Now that you have made the decision to divorce, you have to take the necessary steps to begin the process, which can seem overwhelming. One of the best things you can do for yourself during this time is to find the right divorce attorney to help you effectively navigate what can sometimes be a complicated legal process. While it might seem tempting to try to get through this without legal assistance, this could end up costing you more in the long run. Take the time to understand what you should look for in a divorce lawyer and find the one that is perfect for you.
Here are some steps to help you on your path toward choosing the right divorce lawyer:
- Be realistic: It is important to bear in mind that divorce is not just about calling it quits with your once so-called better half. This is a legal process and is meant to dissolve your assets and resolve custody issues if children are involved. Your divorce attorney is responsible for representing you in this process with a level-head, even when you are emotional and angry. His or her job is not to be your therapist or coach, so if you think that is what you need, seek it from a trained therapist and let your attorney focus on protecting your interests. Your attorney wants to get you through the legal process as effectively and smoothly as possible, which also means making sure you are not wasting your money by letting the clock run on non-legal matters.
- Remain focused and goal-oriented: Divorce is not a walk in the park, so you want to stay focused on the endgame, which is to end your marriage. Do not allow your emotions to cloud your judgment or interfere with negotiations, especially if it is over something that will not matter in terms of the bigger picture. If you nit-pick at every insignificant detail, your divorce will take longer, cause you more heartache and headaches, and certainly become more expensive. Your focus should be on getting divorced as quickly as possible, with minimal financial damage.
- Understand what you want: If your divorce is not highly complex, you might want to consider hiring a mediator to help negotiate the terms of your divorce. It is faster, cheaper, and less adversarial compared to traditional litigation, so if you are not embroiled in a messy child custody and financial situation, this might be an option for you. You could also consider a collaborative divorce, which can help preserve a co-parenting relationship with your ex. Understanding what you want out of your divorce will help you determine what type of divorce attorney you need to get through this.
- Interview and research prospective attorneys: When investigating attorneys, you should always start with an initial phone call. During this conversation, you can ask about their experience, specialization within family law, and what type of client they usually represent. You will also want to inquire about their rates. Generally, divorce lawyers charge an hourly fee and require a retainer, which is a fee charged in advance. Some might also negotiate their fees based on an anticipated settlement. Asking this up-front will help with the decision-making process since, if a firm is out of your price range, you can eliminate them. Remember that these fees are not arbitrary. If a lawyer has a wide range of resources such as forensic appraisers or parenting coordinators, this will greatly help your case and help ensure a successful outcome.
- Be aware of red flags: For some attorneys, this is just a business. If they do not seem respectful or divulge confidential information to you, these are major red flags you should watch out for. Are they constantly distracted by phone calls or emails during your consult? If they cannot focus on you during your initial consultation, then they probably will not be much better if they handle your case. Choose an attorney behaves professionally, shows respect for your time, and is considerate of your needs.
- Make a decision: When you choose your divorce attorney, he or she should be professional, knowledgeable, responsive to your needs and concerns, and is able to communicate effectively. You should feel like you are able to trust your attorney. Your attorney should understand what is important to you and be a skilled negotiator. Divorce is an emotional and significant event in your life and taking the time to find an attorney who best suits your needs is well worth the effort. If you follow these steps, you will find the one who listens to you, advises you, and will always protect your best interests.
Murrieta Divorce Attorney
Not all attorneys are created equally. Some are more qualified than others, which can make a huge difference in the outcome of your divorce settlement. At Westover Law Group, our firm is led by a Certified Family Law Specialist by the California Board of Legal Specialization. Andrew L. Westover, CFLS is among the top 3% of attorneys who have gone through this rigorous training, which means you will have a recognized family law expert on your side.
Contact us today at (951) 643-0085 to schedule a consultation with a trusted member of our legal team. All calls are answered 24/7.