Your divorce is going to be an emotionally tough experience no matter how you look at it, but the wrong type of divorce lawyer can make your divorce process far more stressful and expensive than necessary. So, make sure you take the time to choose the right divorce lawyer.
Here are five things to look for in a good divorce lawyer:
Every divorce is different, and the more experience your attorney has, the higher the likelihood that he or she can provide you with great advice and perspective tailored to your situation. For example, if you and your spouse own a variety of commercial properties, you would want an attorney who has experience dealing with that type of estate, right? Otherwise, your attorney may provide you with short-sighted advice or even miss opportunities to give you a better settlement. During your consultation, make sure you ask the attorney if she/he has worked with clients similar to you and how he/she proceeded with that case.
Experience is only one factor to consider. You also have to be on the same page with your attorney. You want to work with a professional you feel you can trust and one who has the same focus as you. For example, if you want to try and work with your ex-spouse through mediation, but your attorney is what we call a “bull-dog” (i.e. highly aggressive), your attorney could derail your efforts at a more collaborative divorce approach. During your consultation, ask the attorney about his or her approach, and don’t be afraid to move on if your personalities and styles don’t match up.
While your divorce lawyer will be the captain of your divorce ship, he or she will not be sailing that ship alone. Even the best lawyer can’t get you good results if his or her office staff misses filing deadlines, or if her associates forget to follow up with you on needed paperwork. During your consultation, ask your attorney for references of previous clients. Call the references and ask if they felt well-supported throughout their case.
You and your divorce lawyer need to not only be on the same page as far as temperament goes, but also in regards to the overall divorce plan. If you want to try mediation but your lawyer wants to immediately go to court, then something is wrong. During your consultation, a lawyer won’t be able to draw out a full plan for you, but he or she should be able to give you feedback and general recommendations. Make sure the attorney listens to your perspective and makes recommendations that are in line with your goals.
Last, but not least, you want to work with an attorney who cares about you and your case. Every attorney will say that he or she cares about clients, but that isn’t always true. A divorce is hard enough without having a divorce attorney who doesn’t return your calls or is too busy telling you what to do to actually listen to what you want. It can be hard to assess how much a lawyer cares during a short consultation, but listen to your gut. Does the attorney seem engaged in the conversation during the consultation? Does he or she ask good questions and give you advice based on your specific goals? This is another good reason to ask for referrals and to actually call them. Once you sign a retainer with an attorney, it can be expensive to fire them and find someone new!
Here at Bohm Wildish, our attorneys are highly experienced in representing and guiding our clients through divorce. We listen to each client’s unique situation and help them determine the best strategy to attain their goals. If you live in Orange County, CA, we’d like to show you why we are the best divorce lawyers in the county.
Contact us to schedule a consultation. It may be the most important call you ever make.