Things to Consider Before Hiring a Divorce Lawyer
Are you ready to go through the confusing and draining emotional rollercoaster that is a divorce? Well, you can never be too ready for a process that dissolves and makes void the vows you made but, there are one thing guaranteed to make the process less stressful, hiring the right lawyer. Yes, you have to worry about how your kids will cope (if you have kids) and you may be worried about losing money in the process, but your worries will double if you don't hire a good divorce attorney.
Note that the lawyer you hire will help you decide on the best process to help. So, if you keep asking 'do you need a lawyer for an uncontested divorce?' We recommend getting a lawyer who will guide you in the process. Here are the essentials to consider before you hire a divorce lawyer.
A divorce is grueling. To ensure a fair division of your assets, home and kids, you must have an experienced lawyer in your corner. By experience, we mean a lawyer who has been to a court trial for a divorce. You need someone who has been through the process severally. Someone who knows what to expect and one who can advise you accordingly. So, don't be shy - ask the potential lawyer how long they have been handling divorce cases and how many cases they have discussed.
To simplify your search, ask for referrals from your friends and acquaintances. Someone who has gone through a divorce will be able to share their experience and recommend the same lawyer or a different one. The persons you interact with will advise you to try lawyer/ firm X or even advice you against others. Note that even when a lawyer has specialized in family law, they might be fresh in divorce litigations - you have a lot to lose so don't wing it.
Not all lawyers exude impeccable public speaking skills, and in some cases, you may find the best divorce lawyer, but you may not be able to communicate effectively. When you communicate well with each other, it is easy to get the verdict you wanted from the divorce but if you are cannot communicate well, you will have major problems, and you might lose your case. To measure the lawyer's communication skills, call or send emails and see how prompt they are. Also, be keen with their tone. The other thing to do is to check with former clients; you may learn a thing or two from them.
How comfortable your lawyer makes you feel
You are entrusting that person with the uphill task of ensuring that you get what you want from your divorce. So, when interviewing him or her, think about how they make you feel. Listen to their tone, body language, and whether you get along with or not. You need a lawyer who makes you feel confident about their abilities and also one who gets you. You also need to observe what they do when you are talking. If he or she is distracted all the time, take that as a red flag and look for someone else. Your money and emotions are on the line, and you need a lawyer who inspires confidence at first glance.
Make sure that you ask about their attorney fees on the first consultative meeting. Experienced lawyers charge more, but you need to be sure that you will get your money's worth. Before you agree to anything, find out their hourly rate, the upfront retainer, if a percentage of the retainer is refundable, and how often they will send invoices. You also need to find out if they have different rates for in-court and out-of-court sessions.
You need to know if your potential lawyer has issues with the bar association before. You need to know about the skeletons in their closet before they represent you.
Lastly, find a lawyer who is patient with you, one who will explain the entire divorce procedure, one you can ask all the questions you have; basically, a lawyer with your best interests at heart.