As a marriage starts out in euphoria, sometimes it doesn’t last and soon enters into a divorce. Around half of all marriages will fall apart and eventually file for divorce. The next step that should be considered is either obtaining a divorce attorney or attempting to file all the legal documents by yourself. There should be some careful consideration before a decision is made.
No one goes into a marriage thinking they will eventually file for a divorce. Dismally in our society, divorces have become more common and accepting than generations before. Either way, the whole family is hurt by a divorce. Emotions and strengths of character are tested during the roller coaster ride of a divorce. By having emotions and feelings being hit so hard, a person going through a divorce should not have to deal with the legal issues pertaining to their case. This era in one’s life should not be thought lightly and a divorce attorney should be hired to ease the burden. Even if you are contemplating hiring a divorce attorney, it should be considered that even lawyers will hire and delegate their own divorces to other attorneys.
Selecting a divorce lawyer to handle your family law case is a very important decision. The following are a few important criteria to help in finding the right divorce lawyer.
Experience and Focus
Any divorce lawyer you consider should have substantial experience in handling divorce cases in your location. An experienced divorce lawyer will know the tendencies of the various judges in your jurisdiction and should be able to use this knowledge to your advantage. Additionally, that lawyer should practice primarily in the field of divorce law. Often people will hire a lawyer who practices primarily in some other area, thinking that any lawyer will do. However, divorce law is a very specialized field that requires particular skills and experience in order to have a likelihood of reaching a successful conclusion.
Past Client Testimonials
Perhaps the best way to decide which divorce lawyer to use for your divorce case is to find out what former clients have to say about that lawyer. While divorce is never an enjoyable process, some divorce lawyers have more success at satisfying their clients than others. If you do not know someone who has been a client of that particular divorce lawyer, you should consider asking the lawyer for a list of clients that you can contact who can describe their experience with the lawyer. While client confidentiality is important, any good experienced divorce lawyer should have at least a few former clients who are willing to vouch for him or her.
When a client becomes dissatisfied with a divorce lawyer, one of the most common complaints is that they were unable to communicate with the lawyer. It is very important that your divorce lawyer be accessible and prompt in responding to your phone calls, emails, and requests for meetings. While you can ask the divorce lawyer about their office policy, this is another area where you can best evaluate the divorce lawyer by hearing what former clients have to say.
If a former client of the lawyer tells you that they found it very difficult to contact the attorney, or that the lawyer either did not return calls or respond to emails or would take several days to do so, you should definitely avoid that lawyer. Divorce is an unpleasant and frustrating process under the best of circumstances. If you are unable to reach your divorce attorney, or at least someone on his or her staff, the frustration level can increase exponentially.
When you make your initial appointment with the divorce attorney, you should inquire about a consultation fee. Some lawyers do brief initial consultations for free, although most experienced divorce lawyers will charge between $100.00 and $200.00 as a consultation fee, or will charge their normal hourly rate.
For example, I charge a flat $100.00 consultation fee with no additional hourly charges, regardless of the length of the meeting. Essentially, the consultation fee is to "weed out" those people who are not serious about the possibility of hiring me. Given that my normal hourly rate is $200.00/hour and the usual typical consultation takes about 90 minutes, the charge for my consultation is significantly discounted. Therefore, you shouldn't let a consultation fee scare you away from interviewing a particular lawyer.
During the consultation it is vitally important that you have a candid discussion with the prospective divorce lawyer about fees and what you can expect. Typically, an experienced divorce lawyer will require the payment of a substantial retainer up front, against which that lawyer's hourly rate and expenses will be charged. You should find out what that lawyer's hourly rate is, what the up front retainer will be, whether any portion of the retainer is refundable if it is not exhausted, and how often you can expect to receive invoices that detail their hourly charges and expenses. You also will want to know how detailed the invoices are. Once again, this is another area where you can get excellent information from those people who have been clients of that divorce lawyer.
While all the above issues are important, there is one final question you should ask yourself before hiring a divorce lawyer. Are you comfortable with that lawyer and are you confident in his or her abilities? If the answer is anything other than a resounding "yes," you should keep looking. Your case is too important to entrust to someone who does not inspire your confidence
Why Hiring a Divorce Attorney Is A Good Idea
Advantages When Hiring a Divorce Attorney
1. Experience- Many people going through a divorce, do not have the slightest clue of the legal proceedings. A divorce attorney on the other hand will know exactly what and when to proceed with filings. Having a legal professional that has expertise in family law will be an advantage to your side. They will be able to educate and inform their clients on the particulars of divorce laws that are unique to your locality. Family law specialists will be able to offer their insight on what the outcome of the divorce will yield. There is no perfect divorce equation, but having the experience, a divorce lawyer can have a good guess on what is going to happen.
2. Local Experience- Hiring a local attorney is much better than hiring a high profile attorney that is not located in your jurisdiction. Not only will they will understand the local laws, but they will have a good impression on other lawyers, court clerks and judges who will be running your case. This is an advantage as the lawyer can predict actions of judges and anticipate other divorce attorneys moves.
3. No Emotional Bond- From the emotional toll before and during your divorce proceedings, you will become attached to certain items and intangible aspects through the divorce. A divorce attorney will not have the emotional bond to a court case that a person going through the divorce will have. There is no doubt that the legal representative will have your best interest, but he or she will not make irrational decisions based on emotions. They will rather base decisions upon fair compensation and legal practices. If a person is going through a divorce with children, these emotions are even higher, having another reason to hire a family law specialist.
4. Efficient- If a person is trying to complete their own divorce, it will take a lot of research, time and effort to understand the legal filing process, terms and procedures. If that same person is working and taking care of kids, it’s nearly impossible to complete efficiently. When hiring a divorce attorney, these tasks will be handled swiftly and professionally by your divorce lawyer.
5. Expertise- By working with the same type of clients and dealing with the legal system, a divorce lawyer has built an expertise in the family law field. Other attorneys may practice different entities of the legal system, but an attorney who deals strictly with family law and divorce, will have built their reputation and expertise in that field. Whenever hiring an attorney, always make sure they have expertise or credentials showing their skills in their field of practice.
If you are deciding whether or not to hire a divorce attorney, it will be much easier on you and your family if you do. By hiring a divorce lawyer, he/she will be giving the professionalism and experience that is needed when dwelling into the legal system. The divorce attorney be as efficient as possible with filing papers with the courts and not having the emotional bond that their clients hold onto during a divorce. Hiring an expert in the field of family law will give you an advantage and save much time and effort during a high turmoil time in your life
Divorce Advice - Your First Meeting With a Divorce Attorney
A family law attorney is helpful resource when it comes to legal matters concerning familial events. These lawyers handle a variety of legal cases involving marriage, minor children, and elderly parents. Some law firms specialize in one specific field of law while others represent all types of cases.
Selecting a family law attorney should be given careful consideration. This is of particular importance when retaining lawyers to represent minor children or establish guardianship for parents suffering from conditions that limit mental capacities, such as Alzheimer's or dementia.
It can be beneficial to consult with three or more law firms to meet lawyers and staff members face-to-face. Clients often spend considerable time with legal counsel, so it can be helpful to work with an attorney whose persona puts them at ease.
Taking time to interview candidates can help clients select the most appropriate lawyer for the task at hand. It can also minimize the potential to change lawyers in the midst of the case.
There are many options available for finding a good attorney. Many people obtain referrals from family and friends. Others use lawyer referral networks or conduct online research. Some utilize telephone directories.
One common mistake people make is selecting lawyers based on the size of their phone book advertisement. It's important to realize that large ads do not necessarily equate to being the best attorney.
Lawyer referral networks are another option for locating family law attorneys. Some referral networks assess a fee while others offer complimentary services. It is rarely a necessity to pay anyone to assist in locating lawyers so proceed with caution when fees are assessed.
Once 3 or 4 law firms have been located it is time to setup an initial consultation. Law firms often provide complimentary meet-and-greet sessions, but some assess a nominal fee. Be certain to determine fees before making the appointment.
Ask to meet with all staff members who will work on the case. It is common practice for attorneys to enlist help from paralegals and administrative assistants to reduce legal fees. Clients should feel at ease with all staff members, but especially those whom they will work closely with.
It is important to establish legal fees before hiring law firms. Legal fees are usually based on the type of case involved. One-time events, such as drafting prenuptial agreements or filing legal name changes, are usually billed at a flat fee. Ongoing cases that require court appearances or extensive research are typically billed at an hourly rate.
Most lawyers require an upfront retainer fee for representing ongoing cases. This fee is usually around 25-percent of anticipated fees. Attorneys oftentimes require payment in full when services are rendered, while others send monthly invoices.
Clients that require payment plans must discuss terms ahead of time to ensure timely access to legal counsel. It is crucial to stay current with payments; otherwise, lawyers can refuse to provide legal counsel.
One way to reduce legal expenses is to always be organized and prepared for meetings. It is helpful to keep case documents organized in a dedicated file folder. Always keep record of phone conversations, face-to-face meetings, and email correspondence that take place with the family law lawyer and staff and retain copies of all documents related to the case.