If you are facing or contemplating a divorce, you should seek the legal advice of a divorce lawyer. A good divorce lawyer can help educate you on the divorce laws in your state and help minimize the lengthy court process and emotional distress often associated with divorce proceedings. Knowing when to contact or hire a divorce lawyer can make the difference between an amicable split between you and your partner and a potentially uphill battle.
Below is important information you need to know about hiring a divorce lawyer.
Why You Need a Divorce Lawyer
Divorce is a complicated process. Not only does it impact you -- both emotionally and financially -- it may also impact your children, family, and friends. If you're thinking about filing for a divorce, or if your spouse has initiated divorce proceedings, you need an experienced divorce lawyer to help you navigate this difficult time while protecting your assets and legal rights. An experienced divorce attorney will evaluate your specific case and advise you at every stage of the divorce process, all with the goal of ensuring that the outcome of your divorce is as favorable as possible to you and your family.
Hiring a good divorce attorney with experience, objectivity, and specialized knowledge to represent you during the divorce proceedings is a good idea. While some divorces may be handled alone, other more complicated divorces warrant the legal advice of a qualified divorce attorney or someone who knows the intricacies of the divorce process. You may have questions concerning your eligibility for divorce, where to file, divorce fees/costs, and setting up a parenting plan if you have kids, for instance.
What to Look For in a Divorce Lawyer
Divorce lawyers handle a variety of divorce issues, including settlement agreements, child custody/child visitation, division of property and finances, and spousal support. When looking for a divorce lawyer, you should concentrate on the lawyer's expertise, skill level, commitment, and location or area served.
Because divorce proceedings require divulging many aspects of your personal life and financial assets, you should feel comfortable speaking freely in your lawyer's presence, and feel confident in the lawyer's ability to handle your case. Your divorce lawyer should also have experience handling child support cases (if kids are involved) and/or division of property issues (if applicable).
It is also important to know the attorney's style and divorce philosophy, such as whether combative or cooperative, and whether the attorney offers divorce alternatives, such as mediation or other out-of-court proceedings. Not all divorces have to end in an evil battle, and an attorney's philosophy may make the difference in the long-term outcome of your relationship with your ex-spouse.
Lastly, because state laws vary, it's important that the attorney have experience handling divorces in the state where the marriage first took place.
How to Find a Divorce Lawyer
There are numerous ways to find a qualified divorce lawyer. Referrals from friends and family or online research may be a good start. However, not all websites are the same and unless you live in the same state as your friend or relative, or have unlimited hours to spend online, you may wish to find a local divorce lawyer using one of several quality-assured lawyer directories, such as FindLaw, devoted to connecting you to an experienced lawyer in your area.
Questions to Ask a Divorce Lawyer
Before selecting a divorce lawyer, you should feel comfortable enough to speak with him or her concerning all aspects of your family's situation. Below are some of the questions you should ask before hiring a divorce attorney.
What is involved in the divorce process and how long does it typically last?
What percentage of your practice is devoted to divorce cases? How many divorce cases have you tried?
What is your experience handling child custody/visitation cases and/or working with high net worth individuals (if applicable)?
How much of my divorce case will you actually handle?
What is your philosophy on divorce? Do you offer mediation or other alternative out-of-court dispute resolution?
Can you give me an estimate of how much my divorce will cost?
Divorce Attorney Fees
The cost of a divorce will vary, and depends on a number of factors. First, not all divorce attorneys are the same, and a good divorce attorney will probably cost more than an average divorce lawyer. Second, not all divorce cases are the same some cases may be resolved with minimum paperwork and in a short period of time, while others will involve repeated court appearances, increased paperwork, and multiple negotiations. Third, divorce attorney fees will likely vary according to geography, so a California divorce attorney may cost more than a divorce attorney in Tennessee. In all cases, it is wise to consult with a variety of divorce attorneys in your area to find one you feel comfortable with in representing you and get a sense of the cost involved in representing your case.
Get Legal Help with Your Divorce
Divorce is never an easy decision to make, but sometimes it's necessary. There's a lot to do in order to get a divorce, and various procedural rules to follow. For this reason, it's a good idea to hire an experienced divorce attorney who will be familiar with the divorce process and can advocate on your behalf, both in and out of the courtroom.