Retaining a Divorce Lawyer
While it is true that you are not required to hire a divorce lawyer in order to get a divorce, there are certain instances where the importance of obtaining the right divorce lawyer is paramount. Obviously, in any type of contested divorce case where the other party has representation by a lawyer means you are probably going to need one too. You could try to wing it yourself but showing up in court without a good divorce lawyer could affect your quality of life for years to come. Any divorce involving large assets will require an experienced divorce lawyer to guide you through the legal technicalities and get all the paperwork handled as smoothly as possible. If you think that you are going to need the services of a divorce lawyer, the next step is to locate one in your area that has experience with the local divorce courts and judges.
You can begin your search by speaking with family or friends that may have had recent experience with divorce lawyers in your town. Your state bar association will have a listing of lawyers specializing in divorce or family law that you can view. Of course, you can also access divorce lawyers in your area the Find a Lawyer pages here at Divorce.com.
Once you have located a good potential divorce lawyer candidate, set up an initial consultation to see if you feel comfortable working with them. You can also ask questions and learn how your case will be handled at the first meeting. It will save time if you can prepare for the consultation in advance by making lists of your questions on property, custody and divorce support issues that could become points of contention during the actual divorce case.
Don’t forget to ask any prospective divorce lawyers how much their fees will be, you don’t want to waste time if you cannot afford a particular lawyer’s services. Once you know what a lawyer will charge you will have a much better idea of what your divorce will end up costing you. Be sure to find out what a lawyer’s hourly rates are and whether or not an advance retainer will be required. You also need know how you will be billed and what amounts the payments will be.
If you do decide to go ahead and hire a lawyer, ask for a written retainer agreement that will spell out exactly what the divorce lawyer is going to do for you during the divorce and exactly how much you will be charged for those services. Be sure to ask any question you feel is pertinent because a good divorce lawyer should be able to address any particular issues you may have concerns about. It may require several different interviews before you find an attorney that suits your particular case. You don’t have to make a quick decision on your choice of divorce lawyer, but you don’t want to wait until the last minute either.