When going through a divorce, your lawyer wears many hats. They are your guide, confidant, warrior, representative, and sometimes your counselor. With so many roles to play, it is critical that you find a divorce attorney that is a great fit. During this stressful time, you want to feel confident that you have the best representation possible. Consider these factors when deciding on the lawyer who will represent you.
First and foremost, your lawyer needs to have graduated from law school and be legally allowed to represent you in your state. Ask about their education. Is the law school they attended well-respected or nationally ranked? Were they ranked toward the top of their graduating class? While great lawyers can come from a variety of schools, these factors can help you narrow down your choices.
You don’t want your divorce to be a part of a novice lawyer’s learning curve. Look for someone who has been practicing family law for many years. During that time, they will have seen enough situations that they will be able to anticipate potential issues before they arise.
You may also want representation from someone whose sole focus is family law. Finding a specialist means that you will be working with someone passionate about family law and with the depth and breadth of experience to represent you effectively, no matter where your case may lead.
Because divorce laws vary by state, you also want to ensure that most of their experience is in your state.
Before signing a contract, make sure you enquire about fees. While you never want to overpay for anything, this may not be the time to look for a bargain either. A lawyer who can more effectively fight for you can help you achieve a larger settlement, so you may end up better off financially with an expert than if you simply look for the attorney with the lowest fees. A highly skilled lawyer may also get you more favorable child custody arrangements or negotiate other terms, so consider their fee an investment in your future as a newly single person.
Do ask questions about what their stated fee includes and if there will be any additional costs throughout the process. If you have any questions about fees, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.
Ask any potential lawyers about their caseload. Will they have sufficient time to handle your case, no matter what surprises may arise? Can they take on your case immediately? Will you be dealing directly with them, or might you work with other lawyers or staff in their firm? Do they seem attentive during the consultation or like they are trying to rush you to make a decision?
The answers to these questions will give you a sense of the lawyer’s availability. You should be able to reach your attorney quickly in case there is an issue with your Ex or you have an urgent question. You also want someone who will be patient with you and give you and your case the attention you deserve.
Ask any lawyers you are considering to characterize their approach. Are they aggressive? Sensitive? Thoughtful? This question doesn’t have one correct answer, but it can help you determine whether they are a good fit for you and your situation. It can also give you a sense of how well you will work together. You want someone who makes you feel comfortable and at ease.
Beware of an attorney whose promises seem overblown. You want someone confident in your case and their ability. However, if they offer guarantees that seem too good to be true or that are significantly different from what other attorneys have said about your case, proceed with caution. They may have good reasons to be highly optimistic, but it’s worth digging deeper and asking more questions.
It shouldn’t be a burden to get to your attorney’s office. A divorce and family law practice in Salt Lake will be most convenient if you live in that metro area because you may be making multiple trips to their office. During this stressful time, you want to simplify when possible. A long drive every time you meet with your attorney is just one more thing on your plate, so consider proximity to your home or work. However, it may be worth driving a bit for the best legal representation you can find, but distance is something to keep in mind when vetting your options.
A local attorney may also have familiarity with local family law judges, which can give them a strategic advantage when preparing your case.
Considering all these factors can help lead you to the divorce law firm that is the best fit for you and your situation. With these factors in mind, you can feel confident that the attorney you eventually choose will be a great partner through the legal process of ending your marriage. Considering how significantly the outcome of your divorce will affect your life, it’s worth taking your time when deciding on a lawyer. You want an attorney who will treat your case as if it is as important to them as it is to you.