When divorce becomes inevitable, one of the most important steps for you to take is to find a divorce lawyer to represent you as your case moves through the courts. But the right divorce lawyer for a friend may not be the right divorce lawyer for you. It's important to find someone whose personality melds well with your own, and who has the specific knowledge and experience to deal with the unique issues your divorce may present. Here are three tips to help you find the best divorce lawyer for your needs.
1. Decide how you want to pursue your divorce first.
Some divorces make their way through the courts as litigated processes. Others are mediated -- which means the lawyer you hire will simply act as a go-between in the decision-making process without a judge's involvement. You and your spouse need to first decide how you're pursuing your divorce. Then, you can look for lawyers who specialize in that type of proceedings. Note that mediated divorces rarely work well if you cannot get along with and cooperate with your spouse. If the relationship is very contentious, you're usually best off with a litigated process -- and a lawyer who has experience with such.
2. Meet lawyers in person.
Most divorce lawyers offer free initial consultations. They may only be 10 or 15 minutes long, but this is long enough for you to get an idea of how well you may get along with a certain lawyer and whether you can tolerate their personality. Meet with at least three lawyers over a short period of time, such as a week, so you can easily compare and contrast all of them.
To choose the lawyers who you met with, read a lot of online reviews. Don't just choose the ones with the flashiest advertisements or the most name recognition. Read what others have to say about them, as this is often more informative and honest.
3. Be up-front about your budget.
If you do not have a lot of money to spend on your divorce, be upfront about that fact when interviewing various lawyers. They will let you know what they can and cannot do for that price -- or they may tell you that their services are unfortunately outside of your price range. It is better to know this upfront than to decide on a certain lawyer and then find later on that you cannot afford their services.