Finding a divorce attorney that’s right for you can be a tricky decision-making process and a challenging one when you’re working through the roller coaster of emotions that come with even the most amicable of separations. In many scenarios, cost is the driving factors. But instead, we should be choosing based on quality and how strongly they advocate – payment plans can always be negotiated.
Your attorney is not your therapist – if you’re using them as such, you’re wasting a lot of money. Their job is to be on your side and help you to the best of their ability, but being realistic about expectations will help quicken the process. Helping compartmentalize your needs will make it less messy and help your wallet out as well.
Be completely sure of what process you want
While divorce attorneys are helpful, they’re not always essential. We don’t recommend representing yourself, but going a peaceful route might be easier for communication between you and your ex as opposed to an “each man for himself” scenario. There are tons of options to explore, from litigation, mediation, cooperative and collaborative divorce – each attorney specializes in their own kind.
Make a checklist – don’t go with the first lawyer you meet
While many lawyers can be good at charming you into becoming a client, thoroughly interviewing all of them is vital. You need someone that hits everything on a well- thought out checklist, from communication and negotiation skills to creativity and experience. Don’t be blinded by slickness and 5 dollar words. Writing out this checklist and going through it step-by-step is a mandatory first step.
Be wary of research methods
Word of mouth is very powerful when it comes to this sort of decision, but using elites like Yelp and other review based systems is equally efficient. Just be aware that when it comes to the online world, authenticity is a tricky game. Reviews and advertisements can be bought, whereas if you confide in someone you trust, their own personal experience is hard to negate.
Decide the kind of lawyer that is right for your needs
Legal counsel is necessary. But whether you need the most expensive law firm on your side… debateable. Wanting as much ammo as possible in a delicate situation like this is understandable, but what is utilized depends on the situation. Lots of tied up assets, owning a company, or complex fiscal situations might require a more niche, experienced lawyer, but a short marriage with no kids and few shared assets could be much simpler.
Don’t be a penny pincher, but know what you can afford
While we criticized being cheap at the start, there’s a difference between pinching pennies and spending outside of your means. If your job makes you a six-figure salary and you own a lot of real-estate, being cheap when you don’t have to could cost you more than you think. On the other end of the spectrum, spending extravagantly when your account isn’t loaded could lead to bankruptcy.
Be logical, but listen to your gut
Being rational and assimilating pros and cons when it comes to finding a tailor-made lawyer is all fine and dandy. But if your gut is telling you not to go with something that looks amazing on paper, there’s probably a reason. Trusting your instincts and that little voice inside your head is important. Big red flags include things like lawyers that take client calls or texts on your time.