Finding an attorney can be difficult under any circumstances, but in divorce there can be added issues. Divorce is highly personal and emotional. You may be angry, fearful, sad, or anxious. In addition, the divorce process can be overwhelming. It takes time to gather information and resolve disputes. An attorney is supposed to be your advisor and advocate, but not all attorneys are good at putting clients at ease. On the other hand, some clients feel intimidated by their attorney no matter what and are reluctant to ask questions. To combat this problem, consider these questions:
Is your attorney responsive? Your lawyer should respond to your questions in a timely manner and encourage you to ask questions if you do not understand.
Does your attorney use “lawyer speak?” While it is impossible to avoid all legal terminology, a good lawyer should be able to clearly explain things to you, so you understand what he or she is saying to you.
Are you being educated on the law and divorce process? There are guidelines and formulas in matrimonial law that determine how much support must be paid, who gets custody, and how property is distributed. There are also rules that govern litigation. Your attorney should explain how these apply to your circumstances and how your decisions may impact the results of your case.
Has your attorney asked you about your priorities? All disputed issues are not created equal and your lawyer should help you figure out what is most important to you and what is negotiable.
Is your attorney honest with you? Your lawyer should provide an honest assessment about the prospects of your case and what it may take to win, including the time and money needed to litigate.
The other side of this problem is your own communication. Are you asking questions? Are you being honest with your attorney about your priorities, concerns, and expectations?
Looking at these questions is essential to building a successful relationship with your attorney and ensuring that you feel confident in decisions you make. Unfortunately, when you do feel intimidated by your attorney, you will probably be unhappy with any result. Recently, a potential client came into the office who was dissatisfied with the settlement obtained by his last attorney. He said the lawyer had told him he had to pay a certain amount of money in spousal and child support without explaining why. The client was not only paying the money but was resentful because his lawyer didn’t explain the law nor help him understand what he was paying for. He was surprised to find out from us that the amount he was paying was far above what the law would require him to pay. Had there been better communication, the client could have felt better about paying the support, among other things.
If you are considering divorce and consult an attorney, ask yourself whether he/she is the right fit for you based on these questions.
Contact Us to discuss how we are the right choice for you and your divorce or other family law matter.