6 Tips for Choosing the Right Divorce Lawyer for You
You’ve decided you want a divorce, and you realize you need the help of a divorce attorney to walk you through the process.
With so many options, it can be difficult to figure out which lawyer will work hard to get you the closure you deserve. Do you want a “shark” or someone who will stand in the background and let you and your ex work things out? Do you need someone experienced in a specific type of divorce law, such as co-parenting a special needs child or someone who understands the difficulty of divorcing when there’s been abuse.
If you’re searching for a divorce attorney, here are 6 tips for choosing the one that’s right for you:
Sure, you may have heard stories of your friend’s cousin’s co-worker who got absolutely everything they wanted in a divorce, but those cases are, at best, hyperbole.
You may go into your divorce thinking you need to ask for absolutely everything under the sun – full custody, control of the house, and alimony payments – but it’s your divorce lawyer’s job to help you understand what resolution you’re likely to get.
If your attorney tells you that you need to temper your expectations, they’re not trying to rain on your parade. They’re trying to guide you into a realistic understanding of what your divorce will be so that you don’t spend the whole process fighting (and spending money) for something you aren’t likely to be awarded.
Know What You Want
If you want a calm, amicable divorce, hiring a “shark” is going to go against your goals.
Think carefully about what sort of mood you want to send when it comes to your divorce. If your lawyer has a reputation for handling divorces that go against your goals, you may be setting yourself up for a rough time by showing up to a meeting with your ex with that lawyer on your side.
Figure out What You Can Afford
It’s no secret that divorce attorneys are expensive. And, if you engage in a back-and-forth in your divorce that ratchets up the time spent and increases the bill, you could find yourself with a lot of money to pay.
Unless you have a complicated divorce situation with a lot of high-dollar assets, you may not need an expensive, big city lawyer.
If you’re of limited means (and who isn’t, really?), it may be better to consider going with an attorney who is a little less high-profile but who charges a more reasonable hourly rate.
One of the best ways to find out what divorce attorneys are worth working with is to talk to their current and former clients.
Talk to friends, family members, and co-workers who have gotten divorced in the last several years. Ask them their thoughts about their attorneys – and the attorneys used by their exes – and get as much detailed information as you can.
If you hear great things about one or two attorneys regularly, chances are they’re going to be a good choice.
Interview a Few
Don’t go with the first attorney you meet with, even if you really like them.
Instead, consider finding an attorney like car shopping: Go in with a list of options and test drive them to see which one feels right.
Get a feel for the other attorneys and support staff in the office, see how they handle their cases, and read through their fee agreements. Ask questions about how often their cases settle out of court or go to trial, and how many of their clients go through mediation.
This will help you better understand which attorney will match with your goals and needs, and you aren’t yet tied down to one of them.
Look for Red Flags
While you expect a lawyer to be ethical and skilled, the truth of the matter is not all lawyers are created equal.
If, during your initial interviews with attorneys, the attorney is divulging what you’d consider to be privileged client information or case details, this is a sign that they may do the same thing for your case.
Also, it can be difficult to get a read on whether or not your lawyer of choice is overscheduled. However, if they are consistently getting interrupted during your initial consultation by phone calls and requests from their staff, that may be a sign that their caseload is heavier than it probably should be, and may mean that your case doesn’t get the time and attention you need it to.
Skilled Divorce Attorney in Washington, D.C.
If you’re looking for a divorce lawyer who will treat your case as if it’s the most important one on our docket, look no farther than Lopez Law Firm. We work hard to get you the resolution your divorce case deserves, walking you through every step. Schedule your consultation today!