The current divorce rate in America is, sadly, around 40%.
Now that the two of you have made the tough call to split up, you’ll need to find a divorce lawyer. Unfortunately, it isn’t something you can fix with just a simple online search. Before finding a divorce lawyer to oversee your case, you’ve got to ensure you leave no stone unturned.
Over the duration of your case, a divorce lawyer assumes many different roles. All at once, or at separate times, your lawyer will be your spokesperson, negotiator, advisor, and reliable confidante.
They not only need to understand family law but also be able to describe it in detail without hesitation. Thus, they must be knowledgeable, personable, and approachable.
Bearing these things in mind, here’s how to find a divorce lawyer who won’t make a mess of your case.
Choose Your Divorce Process
This is the first step you need to take.
You have to choose the divorce process you want to try. Do you want litigation? How about a cooperative or collaborative divorce?
Then start searching for an attorney who’s experienced in getting couples divorced using this process.
Basically, you need to match the divorce process to the lawyer. If not, you won’t get the result you want from your case.
The divorce lawyer you pick will play a vital role in helping you move on from your failed marriage. Therefore, there’s more to picking a divorce lawyer than simply choosing a name from the phonebook or a list.
If you’re considering divorce, it pays to ask for recommendations from friends or relatives who’ve gone through a similar experience.
Moreover, other professionals like members of the clergy and accountants may also suggest lawyers they’ve dealt with, who are known to be capable and compassionate.
These days, almost all law firms and lawyers have websites you can visit. You can even find reviews of their work online if you Google a law firm’s name or lawyer’s name.
Quite a few attorneys are found on Yelp and other review websites. But, tread carefully here as anyone can post comments and a review on these sites. Be sure to find legitimate sites from trustworthy sources.
Find a Divorce Attorney with Experience in Family Law
This isn’t the time to call your boyfriend’s cousin’s uncle who handles wrongful death but is ready to do you big a favor and take on your divorce case. You need an attorney who handles divorce regularly.
But this doesn’t mean you cannot hire someone who handles other cases besides divorce. Just don’t hire someone who handles only one divorce every two years.
It’s natural to be uneasy when you speak to an attorney, especially about a matter as private as divorce. It is also natural to be hysterical when you’re facing a divorce.
These two things make it highly likely that you’ll forget what you want to ask once you’re in a lawyer’s office. And you’ll only remember when you get back home.
Make sure to compile a list of vital questions to ask so you can get answers to them.
Here are a few questions you can ask:
- How long have you dealt with family law?
- Do you only handle family law or other kinds of law?
- What percentage of family law cases do you handle?
- Have you got a hefty caseload?
- Do you know local divorce court judges?
- Can you deal with a mediator?
- Are you familiar with my ex’s lawyer?
- How many of your cases have been resolved out of court?
- How much experience do you have in the courtroom?
- Will you be taking on my divorce personally, or will you let someone else in your law firm handle it?
- Will you keep me posted about developments as they happen?
- What’s your retainer fee?
- What’s your hourly rate?
- Will there be extra fees if my divorce case proceeds to court?
- Are there charges for phone calls and letters?
- Are bills itemized?
- Does your contract state the fee agreement?
Some of these questions will make the matter of how to find the best divorce lawyer simpler. Many lawyers have websites that try to answer lots of common questions. If they’re available, read them so you can ask fewer questions in person.
Charges can vary from an all-time low of $500 for a simple, uncontested divorce in a remote location, to a few hundred thousand dollars in the up-market Los Angeles and New York areas.
Ask upfront about the charges and ways to rein in overall costs. For instance, you can mainly work with an assistant who charges a cheaper hourly rate so long as a senior partner oversees your case’s strategy.
You can read more here about a typical uncontested divorce hearing.
Interview a Few Candidates Before You Settle on a Divorce Attorney
Going to a few different attorneys’ offices and narrating your story time and again might be draining. You might be tempted to just choose the first attorney you meet.
Please resist the temptation. Take your time and meet two or three different lawyers.
Why? Different attorneys have different viewpoints. You can get two totally different opinions on how your case should be handled.
Then you can pick the lawyer who recommends the strategy you’re most comfortable with.
Make Your Choice
Once you’ve interviewed the family lawyers on your shortlist, pick out one and have them draft a fee contract. Don’t pay for anything until you and the lawyer have signed the contract.
Finally, make sure you feel at home with the lawyer and are confident in their abilities. Your divorce case is too important to leave to someone who doesn’t inspire your confidence.
Summarizing How to Find a Divorce Lawyer
It’s vitally important to hire the best divorce attorney for your case, so keep searching until you find one.
This is a difficult period in your life, so you need someone who’ll have your back and handle your case in the right manner.
Still need help with how to find a divorce lawyer? Well, you can start your search by clicking here.