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.