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How to Choose a Divorce Attorney

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How to Choose a Divorce Attorney

Divorce is a stressful time and often we look to the first divorce attorney that comes to mind, maybe from the phone book or a friend's experience. However, knowing how to choose a divorce attorney properly can often make a big difference in your settlement and your child custody arrangements. What should you do? Below are a few tips:

How to choose a divorce attorney

Choosing a divorce lawyer takes a little time and patience. Not every attorney will be a good fit for you, your family or your budget. It's a bad idea to hire the first name you hear. Instead, take a few days to:

1. Look for possible attorneys. The first step to finding a good divorce attorney is to put together a list of lawyers you think you can work with. Ask recently-divorced friends or co-workers if they'd recommend the lawyer they worked with. Call the Bar Association in your area to see if they have a referral service (most do.)

2. Interview at least three attorneys before making a decision. When you have your list together, it's time to interview the candidates. Most attorneys will give you a free initial consultation (usually a half hour or so.) Use this time to see if the lawyer is a good fit for you. Ask about his or her experience in divorce and family law (if applicable), his courtroom experience and his experience with the courts in your area. Take a look at his or her office. Does the receptionist look friendly and competent? (Is there a receptionist?) She'll be fielding your calls when/if you hire this lawyer. Does the office look messy or is it organized? How a person keeps their office can tell you a lot about their work habits in general. An interview is also a good time to ask about fees. If this lawyer's fees are too high, ask him if he can suggest a good lawyer who is less expensive.

3. Check out your prospective attorney's online brand. What your lawyer says about himself (or herself) on the Web can tell you a lot about how he or she will handle your case. Today, I'd be wary of the lawyer who doesn't have a Web site or any online marketing. That could mean that they don't keep up with the latest developments in case law as well as the latest technology. In addition to his or her Web site, check to see if the person has a profile on LinkedIn or other professional social media site. Google his or her name and see what you find.

4. Ask for references. When interviewing attorneys, ask if they will give you the name and contact information of a past client with a case similar to yours. Then, contact this person and ask if they would hire the same lawyer if they had to do it all over again.

Do Not just settle for the attorney that's first in the phone book or that worked with a friend. Take a little time to choose a divorce attorney who has the skills you need. You'll be glad you did.