The choice to divorce is rarely made lightly, and your choice in legal representation shouldn’t be either. Unfortunately, finding the right divorce attorney can be difficult, especially when the stakes are high.
To ensure your time, money, and trust are respected throughout the divorce process, we highly suggest you follow these 7 tips when choosing the right lawyer to represent your case.
- Know what you want, and don’t settle for less. Going into the process, it’s important to identify what level of support you’re looking for —both emotionally and legally— and make a decision based on that knowledge. If you’re looking for a more hands-off approach, be upfront about that. If you would prefer to have an involved attorney who calls more of the shots, acknowledge that and conduct your search accordingly.
- Establish your conditions and then look for an attorney who meets them. Different divorce attorneys take different approaches. Some prefer mediation, while others encourage courtroom appearances. Knowing this, first decide what you want and how you would like the process to go. This will help you weed out the attorneys who aren’t going in the same direction as you. After all, it’s important to start the process on the same page!
- Do your research. There’s more than one way to end a marriage, and which route you take could significantly impact the course and duration of the processes involved in executing the divorce. As such, it will be important to thoroughly research which option best aligns with your goals so you can then decide whether you want a collaborative process, mediation, or traditional litigation.
- Weigh your options. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to rush the process. In fact, doing so could negatively impact the attorney you choose — and that’s something you want to avoid at all costs. Even if you like the first lawyer / law firm you meet with, we highly suggest interviewing at least three other local practices to ensure you’ve given yourself a chance at finding the best fit for you.
- Be thorough in your interviews. In our opinion, the hiring phase is one of the most important parts of the divorce process, as who you choose to represent your case can affect the ultimate outcome. Be sure to ask as many questions as necessary to understand the attorney’s practice and to ensure their goals and objectives line up with your own. And, always be on the lookout for red flags such as promises that sound too good to be true (they probably are!), an impersonal feel from the attorney, and/or an attorney who demonstrates a lack of concern for your personal privacy.
- Stay focused on what’s important and let the other stuff go. Divorce can be highly emotional, even when both parties want it. As such, it’s important to remember: “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” The right attorney can help you sift through what’s important vs. what’s not so you can make decisions that count and disregard the rest.
- Be smart about your decision. In the end, who you choose to represent you through the divorce process should embody what you consider to be most important (which is exactly what the above list is all about). You will also want to pay attention to the attorney’s location, accessibility, responsiveness, and accommodations. These type of convenience factors go a long way when you’re dealing with a process that can take months, sometimes years, to complete.