Thu 10 Nov 2011
When the frightening reality hits you that your marriage is no longer working, and is beyond the point of salvaging through counseling or other means, finding the right divorce lawyer to represent you is very important. Depending on where you live, you might have dozens or even hundreds of options. So how do you sort through them all and pick one who will be best for your unique needs?
Here’s a list of the top 7 things you should take into consideration while looking for a divorce lawyer.
- Take an inventory of your needs. Before you even start your search, it’s a good idea to get organized yourself, which can be extremely challenging and painful in the rough waters preceding a divorce. Take note of your assets and, if it applies, start thinking about how your children will be a part of and affected by divorce proceedings.
- Read online reviews. As with most things these days, the internet is a great resource to help you find a divorce lawyer near you with the expertise you need to successfully manage your case and produce the best outcome possible for you. Read as many reviews as you can on many different sites. See if you notice any recurring patterns in what people might be saying, and consider whether those characteristics are things you value. Beware of any “red flags”, which might help you eliminate potential choices.
- Consider male versus female. Depending on whether you are a man or a women, and whether you have a particular preference for working with either a male or female attorney, choosing a lawyer based on gender might help you narrow down the field. This isn’t about whether a male or female attorney would do a better job fighting your case, but whether or not you feel more comfortable with one sex or the other.
- Ask friends and family. There’s a fair chance you know someone who has gone through a divorce. Ask them for recommendations, including not only specific attorneys they have worked with, but also things to look for generally. Not only could they shorten your search by recommending a great attorney they have direct experience with, they might have some good insights on the process you hadn’t even considered.
- Ascertain how long an attorney has been practicing family law. This is not to say that green attorneys couldn’t do a great job in assisting you with your needs, but years of experience in successfully bringing divorce cases to resolutions clients were seeking is certainly invaluable. Again, check on their website to see their credentials, including how long they have been practicing in your state.
- Consider community involvement. How much an attorney, or law firm as a whole, is involved in your local community may be a deciding factor, if that is important to you. Being community-oriented reveals certain characteristics that even the best verbage on a website can’t fake.
- Schedule a consultation and see how it goes. If you’ve narrowed down your choices to just a few, it might be necessary to meet them in person to see if they are a good fit for you and your needs. Many lawyers offer free consultations, so you can discuss your case with them without the necessity of choosing them to represent you. During the consultation, take note of your impressions, including how prepared they seem, if you feel comfortable discussing difficult issues with them, and how you feel about them generally. If things go well, you may decide that your search is over and you are ready to proceed with them. If so, they will advise you as to your next steps.
Divorce is extremely difficult, and in the days before it begins officially, you might not feel up to all the effort involved in choosing a divorce lawyer. However, just know that it is in your best interest to find one who will represent you well and with whom you feel comfortable. An experienced and approachable attorney will go a long way towards making the divorce process less painful and challenging than it already is.
Image courtesy limaoscarjuliet on Flickr. Adam Bowers is a writer living in Atlanta interested in all things law. He currently writes for an Atlanta law firm at the GA Divorce Law blog. This article was written by a guest author. Would you like to, submit a guest blog post?