Finding the Best Divorce Lawyer
Here's a little secret: That fantastic divorce attorney your friend used may leave you feeling frustrated if you hire him. The top divorce lawyer your co-worker used may leave you disappointed if you hire her. Why? Because hiring an attorney is a very personal decision. The best divorce lawyer for someone else may not be the best divorce lawyer for you.
Hiring a lawyer is a bit like finding a doctor or a dentist. You want to ask a lot of questions. Although you may not agree with every one of their answers, you want to be happy with the answers to most of the questions. Because, above all else, you need to feel comfortable with your divorce attorney, and you want to trust your divorce attorney.
Before hiring a lawyer, meet with them for an initial consultation to discuss your case. Here are some things to talk about to ensure you hire the best divorce attorney for your case.
Ask the attorney about their background. Examples of questions include:
- Where did they go to college and law school?
- When did they graduate?
- How long have they been practicing divorce law?
- Is that the only type of legal work they do?
Who Would Be Handling Your Case?
Don't assume that your attorney will be the only person on your case. Depending on the nature of your divorce, your attorney may also work with other lawyers or experts who have specific expertise that's relevant to your case. Ask who will be on your legal team. What are their qualifications, and what will their role be? Who will be working on your case from day-to-day and who is responsible for managing it?
Ask About Rates
Talk to the attorney about how much your case will realistically cost, and be honest about your budget.
- How much does the attorney charge?
- What other costs--such as filing fees or copying costs--are you likely to pay?
- When is payment due?
- Can you spread out the cost over several months?
Talk About Approach & Strategy
Tell the lawyer a little bit about your feelings toward your spouse, and how your spouse feels about you. Do you expect the divorce to be civil? Are you mad at your soon-to-be-ex, or is your soon-to-be-ex mad at you? Do you think the divorce will go smoothly? What do you want for a divorce settlement? Once you've described the situation to the lawyer, ask how they'd approach your divorce. What's their philosophy toward divorce? What would their strategy be in your specific situation?
The Best Divorce Lawyer Is a Personal Decision
Remember, there's no single correct answer to these questions. A good divorce lawyer will take the time to answer your questions openly and honestly. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable with the answers to these questions.