Choosing Your Divorce Lawyer: Five Things You Need to Know
Divorce is an unfortunate reality experienced by nearly half of all families. The chances of proceeding in a respectful and amicable manner can increase depending on your choice of representation. Here's a list of five things to consider before hiring divorce counsel:
- Reputation is important! A lawyer's reputation reflects many things that are important to your divorce case, not the least of which is the ability to work productively and effectively on your behalf with opposing counsel to achieve a respectful and amicable resolution. Does the lawyer you are considering have a reputation for this? Also, it is advisable to select an attorney whose trial ability is well known and highly regarded. Odd as it may seem, the more capable the attorney is known to be in trial, the less likely a trial will be necessary.
- All attorneys have different personalities and approaches; you will never fully appreciate these differences unless you first interview several potential attorneys before retaining the one who has outlined the approach most consistent with your wishes.
- It is unlikely that everything will go your way in the process. Compromises will have to occur. The lawyer you select should be willing to share bad news with you and give you candid advice, even if you don't really want to hear it. That way, you can choose the compromises you are willing to accept.
- The more accessible your attorney is, the more likely you will feel that your wishes and concerns are addressed. In this golden age of technology, telephone and voicemail should not be the only suitable methods for contacting the attorney you hire. Make sure your attorney is willing to communicate with you by email, and that they provide you with their cell phone for emergencies or the occasional off-hours conversation.
- There are many different ways to resolve your divorce case. Trial may have to be the ultimate answer, but most of the time there are many ways to settle your case short of a trial through negotiation. When a lawyer tells you it will be easier to try the case to the court than to engage in meaningful settlement negotiations, the lawyer could be telling you he or she has very little interest in efforts to resolve the case outside the walls of the courthouse. Trial is sometimes necessary, but it is very expensive to prepare and try, and the results are typically far less predictable.