When you have come to the decision that your marriage is no longer mutually beneficial and healthy, it’s time to make sure that you have the best lawyer for you. This doesn’t necessarily mean the most expensive or notorious lawyer on the market. In many cases, you can dissolve your marriage fairly easily. This will depend on the nature of your divorce, but make sure to do your research and meet different lawyers before making a decision.
Do You Even Need an Attorney?
Choosing the correct lawyer for you can cause the least amount of emotional and financial strain. Divorce can be painful, so you want to choose someone who is aware of your personal situation and willing to put in the work to get it taken care of quickly and effectively. First and foremost, do you need an attorney? In some cases, a mediator can handle all divorce situations. This is common in “no fault” states like California. There are simple ways to calculate spousal and child support with a mediator instead of hiring attorneys.
Read Up on Divorce
If you and your spouse have agreed to move forward and hire attorneys, you should begin by familiarizing yourself with the divorce laws of your state so you can go into your meeting with some background information. Although the subject can be uncomfortable, oftentimes the best way to find an attorney is from personal recommendations. This is the best way to truly gain insight on how an attorney works and how much attention you will get with your case. Chances are, you probably know someone who has heard of a good divorce attorney in town. Who is trusted? Who will move the case along without overbilling?
What Kind of Case is Yours?
Your experience will be fairly simple if you just need an attorney who will correctly file paperwork and appear at court dates. If you’re going to have an arduous case with lots of negotiating, you’re going to want a more aggressive and cutthroat attorney.
When you go into your initial meetings with attorneys, make sure to have all necessary paperwork and be prepared. You can call the state car association for resources, help and information. The more you know, the easier the process will be.
A good rule of thumb is to interview at least three attorneys before making your final decision. Your initial consultation is time to give them a thorough interview. Take the time to make sure all of your questions are answered. Watch out for attorneys who give you vague answers or rush you out of their office. You will be paying them, so treat it as a job interview! Be wary of anyone who seems like they’re just telling you what you want to hear. This is your life.
Understand Your Attorney
Be sure you understand how your attorney is planning on billing you before you sign any documents. Most divorce attorneys will have you pay a retainer fee, and then bill you hourly. Intuitively, it’s important to have a clear idea of how much you are going to be investing in your attorney.
Get The Show on The Road
Once you have found someone who seems trustworthy and shares your same philosophy, get the ball rolling. Many people hope to have the entire process put behind them as quickly as possible.
Divorce is no fun. You can make this painful experience easier on yourself by taking your time to research and interview different attorneys to find the perfect match for you. Remember that your attorney is there for legal guidance, so try to avoid wasting your time and money by getting bogged down in emotions during your meeting.
Written by Kellie Bertels, an attorney with the firm Bandré, Hunt & Snider, LLC where they are the leading attorneys in Jefferson City MO.