How to Choose a Divorce Attorney
Now that you are about to start your divorce action, either your spouse wanted it or you want to file, the first thing you need is an attorney. The question becomes how to choose your counsel. The first thing you should keep in mind is that there is no rush. Take your time. Do you know anyone who has been through the process? Pick their brains, what did they like, what didn’t they like. What was their relationship like with their attorneys, did the attorney meet their expectations? What about their spouse’s adversary, how was that counsel?
Next, set up at least three consultations. Most consultations are free. Sit down with each attorney and get a feel for the type of person you are speaking with. Ask questions not only about your case specifically but ask about the firm’s philosophy on how they approach cases. There is no right way. Attempt to find an attorney that will match your desires. Ask about trial experience. Hopefully you will settle your matter—more than 90% of cases settle—however you need to know that your attorney can try the matter should you fall within the 10%. Almost all matrimonial attorneys are more than capable of trying your matter, but still ask the question. Find out if the perspective attorney routinely practices in the county in which your matter will be handled. Not a deal breaker by any means however, something you should be aware and consider.
Do not be shy, directly ask about the firm’s billing practices. Ask what the initial retainer is but more importantly, ask about the hourly rate and who will be assigned to your matter. Unless you hire a solo practitioner, most firms will have more than one person working on your matter. Find out how you are to be billed if more than one attorney and or paralegal works on your matter. Find out the firm’s communication style. Some attorneys respond to client emails and or phone calls on the same day. Some respond within twenty-four or forty-eight hours. There are pros and cons to all communication styles, however you need to be clear on what your firm’s style is so that the expectation is clear. You can also state what your expectation is and see if the firm is willing to meet it. I suspect they will.
Ultimately you have to go with your best instinct. Every case is different, and each case comes with its own unique personality challenges. Make the decision the best you can and go all in. Focus on your outcome, stay strong and keep taking ground.