Divorce is stressful for most, for some it is a relief. A person will usually experience some form of denial, shock and confusion before being able to let go of the relationship. Unfortunately, in addition to navigating the emotional component of a divorce, you must also choose an attorney.
Choosing a competent family law attorney will allow you to focus your energy on your life, managing the emotional component of the divorce. The attorney should focus his/her energy on the legal component of your divorce, specifically, the division of property, money, debt and the award of spousal support. If children are involved, the attorney will also address issues relating to child custody and support.
Your attorney should be competent, compassionate and honest. A competent family law attorney knows the law. A compassionate family law attorney will ask the client what he/she wants. An honest family law attorney will tell the client if his/her goals are achievable.
The difference between a good and a great divorce attorney is in the details. For example:
|Good vs. Great|
|A good divorce attorney knows the rules for dividing property in divorce.||A great divorce attorney knows how to maximize his/her client’s position while the opposing party thinks the deal is fair.|
|A good family law attorney will advise a client on the best path to take to resolve an issue.||A great family law attorney will advise the client on the best path to resolve an issue but not be afraid to argue the client’s position.|
|A good family law attorney settles cases.||A great divorce attorney settles cases, but if a fight is waged, will be committed to working harder than the opponent to win.|
Recommendations for Consideration When Choosing an Attorney
I recommend considering the following when choosing a divorce attorney:
- Initial consultations should be free and specific. A thorough review of your issues is the only way to adequately quote a fee.
- Avoid flat fee divorces. Attorneys who quote a flat fee often fail to adequately represent the client if the case becomes difficult.
- A divorce attorney should be able to estimate the cost to complete the divorce and provide monthly updates of costs.
- “Men’s rights” or “Women’s rights” marketing campaigns are just that – marketing campaigns and those firms have both competent and incompetent attorneys. A competent divorce lawyer understands the law as it applies to both men and women.
- Communication is important. Phone calls should be promptly returned and the client should be fully informed of his/her case at all times. Your attorney should have more than one avenue of communication such as telephone, fax, email, meetings, etc.
- Divorce is a highly specialized field. Be cautious with the attorney whose practice includes multiple areas. Many attorneys practice divorce law as a means of supplementing their income. You need an attorney who knows divorce law so well that he/she does not waste energy or time learning the law which may be costly and cause delays.
- A divorce attorney should attend at least one (if not more) continuing legal education seminar on family law per year. It is also great if your attorney is asked to lecture at seminars to other lawyers on the issues of family law. (hint, hint . . .)
Let us help you successfully navigate one of life’s most difficult chapters by focusing on you.
Download our free CHOICES brochure right now.