Did you know that there are almost 60,000 family law businesses in the US in 2021? If you’re looking to hire the best divorce lawyer it can be tough trying to make the right decision. With so many options to choose from, how can you be sure that you’re hiring the right lawyer for your personal situation?
Read on as we look at some practical tips on how to choose a divorce lawyer.
- 1. Decide on the Divorce Process First
- 2. Work Out Your Budget
- 3. Get Recommendations
- 4. Make Sure They Have Experience in Family Law
- 5. Make Sure They Have Experience With Similar Situations to Your Own
- 6. Find a Good Negotiator…
- 7. …Who Is Also Willing To Go to Trial
- 8. Speak to Multiple Lawyers Before You Choose
- 9. Ask the Same Questions
- 10. Make Sure They Have the Time To Take On Your Case
- 11. The Best Divorce Lawyer Is the One That Works for You
1. Decide on the Divorce Process First
Before you even start to look for a divorce lawyer, you should think about what type of divorce process you want to have. Are you thinking about mediation? Have you agreed to a collaborative divorce? Is litigation your only option?
Your answer to these questions will inform the type of divorce lawyer that you need. There’s no point hiring the world’s best litigator if you’re planning on a collaborative divorce, for example.
2. Work Out Your Budget
You may have your heart set on hiring the top divorce lawyer in the country, but you need to consider whether that’s an affordable option. You need to be realistic about what you can and can’t afford. You don’t want to bankrupt yourself by hiring a lawyer who is more than you can afford.
At the same time, going with the cheapest option you can find is unlikely to lead to the best outcome. Work out what you can afford before you start looking. Otherwise, you may find a lawyer who you love but can’t afford.
3. Get Recommendations
If you have friends or family who have been through a divorce, ask for recommendations. Every divorce is different, so their lawyers may not be suitable for your divorce, but word-of-mouth recommendations can be more useful, and more reliable, than those you find online.
That’s not to say that online research can’t be useful. Just be sure to take the very best and very worst reviews with a pinch of salt.
4. Make Sure They Have Experience in Family Law
If someone does recommend a lawyer to you, make sure that they have experience in family law. They may have been the perfect choice for your friend’s personal injury case, but if they don’t have experience in divorce then they’re probably not the right choice for you. There are different types of experience too; make sure you find a firm that has had positive outcomes in their cases.
5. Make Sure They Have Experience With Similar Situations to Your Own
No two divorces are the same because no two situations are the same. For example, if you own a business, it can make a divorce settlement much more complex. In that case, you’ll want to find a lawyer who has experience in business law as well as divorce.
When you meet with your lawyer, ask them if they have had experience with cases similar to your own, and what the outcomes were.
6. Find a Good Negotiator…
No one wants to have to go through a painful trial when getting divorced. If you can find a settlement that satisfies everyone, this is a much better outcome than having to go through an acrimonious court case that you may come out on the wrong end of.
That’s why it’s important to find a divorce lawyer who can get you the best settlement possible, and that means finding a good negotiator. Feel free to ask a lawyer about their successes in negotiation; if they can’t give you any good examples, it’s a definite warning sign.
7. …Who Is Also Willing To Go to Trial
Sometimes, going to court is the only way to settle a divorce. That’s why you also need to find someone who isn’t afraid to go to court if it comes to it. Some lawyers have a reputation for always settling, which means they may not be getting you the best outcome in your divorce.
Make sure that your divorce lawyer is someone who is willing to go to court if it’s necessary for your case. Once again, you can ask the lawyer about previous cases; if they’ve never had to go to court, do they have the experience you need?
8. Speak to Multiple Lawyers Before You Choose
Remember that lawyers want your business. That means that there is an incentive for them to tell you exactly what you want to hear. The first lawyer you speak to might seem like the perfect fit, and you may be tempted to hire them on the spot.
Don’t! Speak to at least three lawyers before you make your decision. It may turn out that the first lawyer you spoke to was the perfect fit after all; if so there’s nothing to stop you from hiring them. It just means that you’re now making a choice from a more informed position.
9. Ask the Same Questions
It can be very hard to compare lawyers if you’re comparing apples and pears. That’s why it’s always a good idea to ask the same questions of each lawyer. You can then directly compare their answers on a variety of different points, and make a fair comparison.
If you ask different things from each lawyer you speak to, you’ll be missing crucial information on each, and could end up making the wrong choice.
10. Make Sure They Have the Time To Take On Your Case
If a lawyer is good, they will be busy. If they’re too busy, however, they may not have the time needed to devote to your case. If they’re rushing to fit your work in, you’re unlikely to be able to get the best results. Ask upfront how busy they are, and who exactly will be working on your case.
It’s also worth calling up after you’ve met and seeing how long it takes to get put through to them, or for them to get back to you. If you feel it takes too long, then you should probably look elsewhere.
11. The Best Divorce Lawyer Is the One That Works for You
Ultimately, the best divorce lawyer is the one that works for you. Everybody has different circumstances, and a lawyer who is a great fit for someone else might not be right for you.
That’s why it’s important to do your research, read reviews and get recommendations, but most importantly go and speak to any lawyer you’re considering hiring. You’ll know in your gut whether they’re someone you can work with during what can be a very difficult time.
By following the tips above, you can make a smart and informed choice, and find the best lawyer for you and your specific situation. Keep reading if you want to learn more.