Divorce can be a lonely, confusing occurrence in one’s life. Not only does it affect someone’s personal life, but it also brings about a headache from a legal consideration. If you are going through a divorce, you will need legal assistance to help clarify what lies ahead and to help you to a fair settlement. Of course, the key is finding the right divorce lawyer out of the many divorce lawyers.
Experience stands out the most. A lawyer with years of experience to his/her name is without a doubt a promising quality. That means the lawyer has handled numerous cases with different challenges and has managed to maintain throughout. Hopefully an experienced lawyer has had success in court, but you can find that out once participating in an initial consultation.
Keep in mind, experience typically parallels with cost. Chances are, someone who has been practicing law for 30 years is going to cost significantly more than someone who has been practicing for five. That’s the reality, so keep your budget at the forefront of your mind when tracking potential candidates.
Look within the defined field of family law. That’s what divorce falls under. Any lawyer that you consider for taking on your situation should be an expert in family law, as it pertains to important matters like child custody, child support payments, and alimony.
If you want to give yourself the best chance of landing softly on your feet through a divorce settlement, hire a divorce lawyer with expertise in family law. Otherwise, you’ll be taking an unnecessary risk.
Another tip, find an attorney within your local jurisdiction. Often times, local divorce lawyers will be familiar with some of the judges that rule in county court. They’ll have a feel for a judge’s tendencies and characteristics in ruling divorce cases. Familiarity paves the way for expectations and will it only help your case.
Where to look for a divorce lawyer
Really, a good bet is to ask around. Sadly, divorce is not totally uncommon; therefore, you may very well know someone that has gone through a divorce and come out of it in a good place, personally and financially. If you do, ask that person for a divorce attorney recommendation. This organic way of meeting a lawyer will get you off to a nice start in the process.
Also, you can learn about local divorce lawyers in Dallas, TX through the ease of your own technological devices. Search the web for client reviews. If you are interested in the lawyer that your friend recommended to you, search his/her name to read an attorney bio, learn about the firm that he/she represents, and locate reviews on prior cases. You can gather an impression before you even meet the lawyer in person.
Do be cautious of attorney/lawyer advertisements. Sure, a commercial or a billboard may grab your attention, but law firms don’t exactly rely heavily on self-promotion. Moreover, there aren’t too many firms that feel the need to budget for commercials or billboards. They instead rely on word of mouth and client organic research.
Prepare for the consultation
Before the initial meet up, compile a list of questions that you would like to ask each lawyer candidate. It’s better to be prepared as opposed to thinking on the fly in these situations. After all, the meeting revolves around child custody and the dissolving of your assets. It’s nothing to take lightly.
Ask about work experience, particularly for cases that are similar to yours. Confirm the lawyer’s experience in family law and ask about the overall process from start to finish. On the other end, the lawyer will gather an overview of your divorce situation so they can determine a legal approach to take.
More often than not, the initial consultation will be free of charge. If the lawyer doesn’t offer up information about fees, make sure you inquire about it prior to moving forward (if that is the lawyer you select to represent you). Most divorce lawyers charge by the hour rather than offering a flat fee. They may also require a retainer.
As you may be aware, lawyers typically don’t come cheap. Establish a budget ahead of time and see if your candidates can work with it. We discussed the parallel between cost and experience. Well, the expenses will likely be considerably less if you opt to go with a less experienced lawyer. Just because the lawyer lacks experience does not mean he/she won’t do a good job in representing you. That’s what the interview process is for—to hone in a divorce lawyer’s capabilities and strengths.
What we hope you’ve learned so far
- Be deliberate in your search for a good lawyer. It’s wise to narrow the search to three or four divorce lawyers. From there, let the initial consultation determine which is the top choice.
- Ask around. You’ll get the best input from people that you actually know because they’ll cover everything. Far less will be left to your imagine as opposed to finding all details out through your own research.
- Understand your price range. Depending on how things go in proceedings, your financial situation could worsen. Not necessarily because your lawyer didn’t do a good job, but because of all the factors surrounding your divorce.
- You only get one free consultation! Ask every related question that comes to mind so you leave the lawyer’s office knowing where you stand from a confidence standpoint. Any advice from that point forward will cost money.
There is an option to avoid litigation…
That option is called collaborative divorce.
In a collaborative divorce, matters are handled through mediation in a less formal structure than handling matters in court.
Each spouse must still be represented by an attorney. The spouses and attorneys will meet on a regular basis outside of court to try and pin down the specifics of the divorce settlement. Prior to the group meeting, you and your attorney will layout expectations and desires for how much you are seeking in the divorce settlement. For example, you would let your attorney know that need at $400 in child support payments per week.
Throughout the meetings, other parties may partake in order to facilitate things. Accountants may join, as well as child custody specialists. If negotiations aren’t flowing as swimmingly as was expected, a licensed mediator will join. This is essentially the last-ditch effort to keep meet ups out of the courtroom. Typically, clients and attorneys will sign a “no court” agreement, allowing attorneys to remove themselves from representation if the divorce negotiations move into litigation.
Ultimately, a collaborative divorce is a good option for spouses that are separating, but on mutual and sympathetic terms. Moreover, parties are willing to negotiate calmly, to ensure fair results regarding asset allocation and child custody.
The option saves considerable time, and therefore, money. If you feel your specific situation qualifies for a collaborative divorce, you would be wise to seek that route. Of course, your spouse will have to be on board as well.
Make the most of the time spent with your lawyer
Sometimes divorcees mistake lawyers for psychologists. It is important to understand that your lawyer does not stand as a shoulder to cry on. TIME IS MONEY. Any time you spend lamenting about your once strong relationship with your husband or about the unfairness of the situation, your payments are only increasing. Remember, most divorce lawyers charge by the hour.
Lawyers have the sole responsibility of getting you as much out of the settlement as possible. They handle the paperwork, represent you in court, and develop a load of support to help your case. It’s important that your lawyer be friendly in your conversations, but it’s all business. He/she is getting paid to do an effective job, that’s the bottom line.
Don’t stress in your search!
One thing you should definitely feel confident in is the fact that divorce lawyers in Dallas, TX are qualified. They go through long, arduous schooling to learn every little detail about a specific area of the law. Just be sure you hire a divorce lawyer that is certified and established in their field.
From there, it’s about hiring someone who you communicate well with and someone who has a genuine care in helping you through a trying time in your life. Your lawyer should understand your desire to gain custody of your child or children and fight alongside you in gaining custody.
Your lawyer should also be a good listener and a good explainer. Certainly, you aren’t going to get much out of a bunch of random legal terms in which you are unfamiliar. Your lawyer should translate legal terms in a way that you clearly understand. He/she should explain precedents and plans to where you know what to expect moving forward.
It is EXTREMELY important that you and your lawyer are on the same page and are all in together to get what you deserve out of your divorce.