It was a shock. Your wife tells you that she’s in love with somebody else and she wants a divorce. She’s already retained a lawyer. What do you do now?
You’ve asked friends and acquaintances for references of good attorneys, but their recommendations end up either being real estate or patent lawyers or high-priced divorce attorneys who treat divorce like war and promise to “take your wife to the cleaners.” None of these seem to fit the bill.
So, what should you be looking for in a good divorce attorney? Here are a few suggestions as originally published at divorcemag.com.
1) Practices family or matrimonial law.
2) Is connected to other professionals, who may be needed during a divorce (e.g., certified divorce financial analysts, custody/parenting experts, etc.)
3) Has Relevant Experience in Divorce Court. An old friend from college with no divorce court experience is NOT the right choice. Divorce is a complex process. Having an attorney familiar with the subject matter and with the local court’s rules and judges is important.
4) Negotiates skillfully. An attorney who can represent your interests and avoid protracted court battles will save you time, stress and money!
5) Tells you the Truth. You need someone who can tell you if an offer is fair and worth taking rather than someone who tells you what you want to hear and shares your desire to seek revenge.
6) Is Compatible. You need to be comfortable enough with your attorney that you can respond honestly about questions he/she ask about your mental and physical health and other personal issues that may be relevant to the case.
7) Is Totally Candid. You’ll want someone who will be up-front with you, not only about the costs of the divorce, but about the problems with your case, how the judge is likely to rule, and if your views appear to sound vindictive.
8) Has No Conflicts of Interest. You don’t want to share a lawyer with your spouse or hire your spouse’s friends or relatives, creating a conflict of interest for them and trouble for you.
9) Is More than a Pretty Face. Perhaps it goes without saying, but you should never choose a lawyer based on his/her physical appearance. You should be looking for competence!