5 Keys to Hiring the Right Divorce Lawyer
Hiring the right divorce lawyer for you is the first step in ensuring that you don’t find yourself in the middle of a knock down- drag out divorce battle having spent all of your money with nothing to show for it–a reality that sadly many divorcing couples see every day in California divorce courts. These 5 tips to hiring the right divorce lawyer will help you avoid joining that club:
1. Do your research.
Research attorneys online. Look at the law firm and consumer review websites. Is the attorney’s website informative? Does the attorney seem to be qualified? Also look to see if there are client reviews of the attorney online. Keeping in mind that oftentimes online reviews aren’t necessarily always legitimate, enough bad reviews on the same issue could tell you something.
2. Talk to more than one lawyer.
It’s okay to shop around. You may have buyer’s remorse if you end up hiring the first attorney that you talk to. You should never feel obligated to hire an attorney merely because he or she spent time discussing your case with you. If an attorney tries to guilt you into hiring them then you know that you made the right choice in moving on. Also, different attorneys have very different approaches to practicing law. Talking to more than one attorney will give you a variety of approaches and personalities to choose from.
3. Meet the lawyer in person.
Especially with a divorce lawyer in a family law case, you will be working very closely with this person and trusting this person with your financial and familial future. You need to hire someone that you are comfortable with and that you can trust. More can be translated in a personal meeting than can be gleaned over the phone. It’s worth the time to schedule an in office consultation prior to hiring the attorney if possible.
4. Don’t fall for inflated promises.
Everyone knows that there are good lawyers and there are bad lawyers. There is a reason that lawyers in general have a bad reputation. Bad divorce lawyers are known for making promises to their client’s that cannot possibly be kept. Inflated expectations are the number one reason for frustration in divorce court and the number one reason that many divorcing parties move from one divorce lawyer to the next. If it sounds too good to be true then it probably is. Any good divorce lawyer will tell you that there is never a guarantee of outcome in family court. You will be able to tell if your attorney is blowing smoke by the first contested hearing or by the first letter from the opposing attorney. If there are red flags regarding the advice that you are being given then it may be time to look for a new lawyer.
5. Move on quickly if it’s not working.
Always remember that your divorce lawyer works for you–not the other way around. If the relationship isn’t working then you can leave and fire your lawyer. You will be able to tell in the first month of representation whether or not yours is the kind of lawyer that answers phone calls and emails, shows up on time to appointments and hearings, and keeps you informed with respect to the plan of action in your case. If things aren’t; working out then cut your losses and move on within the first month before you end up with a huge legal bill without much work having been done.