How to Choose a Divorce Lawyer

Divorce is such a tumultuous time for everyone involved.  And sadly, the legal aspects of a divorce can often get messy.  If you think the process will (or already has) turn ugly between you and your spouse, you may want to hire a divorce attorney.

While legal representation is entirely optional, you should consider seeking help if:

  • There has been abuse (spousal, child, sexual, or substance).
  • Your spouse is vindictive, or you suspect dishonesty will emerge.
  • If you and your spouse are struggling to reach an agreement about custody or finances.
  • Your spouse has hired a lawyer.

In addition to hiring a lawyer, you should take immediate action with the police if you fear your spouse will cause harm to you or your children.  You should file for a temporary order for custody for your children to avoid kidnapping charges, and you may want to submit a restraining order.

Steps for hiring a divorce lawyer

In your search for a lawyer, you’ll want to find the best option that fits with your budget and lifestyle.  To make the search process more accessible, follow these steps:

  • Start asking around for recommendations from friends and coworkers.  The local bar association can also give you referrals.
  • You won’t want to select the first lawyer you meet with.  Shop around a little.  Find someone who suits you.  Call several practices and schedule initial consultations.
  • Prepare for your meetings.  Jot down a list of questions, concerns, and goals.  You’ll also want to make notes regarding your expectations for property division, custody, and support.
  • Meet with each potential lawyer.  Make sure you ask plenty of questions and make a note of the answers.  This will help you later when you try to make a decision.  Pose questions about the procedure, who will be handling your case, fees, and payment schedule.
  • Evaluate each candidate.  Was there one who seemed competent, interested in your case, requested reasonable fees, and seemed compatible with your personality?
  • Cast your vote.  Select a winner.  Sign the lawyer’s fee agreement and schedule your first meeting.
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