When You Need a Divorce Lawyer
If you are facing the prospect of a divorce with the complications of large estates and assets to be divided or there are children involved in the split, you might do well to consider the services of a divorce attorney. You will almost have to hire an attorney if your case is a contested divorce involving any type of abuse, dishonesty or bitter disagreements as well. And if your spouse has an attorney, you’ll need one too. Even if you don’t have the money for legal representation, borrow it or check with your local government’s legal aid offices for help. Entering a difficult court battle without legal representation can really compromise your position and could result in lifelong negative impacts.
Before you get out the checkbook you need to choose a lawyer you can afford. Ask questions about the fees and make sure you understand them. You don’t need problems with your attorney after the divorce process has started. You will need to make sure you hire an attorney with a good reputation and plenty of experience in divorce litigation. Ask your friends and relatives to get recommendations if possible. You can also contact your state’s Bar Association to make sure the lawyer you are considering is in good standing.
Keep in mind that local attorneys will have more insight and communication with the local courts than an out-of-town attorney will. You want to make sure your lawyer has experience with the court your case will be heard in and is familiar with the judges in your jurisdiction. You may want to look for an attorney that specializes in a specific type of divorce problem area like alimony, mediation, or child custody. A good divorce attorney will listen to your priorities and help you make good divorce decisions. You want an attorney that is available when you need them and takes an active interest in your concerns. You don’t need to be represented by someone who is too busy to talk to you and won’t address your questions.
You can get more accomplished in less time if you have all your documents ready for your lawyer, so before you head out for that first meeting be sure to gather up all the financial papers, legal documents and any other paperwork that has anything to do with your marriage, property ownership and money. You will eventually be required to disclose all your assets and earnings to the court and you need to give your lawyer copies of everything that is relevant. You should arrive at your lawyer’s office on time and prepared to ask questions and take notes. Your lawyer cannot do absolutely everything for you though, and if you want to get the most for your money you’ll need to participate in the process too.
Your attorney cannot do the best job possible for you if you don’t supply him with the full facts and knowledge about your case. Always tell your lawyer the truth and don’t exaggerate or minimize the circumstances involved in your divorce. Trying to fool your attorney or lying about your past behavior is always a bad idea. Attempting to hide assets from your spouse and the court can be costly and illegal, don’t do it.
Remember that good attorneys will not work for free and they can only work within the existing legal system. Attorneys are not magicians and cannot guarantee every aspect of your divorce will be decided in your favor. A more realistic goal is a divorce that results in fair treatment for both sides.