There are a wide range of factors that play a role in how complex or smooth your divorce will be. But there is no denying that the expertise and experience of your divorce lawyer will play a huge role in not only how heated your divorce negotiations are going to be but in how advantageous your divorce settlement is eventually going to be. And while today there are more attorneys to choose from than ever before, finding the right one to handle your case can be difficult.
If you have never dealt with a family law attorney before and don’t know where to get started, that’s fine. This guide will go over all the basic tips you need to narrow down your options and find the right attorney to help you during this difficult time.
1. Do your research
Don’t let the fancy suits and expensive cars fool you — attorneys are just like other professionals, which means there are good and bad ones. And picking the first family law attorney you find to represent you can lead to many headaches—ditto for choosing the cheapest you can find. A family law attorney doesn’t have to be expensive, but choosing based solely on price can end up costing you more in the long run.
You can start your search for an attorney by compiling a list of viable options, namely by finding which family law attorneys are within driving distance of where you live. Then you can find out which ones are reputable by checking their experience, online presence, online reviews, and using the next tip on this list.
2. Ask for recommendations
Ask family and friends in your region if they know a law firm they can recommend. Even if they haven’t personally gone through a divorce, they might have a friend or relative who has recently had a successful divorce with the help of a talented local attorney. Recommendations can not only help you narrow down the list of options you put together by following the last tip, but they can also be a good way to introduce you to attorneys that may not have a strong online presence. Some small law firms rely heavily on referrals to get more clients.
Remember that you still need to do some background research on the lawyer, even if they’ve been recommended by someone you know. And if a friend recommends a law firm, try and find out the name of the lawyer they worked with. The attorney that impressed your friend or relative may no longer work with the law firm in question.
3. Look beyond the pricing
Yes, some of the best attorneys in the world will typically charge high fees for their service. But just because a lawyer is the most expensive in town, that doesn’t mean they are the best in town.
Besides, legal fees can be affected by several other factors, not just the lawyer’s expertise. For example, a more affordable attorney isn’t necessarily a less experienced attorney — the lower price could very well be a consequence of the attorney in question organizing his law firm in a way that reduces overheads and then passing those savings onto clients.
So, do not pay too much attention to how much the lawyer charges. Instead, focus on the experience and track record that they bring to the table.
4. Hire locally
These days, divorce lawyers can apply for licenses to practice law across state lines. However, family laws vary greatly across different states. This means that while an attorney with over five years of experience is a decent choice if 4 of those years were spent practicing in another state, some of that experience may not be relevant to your case.
Therefore, it is advisable to work with someone with enough local family law experience. That way, it will be easier to navigate state and local laws during the divorce.
5. Go for a specialist
The legal profession is very broad. It’s the reason why lawyers choose to specialize in various areas. And, of course, it’s generally safe to pick a family law attorney to handle your family law case. Or better yet, find someone who handles primarily divorces.
However, it is worth noting that this rule doesn’t apply to law firms. It’s common for large law firms to specialize in 2-3 fields, but they will have attorneys specializing in each area. And you can always ask for a specific attorney when working with a big law firm — most of them will list the members of their legal team online, which allows you to check their background and experience.
6. Look for relevant experience
Each divorce case is slightly different from all the others, but they can still be grouped into broad categories. And an attorney that has experience handling divorce cases that are very similar to yours can be a huge asset. Some law firms will even specialize in one or a few types of divorce rather than handling any divorce case.
There are many ways to classify divorces, of course. Still, common categories include high net-worth divorce, divorce with kids, amicable divorces, same-sex divorce, and divorce for victims of domestic abuse. As a result, attorneys specializing in one of those types of divorce will often be well-versed in areas of law that often come up in such divorces.
For example, an attorney with a lot of experience handling high-network divorces may also have a lot of experience handling business law and matters related to taxes and finances. On the other hand, an attorney who has dealt with plenty of amicable divorces before will likely have experience working as a mediator and handling negotiations in a way that will keep the conversation cordial while making sure both parties of the divorce get what they are due.
Getting the right legal representation during a divorce is the most important step towards an amicable resolution.
Besides, your divorce attorney will be with you for the entire duration of the divorce, and as such, it helps to pick someone you enjoy working with.
You can learn more about divorce lawyers at violaw.com anytime!