Dealing with divorce is challenging, both emotionally and logistically. It’s important to choose a lawyer who has your best interest in mind and who can provide you with expert legal advice at a price that works for you.
Every attorney has their own set of philosophies, practices, and approaches to divorce. Some lawyers may be skilled in some law practices, but not so skilled in others. Some lawyers are excellent in court, but don’t do well in collaborative divorces.
Some divorce lawyers are skilled at sorting out financial issues, whereas other lawyers are better with high-conflict divorces.
Here are some tips for choosing the right lawyer:
1. Look for a Mix of Services
Divorce lawyers should have a range of services. When you compare practices, make sure that they specialize in contested/uncontested divorces, irreconcilable adultery, etc.
This shows you that the attorneys practice various areas of the law and have the potential to defend you in your case.
2. Decide on the Divorce Process You Want to Use
Before you can get started with your divorce, you need to decide whether you want to use:
- Collaborative divorce
You should match the attorney that you choose with the type that you are looking for.
3. Choose the Right Type of Legal Service
The type of legal service that you need depends on your marriage situation.
You might want to choose a big law firm if you:
- Have a lot of assets
- Own a company or several businesses
- Have a complicated financial situation
If you aren’t able to get a big law firm, you should at least choose an attorney who understands finances.
If your marriage was short and you don’t have any kids, real estate, or other shared assets, a big law firm is a waste.
4. Know your Budget
Attorneys can be expensive if you don’t do extensive research before making your decision. While you should be selective about the attorney that you choose, you also need to manage your expectations and choose a lawyer that you can afford.
5. Do Smart Research
Every attorney’s website should clearly state their philosophy. If a lawyer says something like, “I’ll fight for your rights,” they are probably a trial lawyer. If an attorney says that they can help you stay out of court, they are probably best for collaborative divorce.
Don’t just pay attention to the law offices that have the nicest websites or the biggest advertising budgets. The best lawyer for you is the one that understands your specific needs. On the other hand, you should still make sure that the firm you are considering has an updated website.
6. Don’t Rely on Ratings Alone
Lawyer rating agencies are not an end-all-be-all. Some firms choose not to advertise or collaborate with rating agencies, so they may be rated poorly, regardless of how good of a firm they may be.
In some states, firms aren’t allowed to participate in rating websites. They may have bad ratings for that reason alone.
7. Interview Several Lawyers Before Making a Choice
You shouldn’t choose the first attorney that you interview. You should consult with at least 2 or 3 different practices before you make a choice. All attorneys offer different perspectives. The only way to ensure that you are making the right decision is to explore your options.
While your situation is the same no matter who you meet with, their approach to your case may be drastically different. When you’ve met with a few candidates, choose the one whose approach you identify with the most.