The importance of finding the right divorce lawyer cannot be overstated. If the other party in your divorce has the representation of a lawyer, you will need one too. Going to court without a good divorce lawyer can be a disastrous mistake that could affect your quality of life for many years to come. You need an experienced divorce lawyer on your side to help you navigate the legal technicalities and get through the paperwork as smoothly as possible. Once you have determined that you are going to need the services of a lawyer, your next task is finding one in your area that is qualified and competent to represent your interests in divorce court.
You can begin the search for a good lawyer in your area by talking to family or friends that have recent experience with divorce lawyers. Your state bar association may also be able to provide referrals to lawyers specializing in divorce or family law. You can also access a large selection of divorce lawyers in your area by searching the online Divorce Lawyer database on the Find a Lawyer pages here at Divorce.com. The goal is to locate a competent lawyer who has plenty of real experience with divorces.
After you have chosen a potential divorce lawyer you should set up an initial interview and consultation to see how comfortable you feel working with them. The first meeting will give you a chance to ask questions and learn how your case will be handled. Prepare for the initial consultation by making lists of any questions you might have as well as notes on property, custody and divorce support issues that will likely be future points of contention.
You will need to ask prospective divorce lawyers how much their fees are. It is best to find out right up front whether or not you can afford a lawyer’s services. It is impossible to know how much your divorce will end up costing until you find out what the lawyer charges. Ask potential divorce lawyers what their hourly rates are, and whether or not a retainer is required. You will also need to find out if you will be billed monthly and how large the payments must be.
Ask for a written retainer agreement that states exactly what actions the divorce lawyer will perform during the divorce and exactly how much you will be charged. Go slowly, take your time and ask all the questions you need to. A good divorce lawyer will work with you and should be able to address any particular issues you may have concerns about. You may have to interview several divorce lawyers before you find one that fits your needs. Don’t feel pressured to make a quick decision on a divorce lawyer, it could turn out to be one of the most important decisions you will make in your life.