Having to go through a divorce can be a very stressful and overwhelming process; however, with the right lawyer guiding you along the way, the process can be much more comfortable. To assist you in selecting the right lawyer for you and your specific case, consider these 5 tips:
- Find an attorney who limits his or her practice to family law
In most divorce situations, experience is an essential element in the attorney’s capacity to represent you with a full understanding of the complex and ever changing nature of the laws related to divorce, custody, support and property division. A lawyer whose practice covers a range of areas that may include criminal defense, personal injury, bankruptcy or other areas simply is likely to spread the attorney’s ability to stay current on all of the statutory and case law that will affect your case.
- Think carefully about what will be the most important issues in your situation
Will the primary concern be related to the custody and parenting time issues that you and your children face? Will the division of your marital property be the primary focus? Is child support and spousal support a matter of real importance to you? Look for an attorney who has the actual experience of dealing with the issues most important to your situation and who has a well-established record of success in such cases.
- Are you concerned about psychological issues that relate to your spouse or to your children? If so, be sure to look for an attorney with a good understanding of psychology and child development
Law schools do not train lawyers in psychology or child development matters yet often psychological problems are at the heart of divorce and family problems. In such situations, it is very important to find an attorney who has a strong background in psychology so that the strategies that are utilized will be tailored to your specific case and to the needs of you and your children. Lawyers without such a background frequently develop strategies that are ineffective and expensive and do not ultimately serve your family well.
- Be open with any prospective lawyer about what is most important to you
Plan ahead and come to an interview with a list of the questions you need to have answered. Give the attorney an opportunity to ask you questions before starting to ask your own. This will give you a chance to get a feel for the personality and style of the attorney and a chance to see if you are comfortable with them. He or she may answer many of your questions even before you ask. Always ask what steps the attorney will take to address your concerns and goals. Is his or her plan specific to your case or does it feel like the attorney basically takes the same approach to every case?
- When you interview an attorney in your initial consultation, trust yourself and your own instincts
You know yourself far better than any attorney can know you. You know what is really important to you. Mostly, you will know whether the attorney is someone with whom you feel comfortable to discuss your situation with. Do you feel you can trust the attorney? Does he or she explain things in a way that you can readily understand? Are you comfortable asking questions without fear that they may seem “dumb?” Do you feel confident that you will be kept well informed about the progress of your case? Your initial impressions and feelings will give you important guidance in selecting the attorney that is right for your case.
We hope these tips are helpful to you. Remember that you are placing a great deal in the hands of the attorney you select to guide you. The next several months can be important to set you on a course for happiness for yourself and your family for the years ahead.