Selecting a divorce attorney can be a pretty daunting task. No one wants to sift through online advertisements and hire the first divorce attorney that they find. This will be the individual that will assist in negotiating the terms of the divorce, so it is vital to ensure they have the credentials, skill and experience, and style required at a price that is affordable.
First of all, ensure the attorney has experience with family law. In a number of states, attorneys can receive board-certification for family law. To get this type of certification, the attorney needs to demonstrate significant trial experience as well as pass a difficult exam. To maintain certification, continuing education on the topic of family law is required every year. Keep in mind that a board-certified family law attorney will often charge more and require higher retainer fees than non board-certified lawyers. However, board-certification often means more experience which can be extremely beneficial. When meeting to discuss credentials, the attorney should discuss all matters with you in a language that is understandable and not “legalese.” Individuals need to feel comfortable with their attorney as there is the possibility that personal information regarding the marriage will be exchanged. As well, ensure that, if there are children, the attorney will put the needs of the children first.
When selecting a divorce attorney, individuals should look for one with comprehensive legal knowledge and skills. An ideal divorce attorney will be a problem solver, negotiator and compromiser. They should also be comfortable in a courtroom setting, especially if there is the possibility the divorce will go to trial. Even if there are no plans to go to court, the attorney’s experience and success record will demonstrate the ability to adequately negotiate a settlement. If the divorce situation is a complex one, choose a divorce attorney that has a complete understanding of the current issues and knows specific laws relevant to the situation. A good divorce attorney also has the numbers of financial experts, like CPAs on file. Keep in mind, divorce negotiations is not just about ending the marriage but also financial matters.
Never base a decision as big as this on how nice an office is. Just because an office is fancy and located in an upscale building, it does not mean the attorney has adequate legal skills. The same goes for an attorney’s physical appearance. Do not also assume that because the fee is high that the attorney’s representation is high quality. Newly minted divorce attorneys have a lower price tag than divorce attorneys a solid reputation and numerous years of experience under their belt. However, there is an advantage with a new divorce attorney – they will most likely work a bit harder than a seasoned attorney in an effort to build a good reputation for themselves. Understand that a majority of divorce attorney bill per hour; a very small percentage are willing to take a flat fee. This is because it is hard to predetermine how a divorce hearing will go. If the divorce is completely amicable and the attorney has well defied tasks, an attorney may be more like to settle for a flat fee.