Divorce Lawyer who is the potential candidate? Choosing the right divorce attorney can make a difference.
Hiring a divorce lawyer is perhaps one of the most difficult decisions you will ever have to make. However, taking time to research attorneys who specialize in divorce and family law can save you additional heartache and grief. Since you will be spending considerable time with your chosen divorce lawyer, it is imperative to find someone you connect with and who offers services suited for your needs.
Prior to retaining services from any divorce lawyer, it is a good idea to create a list of potential candidates. This can be accomplished by obtaining referrals from family, friends, neighbors or co-workers. Divorce statistics state one of every two marriages fail, so it's a safe bet you know someone who has worked with a divorce attorney
Law firms and private attorneys specializing in divorce can be located in your local telephone directory, as well as online. Yellowpages.com is a useful resource, as is the American Bar Association.
As painful as it may be, it is important to thoroughly examine your personal situation prior to interviewing divorce attorneys. There are two types of divorce – contested and uncontested. If you and your spouse are in agreement and able to divide assets without entering into all-out war against each other; it is considered uncontested. If either you or your spouse does not want a divorce or unable to reach an amicable agreement, the divorce falls into the category of contested.
Most people prefer uncontested divorce proceedings. Unfortunately, divorce oftentimes brings out the worst in people and uncontested divorces quickly become contested. People fight over personal belongings, financial assets, real estate holdings, spousal or child support and even who will gain custody of pets.
Knowing which direction your divorce is headed can help you locate a divorce lawyer who possesses the skills required to maximize your options. For instance, if you have children and live in a state with spousal support, you will want to work with divorce law firms who specialize in family law. If you do not have children and possess few assets, a lawyer who has a good understanding of divorce laws will be sufficient. If your divorce is complex, contested and involves real estate holdings and financial issues, you will want to work with an attorney who specializes in tax and financial matters.
After narrowing down your search, contact a minimum of four divorce lawyers and arrange a meeting. Prepare a list of income, expenses and financial assets and determine the outcome you expect. Do you want to continue living in the home you have purchased with your spouse? Are you currently facing foreclosure or in the midst of bankruptcy? Who will be responsible for outstanding debts? Do you want full or joint custody of your children? Should financial assets or real estate holdings be equally divided? These are questions you should be prepared to answer at your initial meeting.
Once you have met with potential divorce lawyers, it is advised to conduct research to determine if they are in good standing with the American Bar Association or if any complaints have been filed against them.
If the law firm has a website, take time to review the attorneys' biographies. Conduct research online by typing in the divorce lawyer's name at your favorite search engine. If anyone has filed a complaint against the attorney, chances are good you can locate the information online. Check with the Better Business Bureau to ensure the divorce law firm or private attorney is in good standing.
Divorce lawyers are not cheap and typically charge $150 to $275 per hour, or more. Therefore, it is extremely important to take time to locate one who is proficient and professional. Oftentimes, attorneys have paralegals prepare documents and conduct research to save their clients money. Paralegals are generally billed at approximately two-thirds of the divorce lawyer's fee. In many cases, you will be working with the paralegal more often than the attorney. Be certain to ask if paralegals will be part of the team when arranging meetings with prospective divorce lawyers. If so, request the paralegal be present during the initial meeting.
In reality, there is no such thing as an easy divorce. Even if both parties are in complete agreement, divorce is an emotional event that can be exceptionally painful. Be careful choosing a divorce lawyer and work with one who suits your personality.