Hiring a divorce lawyer is perhaps one of the most difficult tasks anyone can face. Although the decision to file divorce can be painful, lack of appropriate legal counsel can create further discord and leave divorcees in dire straits. Taking time to locate the appropriate attorney to handle divorce can reduce stress and help both parties reach an amicable agreement.
Most people spend a considerable amount of time with their divorce lawyer. Therefore, it is crucial to find an attorney you connect with and who offers services best suited toward your needs. There are numerous lawyers who specialize in divorce and family law. It is important to choose someone who possesses experience in your type of divorce.
There are two types of divorce – contested and uncontested. If both parties agree and are able to divide assets without entering into all-out war, the divorce is considered uncontested. If one of the parties does not want the divorce or the couple is unable to reach a settlement agreement, the divorce is considered contested.
Knowing whether your divorce will be contested or uncontested can help you locate an appropriate lawyer. Couples with children should hire attorneys well-versed in family law. Couples who have financial or real estate holdings will want to work with divorce lawyers possessing a background in finances and investments. If there are no children involved and no financial assets, a less expensive divorce lawyer may be sufficient.
Start by developing a list of potential candidates. Ask friends, family, neighbors or co-workers for referrals. Considering nearly half of all marriages fail, chances are you know someone who has worked with a divorce lawyer. If you aren’t comfortable asking for referrals, browse your local telephone directory. Divorce lawyers can also be located through the American Bar Association at http://www.abanet.org.
Contact each attorney on your list and ask questions about the lawyers’ experience, retainer and fees. If you feel the attorney might be suited for your situation, arrange a meeting. Most law firms offer free consultations to review your case. Interview a minimum of three divorce lawyers before making a final decision.
Prior to hiring a divorce lawyer, request a meeting with the staff members who will work on your case. For most people, divorce is a stressful and emotional time. It is important to work with people who suit your personality and can provide guidance during this difficult time.
Divorce lawyers may charge a flat fee or hourly rate. More often than not, an hourly fee is charged. On average, rates range from $150 to $375 per hour. Unless you have an overflowing bank account, you will want to work with a lawyer who is proficient with their time.
In reality, there is no such thing as an easy divorce. Even if both parties are in total agreement, divorce is an emotional and life-altering event. However, if divorce is particularly messy, it is crucial to locate a lawyer who will fight for your rights and protect your interests.
Last, but not least, be certain your chosen divorce lawyer is in good standing with the American Bar Association. The ABA website provides a directory of lawyer disciplinary agencies for each of the 50 states.