How to Choose a Divorce Attorney
Posted on July 24th, 2020 in Divorce
Divorce can be complicated and heartbreaking. With so much in jeopardy including marital assets, child custody, support payments, and more, you know you need a trusted attorney to get you through this troubling time. But how do you choose a divorce attorney? Follow these seven steps to find a divorce attorney that not only works for you but with you.
Know the role of an attorney.
Divorce can emotionally put you through a lot–and financially, too. While you may need to vent, scream, just put everything out on the table, know that it’s not part of your attorney’s contract to listen.
No one can deny that divorce is emotionally exhausting. But call a family member, close friend, or therapist who can listen to your concerns and be there for you. Even though your divorce attorney is “there for you,” they also are likely charging hourly. Don’t make the mistake of running up the clock by venting when you really should be strategizing.
Know what you need out of divorce.
If there are children involved or major assets, it’s likely your divorce may teeter towards a trial. But if you and your ex can navigate separation outside of court, an attorney who is also an experienced mediator may be better suited for your divorce case.
Not all divorces are ugly–sometimes people fall out of love and that’s okay. But know what you need out of the divorce representation before you hire an intense divorce trial attorney.
Research a divorce attorney near you.
If you’ve never needed an attorney before, you may not be sure where to begin your search. If you’ve requested referrals from friends and family with no luck, contact your state Bar Association.
In Pennsylvania, you can visit the Bar Association’s website, select Find a Lawyer, and contact your county bar association for a lawyer referral. You can also check social media, local newspapers, and television and radio advertisements for information about local divorce attorneys.
Once you’ve gathered names, check out their websites and see what types of divorce cases the firm takes on, who you will work with, etc.
Schedule meetings with your top choice divorce attorney.
Once you’ve narrowed down your search, schedule meetings with your top choices. Some attorneys offer free consultations or reduced rates so be sure to ask when you schedule your meeting.
Remember, come prepared with any legal documents you may need for this initial meeting. The more information you can provide, the better you’ll be able to determine if this firm will work for you.
And don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you are sensing red flags or don’t like how something is handled within the firm, your case will likely be no different so be mindful of these signs.
Keep focused, even though it can be a long process.
You may just want to choose a divorce attorney but you must keep focused. Getting engaged, married, and starting a family likely took time–so does restructuring that unit.
It will be critical for both you and the attorney to be on the same page, so be flexible, be open, and ask questions when you aren’t sure about how things are progressing.
Make sure you can communicate with one another.
Communication will be critical in your divorce process. Be sure when choosing your divorce attorney that clear boundaries and expectations for communication are set between you and your attorney, as well as what family members, if any, he or she can speak with.
Though not every divorce is nasty, sometimes people get hurt in the process–divorce is by nature an emotional event. But when you can’t communicate with your divorce attorney, you may be in for more heartache.
Hire a divorce attorney.
Once you’ve reviewed your options, select the attorney you want to hire and let them know as soon as possible as well as letting the others know you’ve gone in a different direction. Sometimes that courtesy call will benefit you, later on, should you need that attorney for a different family law matter.
Divorce is complicated. But choosing a divorce attorney doesn’t have to be.