We can all agree that divorce is an ugly word and indeed full of action. Two people who promised to live together till death do them apart, can no longer sustain the agreement.
Yet, sometimes divorce is the best and only option. In the best-case scenario, both parties reach a mutually beneficial parting. Everyone is in agreement on how to move forward.
In some instances, the parties will need the services of a divorce lawyer. But wait, we are not suggesting that one is only necessary for acrimonious situations. Indeed, divorce lawyers can give excellent advice to help during this difficult time. You will experience less stress by letting them handle the processes.
Experienced divorce lawyers will help navigate the complexities of the legal system. Self-representation can lead to costly mistakes down the line.
Read on to find out how to hire a divorce attorney. We will highlight specific things to look for.
1. Divorce Lawyer Qualifications
Please take the time to find out about the divorce attorney you want to hire. The first thing would be to ask about qualifications. A state-certified license should tell you they have passed the prerequisite requirements.
Next, check reviews and client testimonials. Ask for references and call them up. The best divorce lawyers belong to industry bodies and may have won several awards. It doesn’t hurt to check this out as well. All these are solid endorsements of the individual or firm.
2. Work Experience
Do you want to hand over your case to an inexperienced divorce lawyer? We can bet the answer is no. But please, allow us to clarify our position. We are not saying there aren’t some excellent beginner divorce lawyers out there.
However, there is peace of mind knowing that you are working with a divorce attorney who has been in the game for some time.
You also want to ensure that whoever you hire specializes in divorce or family law. It also helps if they have local experience.
Out-of-state attorneys will need time to familiarize themselves, as state laws on divorce may vary. They also don’t have the benefit of working relationships with local judges.
The best judge of experience is the divorce lawyer’s success in litigation. How long have they been practicing, and how many cases have they won.
3. Level of Support
Your divorce lawyer will become like a friend you lean on during the tough times ahead. On average, it could take from 12 to 18 months to complete the case. Without the right support, it will be tough to navigate.
Experienced divorce attorneys can give you a great deal of peace of mind. They will dedicate a resource whose role is to work on your case.
The firm will also ensure the teams are available whenever you need them. Lack of communication or availability during the proceedings can be a significant source of frustration.
If, for even one minute, you feel that they are not listening, then you have the wrong people on your team. At no point should you ever feel like you are in the dark. The attorneys should provide timely updates so that you always know what is going on, added Val Hemminger, a divorce lawyer with twenty-five years of experience. She is the mind behind the “Be the BEST Divorce Lawyer Academy,” an online program and coaching developed to instruct other lawyers in optimizing their customer service strategies, business organization, work-life balance, and mindset. She is the host of the podcast, Be the Best Divorce Lawyer, and she credits her ultimate purpose for her success—transforming the family law industry for the better.
Remember one thing. Though easy to dismiss, the gut instinct is rarely wrong. If it is telling you something is not right, run. And yes, don’t look back.
4. Approach to Your Case
Experienced divorce lawyers tailor-make their approaches to each individual case. Whatever they do should align with your needs to ensure a good outcome for you. Some things you should focus on are:-
- Are they taking into account your needs by collaborating with you at every step of the way?
- Is the divorce lawyer’s approach towards problem-solving? Some will stoke the fires by being too aggressive. The aim should always be minimal conflict and the best outcomes.
- Does the divorce attorney seem to be pushing more towards litigation than an amicable out-of-court settlement?
- Do you trust them and find comfort in their counsel? Some lawyers will make guarantees because they think that is what you want to hear. It is better to have an attorney who tells you the truth after carefully evaluating your case.
The experience of dealing with the lawyers should not add to the stress you are already undergoing.
5. Cost Implications
Cost implications will be a significant concern when looking for a lawyer for divorce. There is no set figure, as each will charge differently. But, the most important thing is transparency.
The divorce lawyer should, at the outset, give you a quotation. It should provide a clear breakdown of all the fees. The first thing to look at is the charging structure. Some will charge on a retainer or hourly basis.
Next, let the attorney advise on what other costs you are liable for, depending on the case requirements. These may include private investigators, psychologists, forensic accountants, and so on.
For ad-hoc expenses, honest divorce attorneys will seek your go-ahead before incurring such. There should be no hidden costs that only appear during the billing cycle.
Any attorney who suggests cost-cutting measures without compromising the outcome is worth listening to. But, be wary of those willing to take on the job at very low fees. You may think you are saving but end up spending more.
The lawyers could, for instance, put high markups on 3rd party costs. Even if they don’t, they may limit the time and attention they give your case.
Going through a divorce is challenging. It is essential to have the right legal team to help you through the process. And that is what you get in the best divorce lawyers.
We have highlighted some of the things you need to look out for when hiring one. Start by ensuring that they have the relevant qualifications and experience. Read client reviews, testimonials, and take time to talk to some of their past clients.
Other factors to look out for are the level of support and approach to your case. A good attorney for divorce will ease, rather than add to your stress.