Realizing that your marriage is no longer working out is tough, but it’s even more difficult to face the legal ins and outs associated with divorce.
Finding the right divorce lawyer may be the most important decision you’ll make during your divorce proceedings. The right lawyer can make this tedious process faster, easier, more affordable, and less emotionally draining for both parties.
How will you know if you’re investing all of your hopes and money in the right divorce lawyer? If you’re faced with divorce, here are 10 things you should consider.
1. Stay objective, realistic, and focused on the goal
Remember that your divorce is a legal process whose main purpose is to dissolve your assets and resolve custody issues. That being the case, your divorce lawyer’s job is to represent you to the best of their ability in their process, not to act as your therapist or coach.
Since working with lawyers isn’t cheap and the clock is always running, don’t misuse your money by releasing all of your frustrations, pain, and sadness for the sole purpose of venting out. Be realistic about their role and what you can expect from them.
2. Don’t let your emotions rule over you
The goal is to get divorced in the quickest and most cost-efficient way possible. And you don’t want to prolong the process by letting your emotions jump in when it comes to negotiating over material things that don’t mean so much to you in the big picture.
3. Seek references from family and friends
Do you know someone who’s had a divorce? Perhaps it’s a friend, a close colleague, or a relative. The first step is to ask them for advice on how they handled their divorce, and if they have any recommended lawyers in mind.
4. Ask the right questions
Interview two or three lawyers. Start with an initial phone call and ask the right questions:
- Their experience and specialization within the family law
- The type of client they usually represent
- Their rates and billing terms (most divorce lawyers charge an hourly fee and require a fee charged in advance)
- How long the process will take and how expensive will it be
Most lawyers and law firms, like one of the leading law firms in Parramatta, provide a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss your situation and what their legal approach will be. Take advantage of this and get as much advice as possible.
5. Check their resources
The divorce process can include parenting/custody coordinators, financial experts, coach facilitators, and even forensic appraisers. Depending on their relevance on your case, find out your prospective lawyer’s access to these resources, since it will affect the overall cost.
6. Dig deeper into their track records
When choosing a divorce attorney, look for one who has handled many divorce cases similar to yours. You might also want to look into the attorney’s trial record and history of success in court, even if you have no intention of heading to trial. Their track record is a solid indicator of their skills in negotiations.
7. Transparency is essential
Unfortunately, a lot of lawyers will tell you what you want to hear just to close the deal. Business is still business for them. So if an attorney is making promises, it’s one of the telltale signs they can’t be trusted, since there won’t be any guarantees in this process.
The right divorce lawyer is an honest one. They are transparent when it comes to how much your divorce process will likely cost, or if there are holes or any problems with your case, or whether or not you have a better advantage.
8. Look for red flags
Does your prospective divorce lawyer keep on talking about high-profile clients and disclosing their confidential information? Do they talk trash about other divorce attorneys you’re interviewing? Do they keep getting distracted by phone calls during your meetings, disrespecting your time and wasting your money? These are surefire signs they can’t be trusted.
9. Don’t hire someone who’s on your spouse’s side
If possible, don’t share a divorce lawyer with your spouse, or hire your spouse’s bestfriend, relative, or business partner. It doesn’t matter if you’re in good terms with them, or if they’re giving you a special discount – hiring them may involve an obvious conflict of interest and may even fuel a family feud.
10. Work with a divorce attorney you’re compatible with
While your divorce lawyer isn’t a marriage counselor, they need to be aware of some relevant details about your personal life in order to do a good job for you. With this, you should work with someone you’re comfortable sharing deeply personal information with.
The right divorce attorney is professional and knowledgeable, with good communication skills. This lawyer acknowledges the importance of your children’s welfare and puts them first in the legal process. This attorney is someone you can be comfortable with and provides a solution that works for you.
Don’t rush yourself when choosing the right divorce attorney that has your best interest at heart.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is a resident writer for McAuley Hawach Lawyers Parramatta, one of the leading law firms in Western Sydney and Parramatta. When she’s not writing practical pieces of advice about family law, commercial law, and more, you can find her playing the piano while enjoying a hot cup of coffee.