No two marriages are the same, and it follows that no two divorces are the same either.
Whatever the reasons are for filing for divorce, most commonly, the first step is going to be the seeking out and the securing of a divorce lawyer. Almost certainly, you’re already feeling overwhelmed by this process.
Movies and television shows tend to showcase the worst possible divorce scenarios as well, so more than likely you have a few horrible images floating around in the back of your mind.
The following will break down the different qualities you should be looking for when you are considering someone as your divorce attorney. It will also highlight some qualities that should be seen as red flags and avoided while you are searching.
It is a good idea to find a few lawyers who meet the below criteria and interview them. Most attorneys offer a free consultation where you will be able to get a better idea of the person, how they work, and how you feel about sharing such a personal process with them.
Before we begin, it is important to emphasize that you are not alone in this process. There are trustworthy people out in the world who can help represent you and negotiate on your behalf. There are things that you can do to make your divorce and your life after divorce easier on everyone involved.
6 Qualities to Look For In a Divorce Lawyer:
1. A Lawyer That Specializes In Divorce Or Family Law.
The law is a complicated thing that takes years of hyper specialized study to master.
Foremost, you’re going to want to seek out someone whose legal work is concentrated in divorce or family law.
Beyond this, you might find that your particular circumstances have you wanting someone that regularly handles paternity rights, or maybe you and your spouse own a business together and you want to find someone that focuses on the dissolution or division of businesses.
Maybe you and your spouse own property outside the state or country and you want to find an attorney that has experience with this.
Think about what is unique to your divorce and look for lawyers who have worked on those particulars before.
2. A Lawyer That Works Within The State You Are Getting Divorced.
Because every state has slightly different rules regarding divorce, and many other areas of the law as well.
You must find someone who has experience working in a state where you are seeking a divorce.
If your divorce involves assets spread across more than one state, you might want to find a lawyer with experience handling divorces involving multiple state laws.
3. A Lawyer That Is Within Your Price Range.
This point might be a little harder to deal with than some of the others, as hiring a lawyer can turn out to be quite expensive.
Since you don’t know for certain how long the process is going to take, you need to keep the attorney’s rates in mind.
Experts at JSBell Law emphasize that in any legal proceeding, you should aim to prevent the short term concerns you have from compromising your long term financial stability.
The goal is to divide your shared assets and handle any custody disagreements with minimal financial damage done.
Hiring a lawyer that is out of your price range could result in massive financial strain and stress later on.
You do not want to start your post divorce life with a ton of debt, or a ton of more debt.
4. A Lawyer With A Good Track Record.
Depending on your aims within the divorce, you might want to ask what percentage of the attorney’s cases go to trial.
If you and your spouse are looking to avoid a stressful trial, and believe it, a healthy divorce is possible, then you will likely want to lean in favor of someone with a low percentage of cases gone to trial.
This can also indicate that the lawyer in question has strong negotiation skills.
If you feel like a trial is going to be necessary or is a fair possibility, you might want to ask the attorney about their track record in court.
What percentage of their cases have they won when they’ve gone to court?
5. A Lawyer That Can Honestly Explain Things To You In A Way That You Understand Them.
Because the law is written in old English, Latin based, antiquated jargon, one of the main qualities you should be looking for in a lawyer is their ability to explain things to you in a way that you can understand.
Nothing is going to make this process more difficult than you not understanding what is going on.
Also, stay away from any attorney that makes promises about the outcome of your divorce.
This is something that cannot be guaranteed no matter how good the lawyer is.
There is nothing wrong with an attorney telling you what outcome they think is likely, you might even need to hear this before the legal process begins, but it is another thing entirely to guarantee a certain outcome.
6. A Lawyer That Does Not Struggle To Offer Their Attention.
During your consultation, you should also be paying attention to how easy or difficult it is to hold the focus of the attorney in question.
If there are countless interruptions like phone calls or people coming in to speak with the lawyer, you can reasonably assume this is how things are going to be if you work with this attorney.
In addition to the above qualities, you should also inquire about the lawyer’s colleagues that may be assisting with your case.
It is uncommon for a single attorney to handle every day to day aspect of your case. You will want to know about and feel out other people who will be working with you regularly.
With the above things kept in mind, you are well on your way to choosing the right attorney for you and your particular divorce situation. No matter what reasons you have for seeking a divorce, this can be a difficult time.
Finding the right person to represent you and protect your needs throughout the process can mean that some of the burdens are lifted off of you.