When you are seeking to end a marriage, there are several things to take into consideration. Are there any mutual minor children? What types of joint assets do the two of you own? How do you plan on splitting up custody, who will pay child support/spousal support if any? And, finally, who will maintain the primary family residence?
You also want to ensure that the divorce attorney you choose to work for you is familiar in the field of family law and the many facets involved in marriage dissolution. Sometimes there are special circumstances regarding divorce, such as gay marriage and spouses in the military, and you need to ensure your attorney is familiar with these laws if any such circumstance relates to your case.
The best way to pick a divorce attorney, as with anything else, is “word of mouth”. Talk to someone who has been through a similar case such as you are going through and see who they chose to get them through the difficult parts of it. This will usually get you pointed in the right direction to good representation in the courtroom.
One of the biggest complaints many people have when it comes to an attorney is that the attorney did not respond to email, phone calls or texts messages. When talking to someone about an attorney they are about to refer to you, ask them how this attorney was with responding to correspondence. Were they quick to get back with them or did it take a day or two? As anyone who has dealt with any legal matters and attorney, time is money, especially when dealing with an attorney and their “billable hours”.
While on the topic of an attorney’s “billable hours”, you will need to inquire how much the divorce attorney is going to charge you for their representation. Sometimes you can find an attorney willing to do a free consultation, but you must remember, because it is free, it will be very brief. Some of the more experience attorneys charge anywhere from $100 – $200 for their initial consult and some will bill you the standard hourly cost. While at your consultation interview you need to inquire how much you will have to pay as a “retainer fee” and how much of this retainer fee is refundable, if any.
Once you have been referred to a divorce attorney, and you seem to like their past reputation with local judges within the jurisdiction, are comfortable with what they are going to charge you for their representation, and feel confident they are willing to fight for you and your children’s rights, it is time to get to work with the actual hiring of the attorney and setting up a meeting to discuss the basics of your case.
Do not let anyone rush you into making a decision about which attorney to go with. After all, this is your life, your marriage that is dissolving and your life that has to be lived after the divorce is finalized. Only you can know for certain what and who is right for you and your children, when it comes to your personal lives, business, and future is ultimately being up to the decision of a complete stranger, the judge.