Divorce season is upon us again. Typically, more divorces are initiated in March and in August. There are many explanations but the bottom line is that life as you knew it, will no longer be the same. There are several steps you should take before you seek legal counsel, researching attorneys is one of, if not the most critical one.
Your inclination is likely to ask friends and family who they hired. Just getting a name however, is not enough for you to stake your future on. You need to understand how they went through their divorce and what the personalities of the people involved were. Getting a recommendation from someone you know should be your starting point. Just because you love and trust the person referring, doesn’t mean that the referral is right for you.
If you really want to find the right legal counsel, here are some questions you should ask your friends and family:
- What divorce process did they use? A mediated divorce is very different from a litigated divorce.
- What were the two personalities like? If one party is meek and afraid to assert themselves and the other a bully, you need to understand what their interpretation of the outcome was from their perspective.
- Did their attorney advocate for them? Did they feel respected by their attorney? Was the attorney able to explain what was reasonable and why in a manner that they understood?
- How did the opposite sides interact? Were the two attorneys able to negotiate fairly on both party’s behalves? Was their attorney’s voice heard?
- What was the divorce process really like for them? How long did it take and what did it cost and most importantly, why? Was it that the attorney was too busy taking on other cases or that their spouse acting unreasonably?
- Are they content with the outcome? No one ever really has a ‘happy’ ending to a divorce, however, getting close enough to what your goals were in the least contentious manner is likely to produce a better outcome.
Arm yourself with as much information as possible before you hire anyone. Make sure you meet a variety of attorneys, the general rule is to interview at least three individuals. Hiring legal counsel will set the tone for your entire divorce process, protect yourself by doing your homework first!