Approximately half of all people who get married will end up getting divorced. A divorce can be a stressful and traumatic experience for men, women, children and for members of the extended family who are also impacted by the break up of a marriage.
Having the right attorney can alleviate some of the emotional sting and reduce some of the stress which are integral parts of the divorce process. Conversely, having the wrong kind of legal representation, can make an already painful experience significantly worse for you and for your loved ones.
Since I have counseled many people who are considering a divorce or who are going through a divorce, and because I have interacted with many attorneys who handle martial matters, I thought a few suggestions on finding the right divorce lawyer could be helpful to my readers:
1. Select an attorney who specializes in family law.
If you choose this kind of lawyer, it is likely that his or her office is set up to deal with the forms and paper work which are part of the divorce process. A law office which is automated to deal with divorces will streamline the experience and save you time, money and stress.
2. Decide if you are more comfortable with a male or female attorney.
This is a personal choice, but I believe it is an important one for a person who is about to end his or her marriage.
3. Interview three or four lawyers and decide who seems most competent and determine who you feel most comfortable with.
Bring a list of questions to your initial consultation and get a sense of the lawyer's knowledge and his or her communication style. Check out their websites before you meet with them. This should give you a sense as to what their practice is like. You may also want to visit www.martindale.com to get some more background information on lawyers and law firms.
4. Choose an attorney who has practiced in the county where your case will be heard.
You want a lawyer who knows the judges and the opposing attorney. If your attorney has a good relationship with the other players, you can benefit from their ability to work together.
5. Determine if you are more comfortable with a law firm or with an individual practitioner.
There are pros can cons to both.
6. Find an attorney who tries to settle things, but who is not reluctant to fight for you if things get nasty.
7. Talk to people who have been divorced.
See who they recommend. It is unlikely that you will find someone who thoroughly enjoyed the experience. However, you probably will find someone who feels that their case was handled in an effective and a pleasant manner. This is the kind of representation you want when you are dissolving your marriage.
8. Negotiate with your lawyer and see if he or she will handle the entire process for a flat fee.
Some lawyers will work in this manner.
9. Don't spend money on battles that you cannot win, just to get back at your spouse.
10. If you feel you have made a mistake and hired the wrong lawyer, don't be afraid to switch attorneys.
This can be cumbersome, but sometimes it is in your best interest to change counsel, if you are not getting along well and if the process is going poorly.