Choosing a divorce attorney is the biggest decision you’re going to make at the start of your divorce case. What I recommend is that you do your research. I recommend that you visit several attorneys and interview them in their office so that you can gain access to what they’re all about. For example, the minute you make the appointment with the staff you’re going to see how they handle your call, how they schedule your appointment, and if they’re courteous.
Once you actually make the meeting with the attorney, you’re going to see if that attorney is knowledgeable, if the attorney has expertise, if the attorney has compassion, and if you feel that you can have a nice working relationship with that attorney over a period of months or even years. If you are getting the feeling that this attorney doesn’t practice divorce and family law on a regular basis, then I would suggest that you seek other counsel.
If, on the other hand, you feel that this attorney is very capable of handling your case from start to finish, then I would ask a few additional questions, such as what is the retainer? How much do I have to pay to hire you? How much am I going to be charged per hour? Who is going to do the work on my case? Is it going to be exclusively by an attorney or is there going to be a paralegal or other support staff? If so, what are their hourly rates? What is your policy with returning phone calls? What is your policy with communications with clients? How often can I expect to hear from you, and most importantly, what is your philosophy and your manner of handling a divorce case?
In many cases, divorce attorneys will wait until the last minute prior to an upcoming court date to make something happen. There are other attorneys that will try and move the case forward at a rapid pace, which will benefit you in the long run. You want to see if you can get an attorney who is going to try to resolve issues quickly and not sit on them for long periods of time. All too often, divorce attorneys simply continue from court date to court date, bounce the case along, generate fees, and then finally, when the parties are fed up with the delay and they’re ready to move on with their lives, they finally put pressure on their attorneys to come up with the proposed settlement documents.
So, when you’re seeking an attorney, look for an experienced attorney, with reasonable rates, and someone that you feel that you can have a good working relationship with over the course of several months. If you need help finding an attorney, you can contact the local bar association, you can do research online, you can find written material from different organizations that help people when they’re going through divorce and family law issues. Consult a local attorney who knows the system, who knows the judges, who knows the court process, and you’ll be in much better shape than if you try to do it either alone or with someone who doesn’t practice divorce and family law on an everyday basis.