be sure to choose a divorce lawyer who has been successful in handling similar cases before.
5. Get a lawyer experienced in family law
Some lawyers out there are general litigators meaning they take on all types of cases involving different laws including criminal, wills and estates, and corporate matters.
While a lawyer like this may be able to help you with your divorce, it is best to choose one that only deals strictly in family law. This will guarantee you get someone with the skill and experience needed to represent you effectively.