Going through a divorce isn’t easy. And if you want to make the long-winded legal process less painful, finding a good lawyer can help.
The job of a divorce lawyer is to represent you to the best of their ability. Often, emotions run rampant when negotiating custody of children and other personal properties. Having a legal person you can trust ensures you don’t make the warning decisions at this difficult time.
Impact of Divorce on Children
Suppose your decision to separate from your spouse is entangled with children; finances are just the least of your worries. While a kid may feel sad about the divorce, studies also show they’re at risk of clinical depression. What’s most concerning, these children can also be at higher risk of suicide attempts or threats.
It’s not to scare you or anything, but this is just the truth behind ending a marriage. Your divorce doesn’t have to be a disaster—the reason why it’s crucial to go to the right people for help.
What to Consider When Hiring a Lawyer
Below are four things that’ll guide you in finding the right attorney for your case.
1. Understand your needs
What kind of lawyer do you need for your current situation? For instance, if your main issue relates to child custody, you’ll need a divorce lawyer specializing in family law. They know that field well, so they can better serve your needs and protect your children’s legal rights.
Knowing what you need from the start narrows your search, avoiding being misled in the process. If you already like a certain lawyer, but their price is too high, don’t get discouraged immediately. They might have extensive experience and are worth the legal fee.
But if you are still in doubt about the lawyer’s fee and area of expertise, keep looking and check lawyer reviews.
2. Look for divorce lawyers around your area
When looking for a divorce lawyer, try to search first by city and then by country. This approach will let you see which qualified lawyers are available near you. For instance, if you live in Mississauga, you’ll need a Mississauga divorce lawyer.
A local attorney is your best choice as they give the right legal advice for your particular court system and jurisdiction. Moreover, they have direct knowledge of the local laws and customs of the area.
3. Research and set up an interview
Not all, but some divorce attorneys will claim that they’re experienced in family law. Unfortunately, they don’t have enough references to support their claims. To find the right divorce lawyer, research and interview prospective attorneys by asking for a peer or client referral.
Referrals can attest to the lawyer’s professional experience. But how do you figure out who’s honest? Ask about previous family law experience or if they’ve handled child custody cases. Do they know the spouse’s lawyer, or are they the senior lawyer handling the case?
Most attorneys want to take divorce cases, but family legal issues are complex. These attorneys are more likely divorce coaches and can’t handle mediation and the legal process.
4. Pay attention to red flags
An experienced divorce attorney should be able to walk you through (clearly) the family court system. An obvious red flag is a lawyer who doesn’t know what they’re doing. They’ll try to convince you not to talk in front of your spouse’s lawyer and misrepresent their skills and qualifications.
Your best bet is to ask for references of cases and request a trial separation. Other red flags to watch out for include the following:
- Arrogant attitude
- Unresponsive to calls or emails
- Inappropriately emotionally invested in the case
- Lacking compassion
- Exorbitant billing and legal fees with no skills to support
- Clueless about the specifics of your case
- Unprofessional and meddlesome in your personal life
You can judge an attorney based on their education, past work, and how they present themselves. Many important skills are required to succeed in family law: advocacy, communication, negotiation, and attention to detail. What’s most important is empathy for clients.
Set Realistic Goals for Your Lawyer
Once you find yourself an accomplished attorney, the next step is to talk about your goals for the case. It can be confusing to know your case’s exact direction. There’s no right or wrong answer for the outcome you want. However, it’s essential to have realistic goals and ensure they’re being met by the plan of action created by your lawyer.
You might want your spouse to agree to shared child custody or want an equal division of assets. Know your goals and ensure your divorce lawyer has the knowledge and skills to achieve them.
You need a lawyer who understands not only your situation but also child support, custody issues, and mediation. Most importantly, they should be aware that this is an emotional process. Going through a divorce is already difficult enough, so choosing the right lawyer vs. the wrong lawyer is key to winning.