Even in the best of circumstances, divorce, like most legal matters, can be a lengthy and complicated process. It can be a journey with a lot of twists and turns. The good news is that it’s not a journey you have to make alone. In fact, it’s a journey that you shouldn’t make alone.
On any journey, when you aren’t familiar with the road ahead, having a guide who has traveled the path before and who can walk with you through the process can make a tremendous difference. In the case of a divorce, that guide should be a knowledgeable and experienced attorney you can trust.
The issues you face during your divorce involve some of the most important things in your life. You need an attorney you can trust who can help to protect your rights and work toward successful outcomes on vital issues like child custody, your financial future, the division of your property, and other essential matters. You also want an attorney who will do this without charging you an astounding amount in legal fees. The question is – how do you find that person? That’s an understandable question to ask.
A Few Factors to Consider For Finding A Local Divorce Lawyer
As you begin your search for an attorney who will be a good fit for your personality and a strong advocate for your particular case, you may want to consider the following factors:
- Know What You Need: Before you even begin your search, spend some time thinking about your case and what’s important to you. As with any profession, attorneys will have different strengths and weaknesses. Some will have particular areas of divorce in which they specialize and others they might not prefer. For example, if you feel that your divorce might be complicated and contentious because of your spouse, you may want an attorney who is a talented and aggressive litigator. Or maybe you have already discussed the divorce process with your spouse, and you know that both of you would prefer to resolve your issues outside of a courtroom as much as possible. In that case, you might want an attorney who specializes in collaborative law or mediation. Thinking through the issues that matter most to you and what sort of experience you’d like to have will be beneficial in guiding your decision-making process.
- Narrow Your Search: Before contacting any particular attorney or law firm, it can be helpful to narrow your search field as much as possible. After all, simply typing in a search for “divorce lawyer” on the internet without any further information will likely lead to thousands of results. Instead, narrow your search field by city or county – or ask your search engine to find “divorce lawyers near me.” Doing so will return a list of lawyers relatively close to you and will narrow your list of potential choices considerably. After creating a smaller list, you can begin researching each particular attorney and whether or not they might be a good fit to help you on your divorce journey.
- Talk to People You Trust: In today’s world, you can find reviews of almost anything online. If you want to try a new restaurant, buy a new product, or visit a particular place, you can usually find plenty of opinions. It’s no different with attorneys. While those reviews may be helpful and certainly worth reading, there’s really no substitute for advice from people you know and trust. If you have family members, friends, or acquaintances who have gone through a divorce, don’t hesitate to ask about the attorney they hired or about attorneys you are considering. Usually, you’ll receive candid and helpful feedback to guide your decision-making process.
- Ask Plenty of Questions: After you’ve narrowed your list of potential attorneys to several candidates that you think may be a good fit, you’ll want to set up consultations with those attorneys. This is a big decision – and it’s not one you want to make without a thorough conversation where you can ask questions about what’s important to you. You’ll want to ask potential candidates about their experience. How long have they been practicing? Do they only practice in divorce or other areas as well? Do they prefer litigation, or do they specialize in alternative dispute resolution? You’ll also want to ask about the fees the attorney typically charges and their billing practices. Any attorney worth hiring should be honest and transparent about this information so there are no upsetting financial surprises down the road. You may also have other questions, depending on your particular circumstances. Don’t hesitate to ask them. Being thorough will help to ensure that you have peace of mind about the decision you ultimately make.
Hopefully, thoroughly thinking through these factors and taking your time to consider what you want from the process will guide you to an attorney who will be the best fit.
Are You Receiving the Representation You Deserve?
In a perfect world, we would always make the right decision the first time. Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. Sometimes, our choices simply don’t turn out as we hoped. And in those situations, it may become necessary to change course. Choosing a divorce attorney is no different.
The good news is that quite often, thorough research and consultation will lead you to the best attorney for your circumstances. That person will be able to guide you through the process with the knowledge and understanding you need on your side. Sometimes, though, there may be red flags that indicate otherwise. A few of these might include:
- Unresponsiveness: A good attorney will be responsive. Although an attorney may have many cases, to each client, his or her case is the most important. A good attorney will recognize that fact and will understand that communication about the case is vital. You should be able to contact your attorney and feel confident that you’ll receive a timely response with the information you need about your case. You should always feel “in the loop” and as if you are an active, involved part of the process. If you don’t, that’s a problem.
- Excessive Billing: As previously discussed, a reasonable attorney will be honest and upfront about their fees and billing structure. You should understand what you’re being charged and why. You shouldn’t have any huge financial surprises, and if you do, that’s certainly a red flag. Unfortunately, some attorneys will overcharge or run up client bills with unnecessary emails, filings, and other actions that simply aren’t necessary for the case. If this is happening consistently, consider finding a new attorney.
- Lacks Knowledge: In most cases, you will be able to get an understanding of the attorney’s experience and knowledge during the initial consultation. It will likely be fairly obvious if the attorney simply has no idea what they’re talking about regarding divorce – but not always. Sometimes, an attorney may exaggerate their experience or claim to have knowledge that they really don’t have. This may later become clear as your divorce progresses. If that’s the case, don’t hesitate to change course if needed.
- Violating Confidentiality: Divorce is difficult, and it involves many sensitive and often emotionally painful issues. Your attorney must respect that. Attorney-client privilege means that the private information you share with your attorney should remain that way. If you feel that your attorney is violating your privacy in any way, that’s absolutely a red flag behavior that should be addressed.
Hopefully, you won’t experience any of these “red flag” behaviors. The good news is that most attorneys are honest people who try their hardest to respect their clients and put their best effort toward each case. If that isn’t the case, though, and you notice these red flags, you may need to begin the process of finding a new attorney. Although making that effort again in the middle of your case may be difficult, it is often well worth it. You need to feel that your case is in good hands – and you deserve the best.
The Law Office of Dustin McCrary – Here for You
At the Law Office of Dustin McCrary, we know that your divorce is not just a legal case to you. It’s not just one file out of many. Your divorce is one of the most significant decisions of your life. It’s important in so many ways. And that’s why it’s so important to us, too. We want you to know that we will continuously pursue the best strategies on your behalf and always work with you toward reaching the best outcomes for your issues. We will consistently commit ourselves to walking with you on this journey each step of the way until you reach a better and brighter chapter ahead. You deserve nothing less. Give us a call today. We look forward to speaking with you soon.