How to Pick the Right Divorce Lawyer
Choosing the right divorce attorney can be a difficult task for many people. Still, there are some steps you can take to make the divorce process easier. Below is a list of seven tips and tricks that will help guide you in your journey to find the perfect lawyer for your situation.
Suppose your separation is not completely entangled with children and finances. In that case, you could hire a mediator to help you negotiate the terms of your divorce.
Finding the right divorce lawyer is key to what could be a faster, less expensive divorce. Your divorce attorney’s job is to represent you to the best of his or her ability in this process. Don’t let your emotions jump in and run rampant when it comes to negotiating over material things that don’t mean much to you. It’s up to you to know what you want first, so you can make the right choice.
Picking the Right Divorce Attorney
1. Know What You Want
The first thing you need to do is figure out what kind of lawyer you’re looking for. For example, suppose your issue is related to child custody. In that case, you should find a family law attorney to serve your needs better and make the divorce process more manageable.
The same goes for any other type of legal matter. Make sure the individual or firm specializes in the areas that surround your dispute.
Knowing what you want from the beginning will help narrow down your search, making it less likely for you to be confused or mislead in any way throughout this process.
If there’s a specific attorney that stands out but their price is too high, don’t let them dissuade you right away. It may just mean they have extensive experience and are worth it.
However, if you’re not confident in their price or area of expertise then you may want to keep looking for someone that suits your needs better
in order to find the right divorce lawyer that will best suit your case, take the time to research as much information about them on social media or at least review any reviews they have received from previous clients.
You should also ask for a consultation from the divorce lawyers; this is where you’ll have the opportunity to meet with your divorce attorney and get all of your questions answered in person before making any commitments to finally getting legal advice about your case.
Most divorce lawyers do not hand out legal advice but give you a general idea of what to expect at the initial consultation. Most divorce attorneys have a record. It is a good idea to ask the divorce lawyer about the attorney’s trial record if you choose a divorce.
2. Set a Realistic Goal
It can be hard to know where you want your case to go. There’s no right or wrong answer for what outcome a person wants, but it is important to have realistic goals in mind and make sure that they are being met with the plan of action put forward by your divorce lawyer.
For example, some people might want their spouse to agree to share custody, while others might want the house or an equal division of assets.
It is important to know what you’re looking for and make sure your divorce lawyer can help you reach that goal.
3. Look for Divorce Lawyers in Your City and County
When looking for a divorce lawyer, you might want to first search by city and then county. This could allow you to see what qualified attorneys are available in your area that will be able to help with the type of case that you’re going through.
As an example: If you live in Jacksonville, Florida, or Duval County. You can ask Google or Siri, or any other search engine to find a Divorce Lawyer near me. The return will be for all divorce attorneys in your location; if you are outside of the immediate area, you may need to look for a divorce attorney in Jacksonville, Florida as a search term.
4. Pick at Least Three Attorneys to Consult
You could pick the first lawyer you find, or you could do your best to find the best lawyer out of all potential lawyers. The right lawyer could be your first divorce lawyer found in your search or the last when looking to choose a divorce attorney or experienced attorney. It is common for people to look at several attorneys along the way.
If you are looking for a divorce attorney who can navigate the right divorce process, it is important to have the right one. Here are three steps that I recommend in picking an attorney:
- Ask friends or a family member if they know of any good attorneys.
- Speak with a lawyer about your specific situation and needs (i.e., fee structure)
- Look at Google Reviews of the divorce lawyer
- It is important to note that you should not just go with the first attorney. This way, you have more options and a better chance of finding someone who will do what’s best for your situation.
Needless to say, picking an attorney can be tricky, especially if it’s not something that lawyers specialize in. Local lawyers sometimes use tricks to get you in the door of their practice, acting as though they are a family lawyer, but in the end they can’t navigate the divorce legal system and would even make an uncontested divorce complicated.
They have never been in family law, have handled very few family law cases, and have rarely been in front of family law judges. You really don’t want that type of lawyer handling your divorce proceedings, even if they are cheap.
5. Interview and Research
Some divorce attorneys claim they are experienced in family law but don’t have any references to back up their claims. To find a good divorce lawyer, you need to interview and research prospective lawyers by asking for peer or client referrals that can attest the candidate’s professionalism and experience.
But how do you know who is credible?
You could ask them about previous family law experience, if they have handled child custody cases, do they know the spouse’s attorney, are they the senior lawyer?
Family Law issues are complex, many attorneys want divorce cases, but they are more like a divorce coach and not able to handle mediations or the legal process.
6. Listen to Red Flags
A good divorce attorney will be able to walk you through the family court system. Walk with them, and don’t get lost! Red flags include lawyers who don’t know what they are doing, lawyers trying to convince you not to say anything in front of your spouse’s attorneys, and those who misrepresent their qualifications or skills.
Ask for references for cases and ask for a trial separation to see if it works. Here are a few things to look out for if you choose a divorce attorney.
- Unresponsive to phone calls, doesn’t answer emails
- Condescending Attitude
- Lacks Compassion or is Inappropriately Invested Emotionally
- Clueless in the specifics of your divorce case
- Excessive Billing and legal fees
You can always judge an attorney by their past work and education and the way they present themselves. Many essential skills go into being successful in family law: communication, negotiation, advocacy, and attention to detail, just to name a few. But even more important is empathy.
- The right divorce lawyer will be empathetic about your divorce
- The right divorce lawyer will understand divorce law
- The right attorney will not meddle with or in your personal life or your ex-spouse
- The right divorce Lawyers will know that confidential information is kept private.
7. Make Your Choice
Some of the qualities I look for in potential attorneys or a divorce attorney are empathy, understanding, and knowledge. Potential Attorneys will understand your own unique circumstances.
The wrong person will lack empathy. Empathy is one of the most important traits to have when handling a family law case because it is imperative that you feel like your attorney understands what you’re going through.
A good lawyer will be understanding and know what it is like to work with an opposing attorney.
The divorce lawyer won’t understand how challenging the divorce process can be. In many cases, the divorce attorneys have children or ex-spouses themselves who are a part of the same difficult situation as you are.
You need an attorney that not only understands child support, a collaborative divorce process, custody issues, and mediation. They must also understand that this is an emotional process.
Picking the wrong lawyer can be a devastating experience. Going through a divorce is hard enough, so picking the right attorney vs. the wrong attorney is essential.
A potential lawyer should be the best attorney, with a good legal strategy in divorce proceedings, offers legal divorce services, has a track record in collaborative divorce, acts as a divorce coach, and is open, honest, and empathetic in your initial interview.
The ideal attorney should have your best interests in mind as any lawyer should. They should return phone calls and meet all of your legal divorce needs as an attorney.
How do I know if my divorce lawyer is any good?
- The best attorneys should have a good legal strategy in divorce proceedings.
- An ideal attorney will be open, honest, and empathetic in your initial interview.
- A potential lawyer should return phone calls and meet all of your legal divorce needs as an attorney.
What should I not tell my divorce attorney?
- You should not tell your lawyer any information that you would like to keep secret.
- Do not share sensitive personal or financial information with the attorney unless they request it to do their job better.
- It is never a good idea to lie around an attorney, particularly about child custody and visitation rights issues.
What questions should I ask my first divorce lawyer?
- Does the lawyer have experience with divorce cases?
- What are their rates and fees of service?
- How much time do they devote to your case, if any at all? The more hours he or she can spend on your legal matter means that you will receive better representation. Ask for a realistic estimate of how long it takes for your case to close.
- How many cases like mine have they defended in the past? They should be able to tell you how often their firm defends cases and what percentage of those clients are satisfied with the outcome. If they defend a lot of divorces, there’s an added bonus! Your case will likely go smoothly because they have the experience.
- Do they have any reviews? If so, how many and what are the comments about their service like?
- Does he or she work with a team of attorneys to divide up responsibilities in your case? This is often helpful because it prevents one person from becoming overwhelmed.
- How much do I need to pay upfront for the divorce, and are there any hidden fees?
- What are the qualifications of the attorney (i.e., how long have they been practicing law)? Also, if you will be hiring them as a family law expert or for other services like adoption, do they specialize in that area? Asking these questions up front can help avoid any potential conflicts down the road.
If you live in the Jacksonville, Duval county area and you are considering divorce, child custody, or any other matter related to family law, please reach out to me at (904) 396-5557. I am here to help.