Beyond the emotion damage a divorce or separation can cause, there is a logistical factor that needs to be taken care of. You may have children together, shared assets, shared property. And there’s a very good chance you won’t come to a perfect agreement between the two of you about what to do with everything shared between you. That is where a divorce attorney can come in to help litigate the process. But divorce attorneys, like any professional handling an incredibly personal and high-tension situation, need to be researched before you hand over money and the future of your life post-divorce.
There’s a lot you want to think about before hiring your divorce attorney.
You need to consider the usual things like cost, experience, and client testimonials. But you also need to consider larger picture things such as the ability of the attorney to communicate with you, the attorney’s stance on your needs, and your overall level of comfort with your attorney.
In order to help make this process a little easier for you and your family, we put together a quick list of things you’ll want to consider and have ready in your back pocket before you go to meet with your potential new divorce attorney.
This is obvious but it still needs to be addressed. It’s not just a matter of how many years the attorney has been in practice but also the nature of the work they’ve done. Ask them if they’ve handled cases similar to your own situation, what they were able to get their clients vs. what they counseled the clients give up in return. Divorce attorneys are negotiators and you need to judge their experience doing that across different situations. You can also gauge this by looking at client testimonials and reviews.
While it’s not as intimate as finding a therapist that works for you, you’re still letting your divorce attorney into a very personal and painful part of your life. You need to feel comfortable doing that. You have to be comfortable with them as a person, comfortable with their ability to be on your side and act as your legal champion and have an overall confidence in their abilities as a negotiator on your behalf. You’ll only get a feel for that by talking directly with the attorney.
Is this attorney going to pick up the phone when you call, even if it’s a weekend? One of the most common complaints people have about their divorce attorneys is that they don’t feel like they can communicate with them. Everyone has their own lives out of work, but your divorce attorney works for you in a stressful situation where things can pop up and you need to know you have avenues to get ahold of them if an emergency happens. Make sure you let your attorney know what you want out of a communication plan so everyone is on the same page to start.
What Should I Expect to Pay?
You should clear up costs with your attorney at your first meeting. While most divorce attorneys offer a free consultation, some do charge a consultation feed of anywhere between $100-$200 so know that before you even pick up the phone. Next you’ll need to ask what the retainer fee is for the attorney and what their hourly rate is. Come up with a plan for invoices and payment that you both agree on.
Can I Shop Around?
Because of the nature of finding an attorney that works for each individual person, many attorneys anticipate that potential clients are speaking with other attorneys (which is why they don’t always charge for initial meetings). It’s okay to look at options and, in this case, you should look at as many options as possible. And don’t feel bad for picking one attorney over another. Sometimes it’s a matter of objective experience and subjective connection between you and your attorney.
Divorce can be traumatic and a generally sad time for a family. But they are also logistically complicated and while you’re already dealing with your personal matters with your family, a divorce lawyer can take care of the complicated matters that you don’t have the energy for or completely understand. The Divorce and Family Law Offices of Rappleye & Rappleye will work for you and the needs of your family. With over 60 years’ experience, we have handled virtually all aspects of divorce and family law issues. Extensive knowledge and expertise is at the cornerstone of our practice. Call today for a consultation!