When it comes to choosing a divorce lawyer, how do you decide who to hire?
I’d like to say there is a proven formula you can use to choose the divorce lawyer who is perfectly suited to your case. I can’t, because there isn’t a formula.
I can tell you there are great lawyers and horrible lawyers and ultimately, it’s up to you to separate the former from the latter –no easy task.
There are no guarantees that you’ll find the perfect lawyer on the first go round, which could mean you will work with more than one attorney during your divorce. While this isn’t ideal, in my book, if changing lawyers during your divorce is in your best interest in the short and long terms, it’s essential.
That said, there are some personality traits to avoid, and others that may improve your chances of choosing a divorce lawyer who will meet your needs and serve you well. Here are two short lists to help you choose more wisely.
You may want to avoid lawyers who:
- Are general practitioners and don’t specialize in family law
- Have reputations for being aggressive and disliked by lawyers and judges
- Have less than 5 years of family law experience
- Take a majority of their client’s divorce cases to trial, unless you need to go to trial
- Don’t handle child custody and support issues (if applicable)
- Charge hourly fees you can’t afford
- Refuse to use written retainer contracts
- Are confusing and don’t answer questions clearly
- Make you feel uncomfortable
You may want to choose a lawyer who:
- Has a reputation for being well liked, respected and successful
- Has 5 to 10 years of family law experience
- Has family law trial experience in your county courtroom
- Is familiar with the family law judges and lawyers in your county
- Successfully settles a large number of cases
- Charges reasonable hourly fees you can afford
- Always uses written retainer contracts
- Is a good listener, explains things to you clearly and answers your questions
- Makes you feel comfortable and assured
- Is committed to helping you achieve your desired outcomes
- Has former clients who are willing to speak with you about their experiences
Also pay attention to little nuances or red flags during your interviewing process and even if you can’t put your finger on something that is off, trust your gut.
Your divorce lawyer will be privy to very personal information and play a crucial role as your advisor in the divorce so make your best efforts to find the one with whom you would like to work.
If you would like help finding a divorce lawyer who is best suited to your needs and circumstances, please schedule a consulting session.