According to the CDC, over 800,000 people went through a divorce in 2016 alone.
Reasons for divorces among couples can vary widely. Sometimes, it’s a matter of coming to an amicable conclusion that differences in a relationship are irreconcilable. Other times, divorces can be more emotionally charged and malicious.
No matter the reason you’re seeking separation, having proper legal representation is crucial. Even if you and your soon to be ex-partner are still on good terms, you never know when you may be taken advantage of in mediation or court proceedings.
Picking good divorce lawyers can be tricky considering the wide range of options. Below are some tips to guide your search and teach you how to choose a divorce lawyer who’s right for you.
1) Pick Your Process
Knowing the type of divorce process that you and your ex-spouse are going through will help determine which attorney you pick. With divorce proceedings, couples usually opt for litigation, mediation, collaborative, or cooperative divorces.
Once you understand the type of divorce you’ll be getting, you can seek out legal representation that specializes in that particular process.
You’ll sometimes find lawyers who do multiple or all divorce types. While that shouldn’t be a deal breaker, be sure that the divorce attorney you’re thinking of hiring has specific experience in the process you’re interested in pursuing.
2) Do You Need Advice or Representation?
Depending on the complexities of your case, you may be able to get by with legal advice as opposed to paying an attorney hundreds of dollars an hour.
Don’t get us wrong, paying an expensive attorney can be well worth the expense if you’re worried about valuable assets and children. It’s also a good choice when you’re dealing with a complicated ex-partner.
If none of those factors apply to your situation, make that clear to the legal representative you’re thinking of hiring. They should be able to offer you simplified services that will save you time and money.
3) Seek Referrals
There’s nothing more valuable when seeking an attorney than social proof. That proof should come in the way of testimonials.
Do you know a friend who was recently divorced and received a favorable outcome? If so, ask them to hook you up.
If you don’t know anybody, then scour review sites like Yelp and Google reviews to find top rated divorce attorneys in your area. Any law firm with lots of positive reviews is worth exploring deeper.
4) Know Your Budget
Legal representation, though worth the investment in many cases, can be expensive. If money is a finite resource in your life, you’ll want to understand what you’re willing to pay for a good divorce attorney.
Some factors to consider include what you’re fighting for and what’s financially possible.
What You’re Fighting for
Looking at the combined value of the things you’re fighting for will help determine how high you should go legal expense wise.
Let’s say the main thing you’re fighting for in a divorce is ownership over a $15,000 vehicle. In this case, make sure your legal expenses fall within an acceptable range and don’t come anywhere close to the total value of that asset.
If you’re fighting for priceless things like children or pets you’re deeply attached to, the amount you’re willing to pay will likely go up.
What’s Financially Feasible
No matter how much you may be willing to pay for legal help emotionally, your finances may not be there to support your ambition. Look at your bank accounts and consider how much of their value you could lose without your life falling apart.
If what you’re fighting for is very important, consider your options as far as credit lines or family support go.
Taking the time to understand the full picture of your finances will allow you to filter out attorneys quickly based on what your price range is.
5) Get Multiple Opinions
Once you’ve narrowed your lawyer search down, go with two or three candidates. Request a consultation on your case and an estimate.
When you feel a connection with somebody, it’s tempting to just bring them on and get things moving. Doing so, however, could cost you thousands of dollars and affect the outcome of your case negatively.
Remember, every lawyer has different levels of experience and approaches. Taking the time to hear the strategy of two or three divorce lawyers will significantly increase your chances of finding the perfect match.
After you’ve met with a couple of attorneys within your price range and asked them all of your questions, it’s time to choose one.
Deciding between qualified attorneys can be hard, especially if they’re equal on paper. To make the right decision, go with your gut.
Did one attorney make you feel more comfortable? Would you enjoy spending hours with one more so than another?
Think deeply about your meetings with prospective attorneys. Take a deep breath and just go with the one that felt right. If you find yourself stuck and looking for additional information, there’s more you can view here.
How to Choose a Divorce Lawyer Who’s Right for You
Going through a divorce is difficult as it is. Picking the right attorney can add even more stress to the situation.
Go through the tips above to narrow down your attorney search. Once you find two or three candidates, take the leap.
Remember, it’s impossible to know beyond a shadow of a doubt how to choose a divorce lawyer who’s perfect. Still, with the diligence you’ve done thus far, you’ve significantly increased your chances.