You’ve been served with divorce papers and you’re not sure what to do. So many questions are probably racing through your mind.
Who is going to get the house? Will I get to see my kids? Am I going to have to appear in court?
The divorce process might be completely foreign to you, which magnifies the importance of your decision to hire a divorce attorney.
With such a huge pool of attorneys to choose from, and seemingly all of them selling themselves as “the best” and most qualified, the task of researching which is the best fit for you can seem overwhelming.
Here are some key considerations to keep in mind and questions to ask when trying to hire the best divorce attorney.
Do they exclusively practice family law?
As long as an attorney has a law degree, they can generally claim to be a “divorce lawyer.” However, all attorneys have varying degrees of experience possibly in a number of different practice areas.
The best attorney for you should have extensive experience in family law, and particularly, divorce.
If you have children, you’ll also want to find a lawyer who specializes in child custody issues.
With so many gender stereotypes still pervading the family court system, some firms have even started focusing exclusively on issues that affect men and fathers in divorce. An attorney from one of these firms might be best suited to represent your interests.
Have they been licensed in your state for very long?
Just like anyone, attorneys can move around during their careers, and some are even licensed in multiple states. So even though a lawyer might have a lot of experience in divorce law, it might have come in a different jurisdiction.
This is significant since laws can vary substantially at the local level. Make sure you hire an attorney well-versed in the regulations in your area who has had plenty of time to develop relationships with local judges and officials.
Do they have courtroom experience?
Ideally, you and your ex-spouse will come to a fair settlement outside of court.
Divorcing amicably can help save time, money, and heartache, but it’s possible you’re going to need to fight things out in court. In that case, you need an attorney with courtroom experience who can help you get the best outcome possible.
Will you get along?
This is an intangible consideration, but important nonetheless.
Whoever you hire to represent you is a person you’re going to be spending a lot of time with and working very closely with. It’s very important that you hire someone whose personality and values you match with.
You’re not hiring a friend or even necessarily someone you want to grab a drink with, but the more you get along the easier it is going to be to foster effective communication, which is absolutely essential during a divorce case.
A lawyer you genuinely like and get along with will likely perform better because they’ll know exactly what you want to accomplish in your case.