There’s an incredible level of stress and anxiety that must be dealt with any time a family is charged with the unenviable task of filing for divorce. It’s important that you find the divorce attorney that’s the right fit. In order to be an effective advocate, your lawyer will need to work closely not only with you, but possibly also with other family members. There are four steps you can take that will go a long way towards helping you select the right divorce attorney for your needs.
Gain Referrals From Other Professionals
The best place to begin constructing a short-list of potential divorce attorneys is often through referrals gleaned from professionals who are likely to work closely with lawyers. This includes therapists, accountants, clergy members, and even other lawyers. These individuals can offer great insight into attorney reputations, as well as provide you with an introduction to get started.
Only Select a Board-Certified Lawyer
As a starting point, your divorce attorney should be board-certified in family law. These individuals specialize in the specific kind of case you’re entrenched in. In order to receive certification, each professional has to accumulate a substantial amount of actual trial experience, and must continue to work such cases at frequent intervals in order to maintain their certification. Although they will likely cost more than a non-board-certified attorney, they are entirely worth it.
Understand Your Needs
Needless to say, not all divorce situations are created equal. You may have an understanding with your soon to be ex-spouse over each other’s expectations going into the process, and you may have an already existing agreement concerning the terms. If so, consider yourself extremely fortunate!
Sadly, such uncontested situations are often not a reality for many couples experiencing a separation. Instead, these instances are often fraught with disagreement, resulting in what is called a contested divorce. These may require a lawyer versed in the specialty most applicable to your situation.
Contested divorces include, but are not limited to:
– Child support/alimony payments
– Visitation rights
– Domestic violence situations
– Division of property and debts
Selecting a lawyer that is particularly skilled and well versed in the area most affecting you and your family will likely yield the most benefits.
Take the time to get to know your prospective lawyer by asking detailed questions. The following is a primer to get you started:
– Ask about your choice of courts, and how a different court may or may not make a difference in your case.
– Inquire about the lawyer’s relationship with any judges in the area, and what they know of them. Attorneys with an “inside track” as to the tendencies of a judge can be a hugely valuable resource.