Divorce Lawyer: To Hire or Not to Hire?
By Sarah J. Merry
As if coming to the decision to seek a divorce was not stressful and complicated enough, you are now facing the seemingly daunting task of hiring an attorney. Hiring a divorce lawyer, and, in particular, who you hire as your attorney, is an important decision and should be made after thorough consideration.
Just think: your matrimonial attorney is an individual with whom you will be spending a great deal of time with over the next several months, if not years (yes, sometimes even years) and he or she will be the person who you will count on to guide you through the divorce process.
Selecting an attorney is important, but selecting the RIGHT attorney for you is even more important! Several factors to consider during the attorney selection process are as follows:
Experience is probably the most obvious factor that comes to mind for individuals looking to hire an attorney. When it comes to divorce and/or custody matters, it is very important that you hire an attorney who practices mainly, if not solely, in these areas of the law.
Divorce and child custody laws can be very complex and all too often attorneys who “dabble” in domestic relations law find themselves in over their heads with divorce litigation, with the client paying the price (both monetarily and in results achieved).
In addition to an attorney’s experience with domestic relations law, it is important to consider hiring an attorney or a firm that focuses on representing men specifically.
Men going through a divorce or custody dispute face particular societal influences that continue to affect the way courts treat men. An attorney who focuses on men’s litigation will be best equipped with the knowledge and experience needed to successfully handle these issues.
The outcome of your divorce will have a lasting impact on the rest of your life. Make sure that you have an attorney who is well versed in this area of the law and in men’s litigation to ensure that you receive the best representation and advise possible.
While you may be thinking, “none of this is affordable”, an attorney’s or a firm’s hourly rate is an important factor that must be considered.
It is important to remember that simply because a particular attorney charges an hourly rate that is significantly higher than his or her peers does not mean that the attorney is more qualified to handle your divorce. Attorney’s fees may vary by experience, firm size, and location.
When interviewing attorneys, costs and billing should be an up front discussion. Do not hesitate to ask questions about hourly rates and other fees and costs.
Divorce is expensive (that is the cold hard truth) but choosing your attorney/firm wisely can have a big impact on the outcome of your divorce, and on the size of your wallet.
This may seem like an odd consideration at first, but the personality of an attorney or the personality of a firm that you are considering hiring makes a difference in the divorce process.
Since you will be spending a fair amount of time talking to this person in the coming months, your attorney should be someone with whom you feel comfortable sharing intimate details of your life with, someone who you find likable, and most importantly, someone that you can trust.
Many times, divorce attorneys do more than advise a client on the law; they help you manage your emotions and provide you practical feedback. The more likable you find your attorney, the more you will benefit from his or her legal and non-legal advice.
Divorce Attorney Reputation
Do not hesitate to “ask around” and do research before you hire an attorney. You want to hire an attorney who will be attentive to your case, who will be reasonably available to you, and who has other satisfied clients.
Scour the Internet and ask your friends or colleagues if they have any knowledge of the attorney or firm that you are considering hiring.
The process of divorce is not easy. Make it easier by hiring the RIGHT attorney for your case!