If all marriages went according to plan, no one would ever get a divorce, and every couple would stay together forever. Of course we all know life doesn’t always work that way. Couples who were once very much in love separate for all sorts of reasons. If you are thinking of leaving your spouse, it is important to plan ahead. Here are a handful of tips to help you find the right divorce lawyer.
1. Don’t Inform Your Spouse
Most married people consider leaving their partners at some point. But if the relationship is truly beyond repair, you should talk to a divorce lawyer and keep it quiet! The reason for the secrecy is not to gain the element of surprise, but rather to prevent your spouse from hiding assets. Even if you think it would be out of character, more than a few angry partners have emptied bank accounts and hidden assets, never to be found again.
2. Think About The Kids
If you don’t have children, any reputable attorney can handle your case. But if you do have kids, it’s best to consider a family law professional. In addition to handling the dissolution of your marriage, these legal professionals also have experience with child custody issues. Because many parents pursue custody, and the process is seldom easy, it helps to have a seasoned divorce lawyer on your side. Whether the case takes months or years to resolve, you want a legal professional who knows what you’re going through. Most family attorneys can even arrange for counseling to help children cope with the breakup.
3. Get Referrals From Friends
The one benefit of living in a country with a high divorce rate is that someone you know has probably been through one. Because they will most likely empathize with your plight, it should be okay to ask them about their legal experience. And remember, just because they obtained a favorable settlement, doesn’t mean their lawyer did an excellent job. You should always ask about the level of emotional support he or she provided during the process. Because the dissolution of marriage can last for several months or even years, emotional support should be seen as a major factor when looking around.
4. Calculate The Costs
Breaking up in America isn’t only hard to do, it’s also extremely expensive. The average divorce lawyer charges between $300 and $500 an hour. With fees like those, it is not at all uncommon for couples to spend tens of thousands of dollars on legal representation. As the spouse who seeks legal advice first, it is important to consider how your partner will respond based on his/her temperament and wealth. Is he/she likely to hire a heavy hitter who will wipe the floor with an average attorney? If so, you might want to bring in the big guns, because you truly do get what you pay for when it comes to a divorce lawyer. Fees are often based on past results.
5. Make Sure You’re Comfortable
Even though they often charge expensive fees, most family lawyers give you the opportunity to get to know them during a free consultation. Just as the attorney will be sizing you up during this initial meeting, you want to size him or her up as well. Pay special attention to how well the attorney listens. Although he or she is not your therapist, you must feel comfortable talking to them because you will be sharing extremely intimate details of your marriage.