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About 40-50% of all married couples will get a divorce.
Perhaps you and your spouse have fought to keep your marriage together for a while, but ultimately know that you’re both unhappy. In some cases, you may be totally blindsided why your spouse’s request for a divorce.
Maybe an unsavory experience, such as an extramarital affair, cause you to file for divorce against your unfaithful spouse.
Whatever the case, you need to find a divorce lawyer.
This post will tell you what you should look for.
Know Their Experience Level
Especially if there are children involved, or if one person depends on their spouse’s income to survive, you need to ensure that you’re working with an experienced divorce attorney.
Ask them how many divorce cases they’ve worked on in the past, and make sure you have an understanding of the outcomes of those cases.
A good divorce lawyer is one that specializes in the area of divorce and says that divorce cases make up the majority of their practice.
In some cases, your divorce may involve special circumstances, like alimony. Perhaps you’re leaving because of domestic abuse, because of extramarital affairs, or your spouse is contesting the divorce in some way.
When you meet with the attorney for the first time, explain the finer points of your case, and ask them what the possible outcomes could be. How they answer — and how well they’re able to explain your options to you — will help you to determine their experience level and style of communication.
Verify Their Credentials
It is absolutely essential that, during the process of finding a divorce attorney, you verify that their license is up-to-date in your state. You can verify this on the American Bar Association’s directory.
You should also take a look at their education credentials.
As the field of law becomes increasingly crowded and competitive, the temptation to embellish credentials is very real. Contact their colleges/universities, and make certain that the attorney did indeed graduate from there.
Now is also the time to ask if the divorce attorney is a member of any particular law guilds and associations. This gives you a better understanding of their overall professional network.
“Who they know” is an important factor to consider when learning how to select a divorce attorney, as they may need to call on outside experts to verify evidence or understand a certain facet of the law they don’t have as much experience with.
Plus, this tells you that they have a vested interest in continuing their education.
Check in with Past Clients
When you need to find a divorce lawyer, it’s also important to consider what their past clients have to say about the experience of working with them.
Ask your attorney to provide you with the phone numbers of at least two references. Ideally, these references should also have had their divorce process handled by this attorney.
So, what kinds of questions should you ask these past clients to find out more about a potential divorce attorney?
First, ask about the outcome of their cases. Were they satisfied, and did they feel that the lawyer came to court prepared every day? Did the client feel like a priority? How long did it take this attorney to respond to calls or other correspondence?
How long did the case last, and was everything handled in a timely manner when possible?
Finally, ask about billing and charges. You need to be sure that the attorney fees were consistent with the original quotes provided.
Schedule a Consultation
Choosing a divorce lawyer does require lots of background checks and conversations with references.
But it’s also about listening to your intuition.
The best way to ensure that you and a divorce attorney are a good fit for one another is to schedule an in-person consultation with them. Most attorneys will do this for free, or they’ll offer an affordable fee for an initial consultation.
Pay close attention to how the lawyer explains legal concepts and potential court proceedings to you. Are they able to speak in laymen’s terms, or do you feel like you’re sitting in a class at law school?
Do you feel listened to when you’re with the attorney, or are they trying to rush through the consultation to get to their next appointment? (If so, you can expect this kind of treatment throughout your entire divorce process.)
Now is also the time to ask how much of the work the attorney themselves will actually handle, and how much they’ll push off onto interns or other attorneys at the firm.
You don’t want to have to pay people that you weren’t even told would be working on your case in the first place.
If you have a bad feeling?
Go with your gut, and keep looking.
Find a Divorce Lawyer with These Tips
We know that the process of divorce is emotionally painful, stressful, and potentially a serious financial burden.
While it’s great to settle out of divorce courts if you can, the truth is that it’s not always possible. That’s why it’s so important to have a good divorce attorney on your side, fighting for you.
Looking for more tips and tricks on how to handle your divorce? Want some dating advice for when you’re ready to get back out there?
We can help.
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