The trauma of Divorce: you need a strong experienced lawyer

Published date: February 2016
Author: Judy Wilkins

It is of equal importance that the person you consult is a specialist in family law. A number of attorneys indulge in 'part-time' divorce work and therefore are not up to date with the latest case law and new legislation. Ironically, smaller law firms are more likely to have family law specialists than the larger ones. The larger firms are more focused on large corporations, making it less likely that your case will receive the attention it deserves.

After your first consultation you will be able to ascertain whether you are comfortable with your chosen attorney. Ensuring that you request his or her years of experience and whether or not the attorney is in fact a specialist. If you feel intimidated and scared to ask questions you are undoubtedly with the wrong attorney.

You need to question how and when you will be billed and ask specifically for a detailed account. Most attorneys will request a deposit, but not all attorneys bill on a monthly basis. The danger of this is that you will have no way of assessing the fee structure. Some attorneys do not specify certain items, which again leads to you being unable to assess the fees you are being charged. Other attorneys only charge disbursements initially, and when the full fees are billed you are charged with a huge account. It would therefore be in your best interests to choose an attorney who bills monthly and whose accounts are detailed.

Communicate! It's important. Does your attorney communicate with you regularly? Is your attorney available for you? You will recognise this very quickly and if you find yourself constantly having to phone for updates, or if your attorney is never available, then Get Another Attorney!

Remember, you are the client; you are entitled to ask for references, specifically from other divorce clients. Most attorneys will have a reputation. The better attorneys will try and settle your case quickly in your favour. This not only saves your wallet from becoming anorexic, but also lessens the emotional burden that inevitably follows such sensitive work. It would be wise to employ an attorney who has passion for family law and cares about your needs.
You can also tell a great deal about an attorney from their offices. Are you treated courteously? Do the offices look professional? Does the attorney have support staff? If not, you should be worried.

In order to save costs take as much information with you to the first consultation; such as a list of your assets, liabilities, income and expenditure, all backed with documentary proof. It will help you financially to make your own copies and take the documentation to your attorney.