Let’s face it, sometimes happily ever after is short-lived in some marriages. It’s unfortunate, as we all want to believe in finding a love that truly lasts a lifetime. Divorces can cause a variety of emotions in a couple – anger, frustration, stress, anxiety, etc. Finding the right lawyer to handle your assets and make sure you get what you deserve, however, shouldn’t be as painful as the end of a relationship. Here are some ways to help you find the right lawyer for your divorce.
- Before searching for a lawyer, determine the divorce process you wish to pursue. This includes mediation, litigation, collaborative divorce, or cooperative divorce. Once you’ve made this choice, then you can work on finding the best lawyer for this type of process.
- Determine what type of legal service you need. If you have quite a bit of assets, own your own company (or several), have a complicated financial situation, etc., you will need a lawyer with an extensive amount of experience in these areas. Basically, you need someone who knows how to fight for all you own to make sure it remains under your ownership. If the marriage was short lived and the two of you didn’t have children together, share any real estate, and didn’t divide your retirement plans, a consultation with a lawyer may be all you need. In these situations, you may be able to get the appropriate documents from the courthouse or online to fill out and file yourself. However, there are certain rules and deadlines that must be followed and often people have problems doing this themselves. You may also find online document production websites that promise to provide everything you need for a small fee. Be cautious of these online offers. These websites typically charge you a fee (usually a few hundred dollars) to provide you with the forms you could get yourself for free. Certainly talk with an attorney about these options before ever using one.
- Determine what you can afford in legal services. Look at your budget and compare it to the cost of services you need. You don’t want to drain your bank account simply by hiring a lawyer you cannot afford to pay.
- Ask for referrals. If you know someone who has been through a divorce, ask which lawyer or law firm they chose and why, as well as their experience. If you personally know any lawyers (who don’t handle divorce cases), ask if they have any suggestions.
- Don’t let the internet fool you. Unfortunately, there are some lawyers who have flashy, eye-catching websites and ads. The client is drawn in by the theatrics, only to discover that they’ve been swindled in the end. Research any referrals you receive. Look at their websites and social media pages, check out their ratings, etc.
- Speaking of ratings, consider them carefully. There are some lawyer rating agencies that may show a particular lawyer’s score as low or poor. But, this may not be because they’re terrible at what they do; many receive low ratings simply because they have chosen not to advertise or participate in the rating program. Depending on the state, some may not be able to participate due to ethical restrictions. Also, keep in mind that divorces are far from being an easy, joy-filled experience. In some cases, a lawyer can do an outstanding job at helping the client, only for the client to still remain unsatisfied simply due to experiencing a divorce. If you’ve found a lawyer that has sparked your interest, investigate a little more. Look at their ratings and see where they are being rated and if they have any reviews. If there are more positive than negative, feel free to call for a consultation. If the negative outweighs the positive, continue your search.