Fifty percent of all marriages in the United States end in divorce. That’s not a great statistic, but it’s true. Although divorces may be emotionally combative, most divorces do not end up in a contested trial. With a divorce attorney’s help, parties can negotiate settlements for things such as spousal support, child custody, division of property and so on. Finding the best divorce attorney for your particular case is not an easy task. As you can imagine many divorce lawyers will take your case but they have no vested interest in the final outcome. That’s why your own due diligence is so important when it comes to finding and hiring the right divorce attorney.
Divorce laws are different from state to state so you need to find a divorce lawyer in your local area to best handle your divorce case. You may know of a great lawyer in California that one of your friends or relatives used but if you live in Massachusetts, that won’t do you much good. There are many things you need to consider when choosing a divorce attorney and I’ve tried to outline what I consider to be the most important factors.
Since divorce is not an uncommon occurrence today, chances are you know someone who has already gone through a divorce. So word of mouth from family members, friends and coworkers would be one of the best ways to narrow the field down.
If you have time, you could visit your local courthouse and witness different attorneys handling their clients divorce cases. As I mentioned earlier, most divorces do not end up in trial, but if yours does, you would certainly want the best divorce attorney to handle your divorce case.
Research the attorney you’re considering with the state listing of trials and motions. Since this person will be representing you, make sure everything checks out before you make your decision.
Don’t limit your search to one divorce attorney. Interview many. Find the person you’re most comfortable with and understands what you’re looking for. Ask what kind of divorce attorney they are. Are you and your spouse looking for a settlement, or do you think your case will go to trial? If it will go to trial, you want a divorce lawyer with lots of trial experience.
You could also find out who is on the board of matrimonial lawyers in your local state and the better lawyers are usually on it.
Always have a written agreement with your divorce attorney. Do not hire your attorney on an oral agreement only. This can lead to misunderstandings and could end up costing you more time and money than you bargained for. Make sure your fee agreement, or retainer, is in writing and you understand the terms completely.
Last but not least, get references. There’s nothing more important than references.
Needless to say, this list could go on and on, but you should have a good sense of what to look for. Every case is different so make sure the divorce attorney you choose, is familiar with cases like yours and he/she has your best interest at heart.