If you’re facing divorce, it’s essential to have an attorney by your side to protect your rights and guide you through the legal process. However, with many divorce attorneys to choose from, you may feel overwhelmed when it comes to knowing how to select the right one. Although it may take some time and effort, it’s critical to make sure you do your diligence before making a decision concerning who will represent you.
Every divorce attorney has their own unique approach and the attorney you work with can make all the difference to the outcome of your matrimonial matter. Here are some tips on how to choose a divorce lawyer who will be a good fit for your case.
1. Identify Your Goals
It can be hard to put emotions aside when you’re going through a divorce, but it’s necessary to objectively identify your goals. Your focus should be on obtaining a divorce with as little financial damage as possible and ensuring that your children come first. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you might consider mediation as an alternative to litigation to help reduce the economic and emotional impact. Knowing how you’d like to proceed with your divorce can be a good starting point for choosing an attorney who can meet your needs.
2. Select an Attorney Who Focuses Solely on Divorce and Family Law
There are many different areas of law, and it’s a good idea to hire an attorney who focuses solely on divorce and family law. While some attorneys may handle divorces occasionally as part of their practice, matrimonial law is its own field and requires specific knowledge. Divorces can involve many complex issues and your interests might be served best by retaining a lawyer who exclusively handles these types of cases.
3. Ask Questions at Your Consultation
Divorce attorneys aren’t all the same. Every lawyer has a different level of experience and skill set. The initial consultation with a California divorce attorney is your chance to interview them, ask questions, and see whether they might be a good fit for your case. You can also get a good idea from meeting with the attorney whether you’ll feel comfortable working with them. Since you’ll have to divulge personal information during the course of representation, it’s paramount to choose an attorney who is compassionate, responsive, and communicative.
4. Get a Recommendation
Obtaining a referral from a family member or friend who also had gone through a divorce is one of the best ways to find a good attorney. Importantly, you should first find out what process they used — if their divorce was resolved amicably through mediation and your case is contested, you want to make sure the attorney handles cases like yours. You might also be able to get a recommendation from another lawyer who may have assisted you with another type of legal matter in the past.
5. Find a Local California Divorce Attorney
When you begin your search for a divorce attorney, you might be wondering, “Do I need to hire a divorce attorney near me?” Working with a local divorce lawyer can have numerous practical and strategic advantages. Significantly, they will be familiar with the courthouse in which your case will be heard, as well as with the judges and their rules. Hiring an attorney near you can also save you time traveling to and from their office when you need to schedule a conference or sign documents.
6. Pick an Attorney with Courtroom Experience
Unless it’s certain that your divorce will settle amicably and out of court, it’s a good idea to make sure you have an attorney on your side with extensive experience in the courtroom. If you and your spouse don’t agree on just one aspect of your divorce, your case will be considered a contested matter and you could end up spending a considerable amount of time in litigation. Unless the matter is settled, it could go to trial. While you want to work with an attorney who can skillfully negotiate issues to help you reduce cost and conflict, you should also make sure they have a proven track record of success at trial.
7. Have Realistic Expectations
Family law matters can be emotionally charged and it’s normal to experience a wide range of emotions. However, no matter how hurt or angry you are, it’s crucial to have realistic expectations for your case and understand that reaching a resolution by compromise may be in your best interests. A good divorce lawyer will be upfront and straightforward without making unrealistic promises about your case and provide you with honest counsel along the way.
8. Choose a Divorce Lawyer Who Has the Knowledge Necessary for Your Case
Each divorce case has specific issues involved, and you should find an attorney who has the skills and knowledge to represent your interests well. For instance, you may need to look for an attorney who has experience handling high net worth divorces or contentious custody cases. Additionally, if you’re a business owner, you should consider working with an attorney who has proficiency handling cases involving the division of business assets in divorce.
9. Consider Costs
Divorce attorney rates and retainer fees can vary based on a number of factors, including experience level. You should carefully assess how much you can afford to spend, taking into consideration the complexity of your case and your need for the legal services a particular attorney would be able to provide. You might also want to think about whether cost-effective alternatives to litigation, such as mediation, would be feasible in your case.
10. Hire an Attorney You Can Trust
Before signing the retainer agreement, you should ask yourself whether you feel comfortable talking with the attorney and have confidence in their abilities. Divorce is one of the most difficult and stressful situations you may face in your lifetime. You need to have an advocate on your side who you can trust throughout the process — and obtain positive results in your case.
Contact an Experienced California Divorce Attorney
Choosing the right attorney is one of the most important decisions you will make in your divorce case. Not only can an experienced California divorce attorney help you navigate the legal system and protect your rights, but they can also provide peace of mind. The Law Offices of Rick D. Banks has more than 20 years of experience helping clients throughout Fresno and the surrounding area with divorce and a wide variety of family law matters. To schedule a no obligation consultation, call (559) 272-8359.