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Six Tips to Decide if Your Divorce Attorney is the Best Fit For You

Woman going over Divorce paper with lawyer

Going through a divorce or other family law matter is one of the most reg stressful events you will ever go through in life. We often try to assist when clients have selected the wrong attorney and are trying to regroup and figure out a plan going forward. Choosing the right divorce attorney- the attorney who is a perfect fit for you can be a game-changer in the process. It is your family law attorney’s job to advocate for you during is difficult time so it is crucial that you ensure you have the right fit helping you through this process.

The following is the best tips we have found when client or potential clients meet with us to ask about what they should look for in a family law attorney and how to know when they have actually found the right fit.

1. Experience and considerable expertise in Family Law Matters:

The first step in finding the right divorce or family law attorney is selecting someone who has specific, extensive experience in family law, including in settling cases and in litigation. This way, if you are hopeful to be able to settle your case/resolve through settlement, your lawyer will be capable of helping and if you are unable to resolve the case through settlement, your lawyer will also be prepared to step in and help you with preparing for and attending trial. Some lawyers unfortunately, believe family law is simple or easy and they do real estate, criminal law or other types of work and add in some family law litigation here and there. Family law cases are often complex and require knowledge, experience and skill to appropriately address issues and come to solutions. Some of the complicating issues can include how to treat and characterize assets, child custody, and spousal support, among many other issues, as well as their track record of success in addressing cases that are similar to your case.

2. What is the Lawyer’s Communication Style and Skills?

In order for you to feel secure and confident in going through your family law matter, it is very important that you feel you and your lawyer can engage in open and honest communication. This is typically the most effective communication style that will help you get through the process. After meeting with your lawyer for the first time you should have the impression that he or she is a good listener! You should ensure that you and your lawyer are have goal-oriented communication, with him or her asking you to share your goals and concerns with them. They should be able to explain complex legal issues and processes in a way that you can comprehend the process to be a good team member in making decisions about your case.

3. Give Yourself Credit, Trust Your Instincts:

It will be important that you feel you can openly share your thoughts, feelings and opinions with your lawyer during their representation of you and that you feel comfortable and confident asking them your questions, including questions where you doubt the process or the recommendations or advice that they are giving you. If after meeting with your lawyer initially, you do- or do not- feel comfortable, trust your instincts in this regard. There will be many personal, sensitive topics that you will need to discuss with him or her and you should trust your gut reaction to your lawyers interactions with you. A strong attorney-client relationship is crucial to a positive outcome.

4. Your Lawyer Should Be Transparent About Their Fees and How you Can Keep Costs Down

Legal fees are often a significant cost during a divorce or family law case. It is important that you feel comfortable discussing the costs, the reasons for the costs and what you can do to work with your lawyer to keep the costs down. Is your lawyer transparent and clear about how costs and billing will work? Do you understand in a general nature what will be expected in terms of costs (obviously, understanding that a lawyer can never predict with certainty what filings/case issues will develop and therefore what the cost is). The lawyer should be open to discussing your budget and/or specific plans to minimize your attorney fees and costs.

5. Consider Your Lawyer’s Reputation and Referrals or Recommendations

Before hiring your family law attorney, research them. Read their reviews. Ask family, friends and trusted colleagues to see if they have had a good experience with an attorney. Getting a personal referral from someone who has been through the litigation process is probably the best way to be assured of what you are getting if you hire the attorney. A good reputation with good client reviews is likely a good indicator that someone is a good and trustworthy attorney.

6. Ensure that the Attorney is Compatible with Your Needs for an Attorney

You need to consider if your lawyer’s approach to family law cases and philosophy in addressing issues aligns with your thoughts and philosophy. You need to be able to articulate your needs and goals and feel confident that the lawyer understands them and is able to develop a plan to help you achieve your goals (or if the lawyer feels your goals are unreasonable, that they are able to articulate the reasons why in a kind, but firm manner.

In conclusion, choosing the right family law attorney for your case and situation is a crucial decision. By following the tips outlined herein and carefully researching and considering your options, you can best assess whether you have selected a family law attorney who is the right fit for you. Your attorney needs to be your partner in helping you to navigate a difficult path.

At Pingel Family Law, we want to learn and understand your goals and priorities. We tailor the plan for your case to your needs. Please call us today at (816) 208-8130 to schedule a consultation. Put our knowledge and experience to work in your case!

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