Getting a divorce is an emotionally charged event that can be difficult to navigate alone. During such a challenging time, choosing the right legal representation is paramount to achieving a fair resolution, as your attorney will play an important role in protecting your rights and securing favorable results.
Choosing to forego professional help can negatively impact the trajectory of your case. Whether you want to walk away with the assets that matter most to you, need to create a custody arrangement, or have to negotiate alimony or spousal support, who you choose to represent you will affect every issue pertinent to your marriage’s end. However, there are likely hundreds of divorce attorneys in your area to choose from – it can be hard to decide which one is right for you. In this blog, we will discuss eight important things to look for in a divorce attorney.
The amount of experience that your attorney has can strengthen or weaken your divorce case. Just like you would want a doctor, dentist, or pilot to have years of practice under their belt before entrusting them with your physical safety and well-being, the same principle applies when you hire a divorce attorney; your legal and financial well-being is at stake! A seasoned attorney brings a depth of knowledge acquired during their years of practice as well as an understanding of the local legal nuances that may affect your situation. Experience also means that an attorney will have a developed skill set; they are equipped with the tools they need to create tailored solutions for your divorce case, and to think outside of the box. Having an experienced attorney on your side can give you a great advantage in reaching your ideal resolution.
2. Reputation And Reviews
In addition to experience, hiring an attorney that has a solid reputation and positive reviews from past clients is an excellent way of understanding who you are trusting to handle your case. An attorney’s reputation within the legal community says a lot about their professional character. Doing your research is a simple way to ensure that you are in capable hands during your divorce.
Clients’ Google and Yelp reviews are one easy way you can gain clarity on an attorney’s track record. Through others’ past personal experiences and testimonials, you can gauge what kind of attorney you may end up working with.
3. Communication Skills
Effective communication skills play a vital role in reaching a successful resolution. You will need to frequently be in contact with your attorney, whether that be over the phone, in person, or via email. They will need to frequently be in contact with your spouse’s attorney, and potentially with a mediator or with a local court. Your attorney should not only be knowledgeable on the legal intricacies involved with divorce in your area, but they should also be able to communicate what said intricacies mean for you and your case. Their ability to explain your options and the potential consequences of those options in a clear, concise manner is paramount. You need to understand exactly what is going on in your case so you can make empowered decisions!
Furthermore, when it comes to negotiating the terms of your divorce, or fighting for you in court if necessary, your attorney needs to be able to articulate your side of the story, but also rebuttal arguments and counter arguments from your spouse’s attorney.
4. Transparency About Legal Fees
How much an attorney charges is not necessarily the most important thing about them. After all, great attorneys are likely to charge enough to reflect their level of expertise, so you may not want the cheapest attorney you can find. However, their fee structure is something you need to be aware of before you commit to retaining them. You do not want to be caught off guard once your case is closed! A written agreement with your attorney typically consists of the following:
- Retainer Fee – This is an advanced deposit before services begin that may need to be replenished. Not all lawyers ask for a retainer.
- Hourly Fee – Hourly rates for everyone working on your case. How often these fees will reoccur should be indicated as well.
- Costs Of Litigation – If you and your spouse choose to forego the process of uncontested divorce or mediation and litigation will be necessary, your agreement should also explain how much going to court will cost.
Divorce is already hard financially. Working with an attorney who is upfront about the cost of their services can alleviate stress during the process.
5. Availability And Accessibility
You need your divorce attorney to be someone who is available and accessible when you are in need. “Accessible” refers to an attorney you can depend on to promptly address your questions and concerns. During the divorce process, negotiations, discussions, and other exchanges will take place. Whenever progress is made in your case, being able to reach your attorney to inquire about the details in a timely manner is essential.
6. Compatibility And Comfort
Divorce is a deeply personal and emotionally charged legal process. You need seasoned guidance to get through it, but you also need a strong sense of support. That is where compatibility and comfort come in. Choosing an attorney who aligns with your goals, values, and communication style is invaluable during a process as sensitive as divorce. With a compatible attorney, you can express your worries without reservation, building an efficient client-attorney relationship that gives you confidence and peace of mind.
7. Support Team
Just like you need support during your divorce, so does your attorney. How effective they are is often strengthened by the support of a knowledgeable staff. Though your attorney plays the central role in your case, a well-equipped staff that can assist with the process can enhance your attorney’s ability to handle your case as efficiently as possible. Whether it is made up of paralegals, assistants, or administrative staff, a support staff contributes to the overall success of your case.
8. Client-Centered Approach
A divorce attorney’s number one concern should be helping you reach the ideal outcome in your divorce case. There is not a one-size-fits-all formula for divorce, so your attorney should not treat you the same as their last divorce client. In your search for a divorce attorney, you should look for one who takes a client-centered approach to divorce proceedings. This can make a huge difference in your case by providing you with a sense of security that your attorney is focused on you each step of the way.
Divorce Is Tough – Make Sure You Have The Right Representation!
Hiring an attorney is like buying a car. Just as you would not purchase a car without researching various makes and models, comparing prices, and even taking a test drive, you should not hastily hire a divorce attorney. The right attorney is going to have the legal knowledge and skills needed to advocate for your best interest during divorce, and will put your desires at the forefront of their legal strategies.
It is important to note that the impact of the decisions and strategies made and implemented throughout your case have the potential to impact your life long after your divorce is over. That is why it is imperative that you consider these qualities – experience, reputation, communication skills, legal fees, accessibility, compatibility, the support of a legal staff, and a client-centered approach – when choosing your representation. Each of these factors contribute to the outcome of your case, and the quality of life post-divorce!
How Divorce & Mediation Law Firm | Cabanas Law Firm Can Help You
If you and your spouse have made the difficult decision to divorce, we are ready to help you move forward with your life. Call Divorce & Mediation Law Firm | Cabanas Law Firm to request a consultation and learn about your options.