How to Select a Divorce Attorney
First of all, of course, you are going to talk to your friends and relatives and ask for referrals. You will probably also do some research online, but you already know that you should not choose an attorney solely from a website. You want to hear about the real-life experiences of other people. Be sure to ask what your friends did not like about the attorneys they contacted, as well as what they did like.
- Did the attorney fail to communicate? Did he or she respond to questions in a reasonable amount of time and keep the client informed of the status of the case?
- Did the attorney seem distracted? Did your friend or relative feel that the attorney was not really paying close attention to his or her case?
- Was the attorney prepared to fight if necessary? Is he or she an experienced litigator who is ready to go to court? Often, if an opposing lawyer knows that your lawyer is prepared to litigate if need be, he/she will be more inclined to settle out of court and will counsel your spouse to settle.
You are also looking for an attorney whose personality suits you. You want to feel that you can confide in this person, that he/she will not be judgmental and that his discretion is absolute. Does this person inspire a sense of trust in you? Does he or she convey a sense of solidity, strength, experience and knowledge?
Obviously, no attorney can give you a detailed description of how he/she plans to handle your case at a first meeting. But, after listening carefully to your description of your situation and what you seek to gain in your divorce, he or she should be able to suggest in broad terms a road map that will get you where you want to go and to identify possible pitfalls you need to watch out for along the way.
It is certainly acceptable and fairly common for a person seeking a divorce to interview more than one attorney. You can be quite open about your search and when you plan to make a decision.
Remember that saving money upfront with a lawyer who asks for a very modest retainer may not save you money or win the best possible settlement for you in the long run. Obtaining a divorce is just one more area of life in which you almost always get exactly what you pay for.