Do you need a divorce lawyer?
No divorce is ever easy. Even an amicable divorce can quickly turn nasty when you start working out the details. To avoid stress you need a lawyer who’ll make the process simple and painless. But finding the best divorce lawyer isn’t always so simple.
Read on for 9 simple tips to find the best divorce lawyer for your needs.
1. Don’t Go for the First Lawyer You Contact
It’s important you do your homework before committing. Talk to several attorneys before you settle.
You need to trust your attorney, so first impressions and getting a feel for them is important. You’ll be spending a lot of time working with them after all, so you need to be able to develop a working relationship.
2. Ask Around
Word of mouth is likely to always be the best way to find a good divorce lawyer. If you know someone who’s been through it and was happy with their divorce attorney, get their name.
Ask what process they went through though. If you need mediation but they fought like cats and dogs, they might not be the right choice for you.
Also, if you have any lawyers in your social circle, regardless of what they practice ask them. There is a chance that they’ll have a recommendation, as lawyers tend to know each other.
3. Work Out Your Budget
No one wants to shell out thousands of dollars. But you have to find a balance between the divorce service you need and what you can afford.
If you’ve got a huge property portfolio and a 6 figure salary, you can afford a divorce lawyer. At this point, with so much to lose, going cheap to save money could end up costing you more than you’re saving in fees.
If you’re living on a low income, and don’t have any assets, getting an expensive high-end lawyer isn’t a wise idea. It’ll only add more debt. While you might feel better for it, you could also end up bankrupt!
4. Decide the Divorce Process You Prefer
Work out if your spouse is going to be agreeable or they’re going to dispute everything at every turn. With a lot of conflict, you will need the divorce resolved through negotiation, so a lawyer with litigation and negotiation experience is a must. The same if it’s an amicable divorce you don’t want a lawyer that’s going in too hot and heavy.
It’s important that you find an attorney to work with that suits your situation and what you need. This way you stand the best chance of getting the outcome you want. You want someone experienced in your kind of divorce so that they can guide you and give you confidence.
5. Take Lawyer Ratings With a Pinch of Salt
Rating agencies aren’t perfect. A firm that doesn’t choose to rate with a certain site or system may come off with a poor rating for no reason.
Some ethical restrictions in some states mean lawyers can’t join legal rating sights. It’s hard to tell a good and bad lawyer from rating agencies for these reasons. Whatever the reason, they’ll always score low because they aren’t active and participating.
6. Choose a Divorce Lawyer You Trust
Your divorce lawyer will need access to personal and private information. The good and the bad, it’ll all be on display. They need to know everything the other side might use against your case.
If they know about it early on, your lawyer can manage the bad better. They’ll also provide a fresh perspective on what’s relevant or not.
Given the nature of this information, it’s important you have a lawyer to trust and can be open with from the start. They’re not a friend or therapist though, and should not get too involved in your life. They should remain objective while providing the best legal counsel for your situation.
7. Beware the Hard Sell
A divorce lawyer that promises you the earth is a red flag. This is a warning sign that they might not be as good as they want you to believe. Going in hard and combative from the start can cause more issues down the line.
Pick a lawyer who assesses the facts and doesn’t jump in feet first from the off. Going in too hard at the start can complicate things and make them more costly (both emotionally and financially). Divorce isn’t about picking more fights, it’s about resolving the ones you have.
8. Use the Internet
Your potential lawyer’s website will tell you their specialty and their ethos. If they speak of fighting for what you’re owed, it’s likely they’re a trial lawyer. If they mention staying out of court, they’re more likely to do mediation.
Don’t get fooled by pretty websites and those that pay to advertise the top of the search pages. Having the biggest marketing budgets doesn’t automatically mean they’re the best fit. But you don’t want to go with a lawyer that has no website or one that’s out of date either.
The internet is there to give you information so use it. Find reviews, read their site, and testimonials. Clue up on them so that when you contact your prospective lawyer you know what you want to ask.
9. Go With Your Gut
Once you’ve done your due diligence, make contact, and get a face to face meeting. First impressions can tell you a lot and you should pay attention to what you learn. If your gut is telling you something isn’t right, listen to that feeling.
There’s nothing better than your gut feeling when you first meet a person. No matter how fancy the office or how long the list of qualifications is, don’t get distracted. Your gut reaction is usually the right one.
Hiring the Best Divorce Lawyer
So there you have it. By following these 9 tips, you will be sure to find the best divorce lawyer available. You need to make sure you do your research and find a lawyer that you can trust.
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