How to Find a Divorce Lawyer, and Why Finding the Right One Matters
You have finally made the tough decision that you are ready to start the divorce process. You know that you are going to need a divorce attorney, so that clearly becomes your next step. Finding a divorce lawyer to help you is hard work, but it’s important and worth taking the time to do it right, because how your divorce unfolds is often determined by the divorce lawyer you choose.
Here are some attributes you should look for when selecting a divorce lawyer:
A Calm Communicator: You want to find a divorce lawyer that has effective conflict management and communication skills, someone who can be your calm advocate in the midst of emotional disputes. Finding someone with these skills will be very beneficial for you during such a difficult and emotional time. Additionally, an attorney that stays calm during crisis will help you focus on your future post-divorce life, and what is truly in your family’s best interests in the long term.
An Honest Adviser: You do NOT want a divorce lawyer who is only going to tell you what you want to hear, thus leading you to unrealistic expectations. No one, I repeat no one wins in a divorce, so if you meet a lawyer who tells you that they are going to get you everything you want and “win” your divorce…run far away, FAST! You want an attorney who will give you sound and practical legal advice, even if it isn’t exactly what you want to hear. A lot of time and money is wasted by clients when attorneys pursue unrealistic outcomes.
An Intelligent Compromiser: You want to find a divorce lawyer who is legally knowledgeable and knows when to push for the outcome you desire, but who also has the negotiation skills to recognize an opportunity for compromise. Why is this important? Most divorce cases are settled when all parties involved have the ability to compromise, sacrifice, and reach a middle ground that is beneficial for the entire family unit. Lawyers who are always on “attack” mode can be helpful when that strategy is your only choice, but it can be devastating if you are hoping to reach a settlement agreement.
A Good Listener Who Really Hears You: You must find a lawyer who has the time and the ability to actively listen to you. You want someone who is engaged and makes you feel truly heard. In divorce, you can expect to discuss some of the most intimate details in your life and marriage with your attorney, and you need to feel comfortable having those discussions.
If you want your attorney to provide you with excellent representation, you want to make sure they understand your family dynamics, thus enabling them to minimize the impact of divorce on your family. You want an advocate who understands your priorities and will pursue them without getting derailed by distractions. You want to feel comfortable asking your lawyer any question you might have. You want to feel that you can tell your lawyer anything, because it is a safe and confidential space. If you feel intimidated and scared to ask your attorney questions, have difficulty getting in touch with them, or don’t feel that they truly listen when you speak – you need to find new counsel.
The Time to Be Responsive: You must find an attorney who is responsive and really there for you. This usually means that the attorney has an assistant or staff. If your attorney is a solo practitioner make sure they only take on the number of cases they can truly handle. Divorce is peppered with “mini-crises” and you need an attorney who responds to your calls and emails as quickly as possible. Divorce is a stressful process and you want an attorney who will help manage your anxiety by being quick to respond to your questions. When you interview a potential attorney ask them about their communication style and current caseload; this will allow you to determine whether the attorney’s responsiveness is aligned with what you need in order to feel heard and supported through your divorce.
A Connector: You must find an attorney who recognizes that they cannot provide you with every resource you may need, but has the ability to connect you to the services and professionals that will enhance your divorce process. Your attorney should have a network of therapists, parenting coordinators, financial advisors, vocational experts and other such resources to help you and your children begin a new life. When interviewing potential counsel, you may want to ask what other means of support your attorney would recommend beyond the legal ones they can provide – if they say that their law firm will provide all the help you need, they may not truly understand how to best support a healthy divorce.
And More: There are no doubt other factors that will matter in choosing a divorce lawyer – each of us has our own particular needs and wants; however, if you keep these recommendations in mind they will ease the task of finding the right counsel. Choosing the right attorney from the onset of your divorce will lessen the trauma you experience throughout the process.
Divorceify Is Here To Help
Here at Divorceify we want to make it easier to shop for the right team to support a healthy divorce. We are tackling this first hurdle in the divorce process by curating a prescreened network of compassionate professionals. Divorceify will save you hours of endless searching for answers by curating reliable divorce related resources and information, helping you identify the the roles you need to fill on your divorce team. Divorceify will then facilitate the process of choosing the right divorce team, starting with choosing the right divorce attorney for YOU.
We can’t wait to unveil what we are building!