Hiring a divorce lawyer is never an easy task. In most instances, divorce is a highly-charged emotional event that creates substantial stress. Taking time to hire the appropriate divorce attorney can save you additional grief and heartache.
Chances are you will spend a considerable amount of time with your divorce lawyer and his staff. Therefore, it is imperative to locate an attorney who you connect with and who offers services best suited for your personal situation.
Family law experts suggest interviewing several divorce lawyers before making a final decision. Start by making a list of potential candidates. Obtain referrals from friends, family, co-workers or neighbors. Considering one of every two marriages ends up in divorce, chances are good you know someone who can recommend a good lawyer.
Attorneys who specialize in family law and divorce can be located in local telephone directories, or through online phone directories. One good resource is YellowPages.com. The American Bar Association provides a nationwide list of lawyers on their website at ABAnet.org.
It's important to know which direction your divorce is headed prior to consulting with divorce lawyers. There are two types of divorce - uncontested and contested. Most people prefer uncontested divorces. If you and your spouse can reach an amicable agreement on how to divide assets you are probably a good candidate for an uncontested divorce.
If, on the other hand, you or your spouse do not want a divorce or fight over who will take ownership of possessions your divorce will be considered contested.
Unfortunately, divorce tends to bring out the worst in people. Oftentimes, uncontested divorces quickly become contested. Couples begin to fight over personal belongings, financial assets and real estate holdings, spousal or child support, and who will gain custody of pets. Knowing if your divorce will be contested or uncontested can help you locate a lawyer who possesses necessary skills to maximize your options.
When minor children are involved, divorcing couples should consider working with law firms who specialize in family law. Couples who hold real estate and financial portfolios will want to work with divorce lawyers experienced in tax and financial matters.
Once you've developed a list, contact a minimum of four divorce lawyers to arrange a consultation. Prior to your meeting, prepare a list of income, expenses, financial assets and real estate holdings.
Next, determine the outcome you wish you achieve. Do you want to continue residing in the house you purchased with your spouse? Who will be responsible for accrued debts secured by personal loans or credit cards? Do you want full or joint custody of your children? Prepare a list of questions and concerns prior to your meeting.
After meeting with each divorce lawyer, take time to conduct research to ensure they are in good standing with the American Bar Association and possess strong ethics. If the law firm has a website, take time to review company information and attorney biographies.
Divorce lawyers are not cheap. Hourly rates can range from $150 to $500, or more. Therefore, it is crucial to hire an attorney who is proficient with time and possesses experience with your type of divorce.
The fact of the matter is there is no such thing as an easy divorce. Even if both parties completely agree, divorce is a painful and emotionally-draining experience. The sting of divorce can be reduced by choosing a lawyer who is experienced, proficient, and compatible with your personality.