What Should You Look for in a Divorce Attorney?

Going through a divorce is tough; there’s usually no easy way to do it. The emotional burden of separating from someone you once loved, navigating the logistics of child custody, and dealing with the complexities of the law can be collectively overwhelming.

Nothing will make a divorce painless and smooth, but it can be simpler and less stressful if you have the right lawyer on your side.

Why You Need a Divorce Attorney

At first glance, you might not believe you need a divorce attorney. A good one will cost money and can be a hassle to locate. Isn’t it possible to handle a divorce without legal counsel?

The short answer is yes, it is indeed possible, but it’s better to have a lawyer on your side for the following reasons:

  • The law is complex. Some legal documents are reasonably cut and dry. Others are notoriously complicated. In certain areas of family law, the statutes and regulations are far too complex for a layman to grasp, and if you take a wrong step, it could cost you dearly. A trained and experienced attorney should review your case and provide you advice.
  • Your assets need to be protected. Your marriage assets are going to be split based on how the case unfolds … and your share deserves to be protected. Even if you have a clear, informal agreement between yourself and your spouse, the situation could change dramatically if your spouse chooses to lawyer up.
  • Your interests matter. Assets aren’t the only item you need to worry about. Even if your spouse doesn’t have a lawyer yet, it’s still a good idea to be proactive and seek legal counsel for negotiating favorable terms on issues such as child custody.

What to Look For

So what are you supposed to look for in a legal representative? There are thousands of divorce attorneys out there, and not a few of them claim to be the best.

These are the main criteria you should watch for:

  • Realm of expertise. First, check the person’s realm of expertise. Most attorneys specialize in at least one area, and some are hyper-focused. For example, it’s a good idea to seek an attorney who specializes in family law, including divorce and custody arrangements. However, within that realm, you may also find a lawyer who specializes in custody battles in particular; that professional’s background could be invaluable if custody is your main concern.
  • Next, you’ll want to determine how much experience your candidate has had. There are plenty of first-year attorneys who could hold their own, but if you want to maximize your odds of success, you’ll prefer someone with many years of experience under his or her belt. If you can, ask for past record and the previous court battles the candidate has won. There’s no substitute for experience.
  • It may seem strange to judge a legal professional based on personal disposition, but it’s a quality you shouldn’t underestimate. This is a person you’ll be working with closely over the course of weeks, if not months or even years. You’ll be trusting this person with intimate details of your life and you’ll need her or him to be fully on your side. Likability could be a substantial factor in your ultimate success, as well as having a largely positive experience throughout the process.
  • Your lawyer’s temperament also matters. You’ll want someone who’s calm and level-headed, but at the same time firmly invested in your case. An attorney who’s matter-of-fact and neutral isn’t going to fight for what you deserve.
  • In addition to your attorney, you’ll also likely be dealing with staff members on a regular basis, so you should get to know the staff you’ll be working with. Are they easy to communicate with? Will they be more likely to help you get what you want and need?
  • Expectations and promises. In your first few meetings, you’ll discuss what you can expect to get from this case. Obviously, you’ll want an attorney who can get you the best results … but be wary of anybody who appears to peddle unrealistically optimistic outcomes. Don’t go with someone who seems too good to be true; such a person probably is.
  • Finally, you’ll want to consider the cost of the attorney. Typically, attorney fees are decided by the outcome of the case, but it pays to know in advance what those might be.

How to Begin the Search

Even after you know what to look for and feel ready to start your search, you might not know where to begin. These tips should get you started:

  • Ask for recommendations. Ask around, to start. If you know any friends or family members who have gone through a divorce, they may be able to recommend an attorney who helped them secure favorable terms. Personal recommendations are typically useful because you’ll get a firsthand report on the lawyer’s disposition and abilities.
  • Consult legal organizations. You can also begin your search by contacting legal organizations, such as the bar association, to obtain a listing of lawyers in your region. The list will likely be comprehensive, but you won’t get many details beyond the basic information about the people you’re seeking. It’s still smart to meet with them in person before you make any decisions.
  • Search online. Finally, you can search online … and you can combine online searches with any other methods you employ to locate suitable candidates. An online search will give you a wide array of attorney options, and while you’re searching, you can learn more about each one (as well as the divorce process itself). As a bonus, you might be able to read reviews and testimonials for the lawyers you turn up.

You don’t have to go through divorce alone, and you don’t need to spend countless hours trying to find a decent attorney. If you’re currently in the market for a divorce attorney, and you want somebody with experience you can trust, reach out to Rowdy Williams today.