Selecting a divorce attorney is a critical decision making process here in the Yoder area. The person who you hire will be responsible for obtaining or maintaining your custody rights to your children, your property interests, and depending upon the side you are one, either minimizing or maximizing your support rights.
In reality, selecting a divorce attorney is also an incredibly stressful experience. Do it right and you can breath easy. Do it wrong and you will spend years making up for losses that might have been prevented. Do not fear though, we are here to help you in finding your family law lawyer!
Compassionate, Sensitive, Knowledgeable Family Law Attorneys Committed to Your Cause
A divorce is a hard thing to go through. It can be an emotionally and financially draining process. This is a vulnerable time in anyone's life, and choosing a good divorce attorney is a must. You will be putting your life in this person's hands. The outcome of the case can determine your financial standings for many years, and the consequences of a bad divorce attorney can be devastating, especially if there are children involved. Here are some tips for choosing a good divorce attorney.
First of all, you should interview several divorce attorneys. You will need to be able to understand which attorney will work the hardest for you, how much experience the attorney has, and if you will be comfortable working with the attorney. Your divorce attorney will be working for you, and you should ask for references, find out about experience, and speak directly to the attorney. A good divorce attorney won't mind if you ask questions, and in fact, should encourage questions. Any good divorce attorney will understand how much could be at stake in this situation, and will understand that you need to be able to ask questions and receive fair and open answers. You should inquire about the fees at this time as well, and when they will be due.
Typically, this interview process is provided at minimal and even no charge. Unless a particular divorce attorney comes highly recommended from multiple sources, you may want to think twice about paying large fees for this initial consultation and interview.
You might consider opening the yellow pages to search for your attorney, which is fine if you interview them well, but consider another option first. If you have any friends who've had to go through this, ask them for an attorney's name. You will have a good starting point there, because you can get inside info from your friend on how well the attorney works, how hard he will work for you, and what the outcome of the case was.
Usually, a good divorce attorney will try to settle your case without going to court. Attorney's fees are usually higher the longer and more complex the case gets. So, if the divorce can be settled without going to court, the fees will usually be lower. If the attorney suggests that you go straight to court with no attempt to resolve your issues without a judge, chances are he just wants a good payday. In reality, this type of lawyer doesn't care what happens to you or your family, and this is not what you want. A good divorce attorney will still charge his fees, but he won't deliberately try to hike the fees up by going to court when there's really no need. Also, a good attorney would take into consideration the parties feelings and emotions, especially if children are involved.
If the divorce attorney suggests counseling, this is a sign of a good attorney. This shows that the attorney actually cares for the well being of your family. A poor attorney wouldn't care, and would rather you went ahead with the divorce, counseling or not. He would get paid more if you didn't go to counseling. Although a good attorney wants to get paid also, he would rather you and your spouse tried counseling first. If there's a chance to salvage your marriage, a good divorce attorney will suggest you do so, but then proceed with the divorce if there's no other option. Then he will fight to get you what you deserve, and to ensure that you are given a fair divorce hearing.
Choosing a good divorce attorney will ensure that you won't have to worry about your representation, and with everything else on your mind, one less worry is a good thing. This is a time to move on with your life, and look to the future, and with these tips, you are on your way to doing just that.
Why Hiring a Divorce Attorney Is A Good Idea
If you have come to a point in your life when you could use the services of a family law attorney you may be struggling with how to select the right divorce attorney. There are several differences in law firms that you can use to narrow your selections down.
Some of the factors that will affect your selection of a family law attorney are:
A divorce attorney has to be aggressive enough to go after what you want from the dissolution of the marriage. When you go to the free consultation visit you need to ask the divorce attorney exactly what they will do to represent you. You want them to answer with confidence, to have knowledge, experience, and determination. When you hire a divorce attorney you need a "pit bull" that will grab hold of the problem and not let go until they get what they want.
Even though a family law attorney works to help dissolve a marriage contract they must be compassionate to both parties. At one time the couple that is divorcing were in love, and there are other family members affected by the impending divorce, so the lawyer must be able to represent their client while maintaining a compassionate view of everyone else involved.
You need an attorney that will be available to handle the details of your case. When you call for a consultation at some firms you will have to wait several days, or even weeks. If the office manager has to call you and postpone your consultation visit you may be dealing with a law firm that does not have time to accept your case.
When you are comparing law firms that handle family matters like child custody, divorce, and trust funds, you want someone that has experience dealing with the issues you might be facing. You want a law firm that has dealt with many different types of family law matters so that they will be prepared to handle anything that might come up during your case.
Unfortunately you will have to consider the amount of money that the law firm charges to handle cases like yours. Legal representation can be quite expensive unless you carefully select a law firm that has prices you can afford. Some law firms have payment plans that they offer their clients, and some of them postpone payment until the divorce is finalized because the other party may be responsible for some of your legal expenses. You must bring up the matter of fees at your first meeting and establish how much you can afford before you decide on the law firm.
You need a lawyer that has offices close to you. There will be times when you have to go by their offices to drop off documents, or to be briefed on the latest developments in the case. You want to be able to go to these meetings without having to miss work, or rearrange your life too drastically. Try and find an attorney that is in the same town that you are.
Tips for Hiring a Family Law Attorney
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