Finding the Best Divorce Lawyer 6

About: Legal Help

Make an Informed Decision

Hiring a divorce attorney is a process that many of us are not entirely comfortable with – people often don’t know what qualifications to look for. But by some estimates about 30% of us will need a lawyer at some time in our lives. About the best information many people have to go on is a recommendation from a friend, or referral from an acquaintance. But retaining legal counsel is a process that warrants some extra diligence on your part. Here are some tips to help you find the best divorce attorney for you:

Create a list:

You could open the phone book to ‘divorce lawyers’ and throw a dart to see which ad it hits. But there is a better way. If you feel comfortable asking friends to recommend a divorce lawyer that may be a good place to start. You can also check any one of the major law firm directories on the web (two of them are Find Law and Martindale Hubbell), although you should note that those directories will list any divorce attorney (regardless of qualifications). Also see: Certified divorce law specialists.

Narrow the list:

Next you should turn your list into a “short list” of lawyers who are actually worth interviewing.

  • Make sure you only consider family law attorneys who practice in the county where you live. The intricacies of family law can vary significantly from county to county.
  • Check credentials of the remaining candidates in your “short list.”
    • First and foremost you should ensure that the divorce attorneys on your list are in good standing with your state bar.
    • While there is no single label that universally identifies good divorce lawyers, a generally accepted benchmark is the Martindale Hubbell peer review rating. Attorneys only qualify for this rating after they have been admitted to the bar for five years or more.
    • Super Lawyers also assembles peer-ranked lists of attorneys, organized by geography and practice area.
    • Another credential that may be worth looking for is a Family Law Specialization Certification. There are many fine divorce lawyers who are not Certified Family Law Specialists, but if you feel you have a complex case – and don’t mind possibly paying a premium – you may consider including one or more Certified Family Law Specialists in your short list (read more about legal specialization).

Meet face-to-face:

Once you have narrowed the field to a manageable number of candidates, schedule in-person meetings with each of the divorce lawyers on your list. Be aware of the responsiveness of each firm or attorney to your meeting request. You want to be sure that the family law attorney you ultimately retain is able to devote an adequate amount of time to your case; if it takes 3 business days or more to get a call back it may be an indication that they are too busy to give your case the attention it deserves. When you do finally begin to meet with your short-list candidates, ask about their experience with cases like yours. For example, if you expect a contentious custody battle, ask them to talk about their experience with such cases. Finally, do realize that the attorney you interview may not be the one who is actually assigned to your case. Ask which associate will be working on your case, and meet that individual as well. He or she will likely be your day-to-day point of contact and it is important that you feel comfortable working with him/her.

The process of hiring a divorce lawyer is one that, depending on the complexity of your case, may justify a little extra homework up front. The final decision may be a subjective one, but take the time to create a qualified list of candidates and have a better chance of finding the best divorce attorney for you.

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Discussion

  • Mima Oshiro.

    Dear Sir/Madam,

    My name is Mima Oshiro. I am contacting your firm in regards to a divorce settlement with my ex husband Kuan Oshiro who resides in your jurisdiction.
    I am currently on assignment in Japan. We had an out of court agreement(Collaborative Law Agreement) for him to pay $448,450.00 plus legal fees. He has only paid me $44,000 since . I am hereby seeking your firm’s assistance in collecting the balance from him. He has agreed already to pay me the balance but it is my belief that a Law firm like yours is needed to help me collect payment from my ex-husband or litigate this matter if he fails to pay as promised. Your”s truly, Mima Oshiro. 17/F, One Kowloon, 1 Wang Yuen Street, Kowloon Bay, Hong Kong

  • gps

    Dear attorney,

    my husband and I have been separated 8 months and live in Switzerland. During this time I have discovered he had planned his way out of the marriage for quite some time. We have been together 30 years and raised 3 children. How do I best protect myself for the future? My husband is on an assignment from the US and wants to localize. He has cleaned out accounts among other things I have discovered since the separation. He uses a former neighbors address for filing taxes out of CT. As I discover more betrayals and manipulations I am worried as to what else he is capable of as he is a lawyer and knows all the tricks. He left me with little information as he hid all files from me. Since he receives both a Swiss and American income, I may also need an American lawyer. Please advise. Thank you.
    Kind regards,
    GPS

  • Donald Yates

    I have a divorce stipulation making my ex-wife the custodial parent for my 3 daughters. They live in the marital residence and are stipulated to be out by February 2013. My oldest daughter just turned 18 and wants to live with me. Is this possible even though I’m not the custodial parent and my ex and I agreed through a stipulation that my children would reside with her?

  • Julie

    Currently, my brother is in the army and stationed in Texas. His wife and children are in MI and was not able to move to Texas with him due to the fact she has a child with someone else and the courts would not allow it. Together, my brother and her have 2 kids together ages 3 and 2. My brother and his wife disagreed on many things and those things included being around her known drug abusing mother and friend. She would not keep the kids away from them and started partying and going back to her drug ways herself. My brother filed an exparte order and got the kids and went back to Texas. She ended up refuting it and got the kids back. They have been custody fighting for several months now and the judge my brother has took his rights to the children away. The reasoning is he wants my brother to pay more child support a month and he has orders from the army that he cant pay anymore. He pays over $900 a month for 2 kids. My brother has provided written proof and the judge will not allow him any contact with his kids. He is a good father. Currently, they live with their mother in a 3 bedroom house with over 10 people living there. We have reports from the other childs father that she is not taking care of them. What can we do to get the judge to remove the order to give my brother his rights to his kids back? Is it even legal for the judge to take his rights away for no crucial reason? My brother is currently getting discharged from the army after serving 3 years. The judge is also biased to my brother for joining the army and told him no one forced him to go in the army and that its his fault. And also he is not giving my brother a fair trial.

    Please help.

  • One important aspect of picking a quality divorce lawyer that is often overlooked is knowing how big the caseload of the attorney actually is. Some attorneys take on too many cases and will be unable to give you the full attention you deserve and need. Ask how many cases they handle at any given time. If more than 30, this may be an issue of concern.

    • Jim

      Yeah good point. That’s probably directly related to the part about making sure your lawyer is responsive and “able to devote an adequate amount of time to your case.”