How to Choose the Right Divorce Lawyer
After deciding to get a divorce, the next thing you need to do is hire a divorce lawyer. In most cases, though, this is easier said than done. Choosing a good, knowledgeable, and experienced attorney to help you through the divorce process can be challenging.
You need someone you can trust, who understands your situation, and what you want to happen. You need a lawyer who can work with you from the start until the end of the legal procedure.
The best divorce lawyer is familiar with divorce laws, someone who knows how to use these laws to your advantage, so you have a better chance of winning the case.
If you want to ensure that you’ll choose the right divorce lawyer, there are several things to consider.
1. Do not choose the first divorce lawyer that you find.
Take your time in looking for a divorce attorney. Allow yourself to have several options by making a list of lawyers you think can provide the kind of legal service you need. Do not immediately sign up with the first one that you find. Explore your options first.
If your finances allow it, you can go for a lawyer from a big firm. You may also want to consider working with a family law attorney, especially if you want a lawyer who can represent you later on if the divorce settlement is not followed. Also, there are board-certified family law attorneys in certain states who are educated, trained, and experienced in handling family law issues, including divorce cases. Attorneys specializing in family law are generally more experienced in divorce law than those who are not.
You have to choose a lawyer who is capable of providing the legal service that you need. Choose one who is not only an expert at negotiating but is also one who is well-versed and highly experienced in courtroom trials.
2. Choose your lawyer according to the type of divorce process you need to use.
Before finalizing your choice of a divorce attorney, you must first determine what type of divorce process suits your needs, goal, and situation. There are seven types that you can choose from:
- Contested Divorce
- Uncontested Divorce
- At-Fault Divorce
- No-Fault Divorce
- Summary Divorce
- Limited Divorce
- Default Divorce
A contested divorce is ideal for you if you and your spouse cannot agree on child custody, community property division, alimony, and child support.
An uncontested divorce is also called a friendly divorce because it allows couples to negotiate their divorce’s material terms. No court litigation is necessary because the divorcing couple can work together in settling their divorce most amicably.
At-Fault divorce is your best choice if the reason you are divorcing is one or both of you committed wrongdoing. The most common faults are spousal abandonment, adultery, absence of sexual intercourse, mental illness, physical or emotional pain, and prison time.
No-Fault divorce is ideal for you if your spouse does not agree with the divorce. You do not have to prove to the court that your spouse committed wrongdoing or fault. This is the best option for couples divorcing because of irreconcilable differences.
Summary divorce or summary dissolution can work for you if you and your spouse do not have children or debts and your assets are limited. It is similar to uncontested divorce because the divorcing couple works together to amicably settle their divorce.
Limited divorce is not regarded as a legal divorce. It is similar to legal separation. It is ideal for couples who need more time to fix or organize their legal and financial issues. A limited divorce is court-ordered.
A default divorce happens when one of the divorcing parties fails to or does not appear in court. As such, the non-responding spouse is in default.
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3. Choose a divorce lawyer who respects and values the professional ethics of their industry.
You may encounter smooth-talking lawyers who like to brag about their achievements. While there is nothing wrong with being proud of one’s successes, this should not be done in a manner that disrespects other lawyers you are considering or interviewing. Avoid lawyers who like name-dropping and talking about their high-profile clients and cases, especially those who share confidential case information.
Choose the best divorce lawyer who gives you undivided attention, respects you, and follows professional ethics.
4. Consider your budget.
Hiring a lawyer can cost you a lot of money. Most of them charge by the hour, but there are always exceptions to the rule. With that said, it is also vital to keep in mind that not all higher-rate attorneys provide quality legal services.
At the same time, choosing the lawyer with the cheapest rate is not a guarantee that you made the right choice unless you know someone who has worked with them and can assure you of first-rate service.
The best thing to do is work within your budget range and consider the value your choice offers. This is why you need to explore your options and consider at least three family law attorneys.
5. Don’t choose your divorce lawyer based on their popularity or how beautiful their office is.
Knowledge and experience should be your primary reasons for choosing a divorce lawyer. Don’t base your choice on popularity or by how expensively furnished their office or building is. Physical appearance should never be a gauge of how effective and efficient an attorney is.
6. Choose local.
Family law attorneys who practice in your state or area should be your priority. Working with a locally-based lawyer has a lot of advantages, foremost of which is familiarity with state or county divorce laws and with legal officials and judges.
All the tips and suggestions mentioned above should help make the process of choosing the right divorce lawyer easier and more convenient for you.