When you are considering divorce, you must have good legal representation. Even if the divorce is amicable, it is essential to get accurate legal advice to help you make well-informed decisions. There are several factors involved in choosing the right divorce attorney, some obvious, but others less so.
Family Law experience is certainly an important consideration. You also want an attorney who has the first-rate legal skills to advise you. A vigorous advocate will seek a resolution that satisfies all or most of your interests. However, you should look for more than expertise and advocacy skills. To determine whether an attorney is a good fit for you, during your meeting you should also be asking yourself the following questions:
Is the attorney focused on gathering information? An attorney cannot give you good advice if he/she does not have all the relevant facts and information regarding your case. Family Law is very fact specific. Asking detailed questions, requesting materials and encouraging you to communicate about what has gone on in your marriage is key to getting the advice you need so you can make the decisions that will leave you as satisfied as you can be under the circumstances. To be sure, a lawyer who listens carefully is very likely to be a lawyer who will give your matter the attention it deserves.
Will the attorney be honest with you about your case? Your lawyer should provide an honest assessment about the prospects of your case and what it may take to win. Sadly, there are attorneys who are more interested in playing on your emotions to prolong the litigation to generate more legal fees for themselves. Alternatively, they just do what you ask without advising you as to whether that is the best course of action, again to generate more legal fees. Before you make decisions about what issues to pursue in litigation and when to compromise, you should be able to have a straightforward conversation with your lawyer about the pros and cons of each option and its impact to your settlement and your legal bill in addition to any other concerns you may have regarding your Family Law matter.
Will the attorney help you make good decisions? Your lawyer should educate you about your rights, options and chances of winning. In addition, he/she should help you determine your priorities – what things are most important to you from a divorce perspective – and assist you in staying focused on your goals. Often, divorce clients choose positions from an emotional place and not from the legal reality that controls the disposition of their case. A good lawyer looking out for your best interests will inform you of the consequences regarding any and all strategies you may want to take or that will apply to the outcome of your divorce action.
Do you feel comfortable with the attorney? The right attorney should give you the confidence to make decisions about your divorce. He/she should be responsive, a good listener and offer practical strategies and guidance to help you to move forward in your life. A great attorney is one who is able to do all of the above and refer you to other experts who can help you as you move into a new stage of your life.
Is the attorney solution-oriented? Some attorneys are happy to encourage disputes regardless of whether the “win” is worth it so as to ensure a larger legal bill. You want someone who is committed to helping you achieve a positive outcome in your matter so you can start the next phase of your life.
Choosing the right divorce attorney can have a big impact on your matter. If you are considering divorce and contact an attorney, ask yourself whether he/she is the right fit for you based on these questions.
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