3 Important Points for Choosing a Divorce Lawyer
While there are those lucky few whose divorces are completely amicable and everyone goes their separate ways free of bitterness, resentment and anger, the majority of people in this situation are in the midst of one of the most emotionally-turbulent periods of their life. Things can get heated and messy, and lawyers are usually necessary to help sort out matters of alimony, division of assets and child custody. If you are looking for a divorce attorney in the US, a dearth of choices will certainly not the issue; rather you will be spoilt for choice and wondering how to choose the attorney that is the best fit. Here are just a few helpful tips for making this crucial decision:
Remember the Primary Role of Your Attorney
You are probably going through a heck of a lot right now, processing all sorts of powerful emotions from anger to fear. While it is important you choose an attorney with whom you feel comfortable, and who you feel listens to you, remember her primary role. Divorce is a legal process that officially dissolves the marriage contract into which you entered, and settles issues of finances and child custody. You want someone who will do this for you as best he can, and help you achieve your desired goals. Your divorce attorney is not there to be a life coach or therapist. A lot of the issues you are grappling with now may mean very little when put through the filter of a purely legal proceeding. Again, you want someone with whom you feel comfortable, but put greater weight on her competency as a divorce attorney and not whether she seems to be inclined to listen to your personal struggles with the divorce.
Good Referral Sources
With so many attorneys to choose from, referrals are always a good way to narrow things down a bit. When it comes to divorce lawyers, there are several different kinds of professionals who regularly work with them, and can probably offer up some good names to get you started. Some good examples include other lawyers, accountants, therapists and clergy members. Check if your state bar has a set family law certification process, and look for lawyers with said certification. While this in and of itself does not guarantee anything about the attorney’s performance, achieving such legal certifications usually require a high level of knowledge, experience and interest in a particular practice area. Most areas of practice have a variety of organizations comprised of lawyers who must pass rigorous screening to gain entry. For divorce attorneys in particular, check out the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. Bar associations typically have special sections devoted to specific practice areas, though attorneys do not have to have any sort of special testing or screening to join.
Be Cautious of ‘’Sales Pitches’’
When it comes to legally dissolving a marriage, there are actually several different options available to you. Lawyers are supposed to explain all of them to you, and discuss the merits and drawbacks of each, particularly as it pertains to your individual circumstances. While many lawyers will have preferences for certain approaches over others, be wary of those really pushing hard to handle the case in one specific way, and who do not seem interested in going over all the possible options for handling the divorce. While there are several other considerations when choosing a divorce attorney, these three are particularly important for getting your search off to the right start; regardless of what tips and advice you come across, never forget to trust your gut. That may be the most important advice of all.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who blogs about all areas of law; if you are looking for a family law attorney in Delaware, she recommends learning more about the services of DanaReynoldsLaw.com.