Choosing top divorce lawyers for your divorce may be the most important thing you do during the proceedings. Keep in mind that divorces are complex proceedings, much more complex than you’d expect. The stakes are high, both emotionally and financially, so you will need expert legal help.
Start your search by talking to the people you know closely – your family, your friends, coworkers or business partners. Ask if they know a good divorce attorney near me, and how to contact him or her. If this step is unsuccessful, you should search for an attorney at their professional organizations. Look for a lawyer at the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, The American Bar Association – Family Law Section or at your local state bar association. All these organizations have websites with complete lists of lawyers. They include credentials and contact information, so you can easily pick a good lawyer to help you.
If this also doesn’t work, you can also simply search online for the best divorce lawyers in your area. Similarly, you can use directories – they can be very useful if you want a specific lawyer.
There’s another thing to pay attention to: “how much” lawyer do you actually need? Do you want to work with the top divorce lawyers in your area or you can work with an average one? Keep in mind that the best ones cost a lot of money, but they are worth it if the financial risks are high. Ideally, you should pick a divorce lawyer that is within your budget, you can communicate well with and has good reviews or results.
How to choose a divorce lawyer? A quick guide
As you probably already know, there are top divorce lawyers, mediocre lawyers and bad lawyers out there. It’s the same in every profession – you will have to make the right choice. This means doing your homework, asking the right questions and knowing what you want. The best lawyers will listen to what you have to say, will ask pertaining questions and will explain what to expect. You’ll get an honest assessment of the case and what the outcome can be. You’ll know what to expect, how to approach the case and how to prepare for it.
Always look for someone who:
- practices and has experience with family or matrimonial law, specifically in your state
- can recommend and has worked with other professionals who can help with your case; these may include financial experts, accountants, business evaluators, private detectives, custody and parenting experts or other lawyers who are specialized in other types of legal work;
- has a lot of experience– look for a divorce attorney near me who has worked on similar cases before and knows how to handle the legal issues you face; if the lawyer is young or inexperienced, make sure he or she has worked at a reputable law firm on similar cases;
- is a skilled negotiator – this is very important if you want to settle the case out of court; in most situations, this type of deal will be more beneficial than going to court, so you will need a good lawyer to assist you;
- is reasonable – always choose a lawyer who can make a fair assessment of your case; you don’t want to work with a lawyer who makes snap decisions and wants to drag a case as revenge;
- is compatible with you – this is by far the most important aspect when choosing a divorce lawyer – choose a professional that is communicative and is easy to talk to; although you don’t have to be close friends, you should definitely get along with your lawyer; you should be able to talk openly with your lawyer and be comfortable with sensitive information going back and forth;
- is candid – good lawyer must be upfront about sensitive information; you’ll need to know how much the services cost, how much can you expect to get after the divorce is complete and what your chances of success really are; also, you’ll have to be informed about the issues that can occur during the proceedings; everything must be transparent – you are the client, and you have to be well informed
- is not in conflict with your interests – your divorce attorney near me must be only your lawyer; he or she should not work with your wife or husband, should not work with your best friends or other family members; there should be no conflict of interests whatsoever; if this is not the case, the legal proceedings will have to suffer and will turn against you; what’s more, a whole new family feud might pop out of nowhere;
- is more than a pretty face – this may sound weird, but don’t choose your lawyer based on physical appearance; while a pretty face may help in certain situations, pay attention to their expertise and competence – these are the qualities that really matter in court;
The specific skills
Handling a divorce is difficult and there are many aspects to take into consideration. Hire a lawyer that has experience with:
- custody – this is very important if the couple has children; custody laws are very complex and they can vary from state to state; if you have children, work with a lawyer who has experience with custody law and understands father’s or mother’s issues and specific needs;
- small businesses – this is important if one of the spouses manages or owns a business; during a divorce, the assets have to be divided and if there is a business involved, the division of assets can become quite complex; choose a lawyer who knows how to deal with financial aspects and business regulations;
international/out of state cases – make sure your lawyer knows how to handle out of state cases and understands the implications behind these cases; keep in mind that divorce laws can vary a lot and you should work with a lawyer who knows and can handle this aspect.