When faced with the prospect of divorce, an already overwhelming and emotional issue for some, the thought of then having to choose the right attorney can be a scary prospect for many people. Given the seemingly endless options available, making a choice can be difficult given that most people have never had to hire a lawyer before. To help, here are a few tips to consider when hiring an attorney.
- Educate yourself – One of the best ways to begin your search is from the comfort of your own home. Surfing sites such as LinkedIn, Avvo, the South Carolina Bar website and various Internet and blog pages can give you a sense of what’s out there. Even the attorney’s biography posted on their website can contain useful info. These various sites will give you some potentially helpful background information on attorneys in the area as well as some reviews from previous customers.
- Go with your gut – Remember, the choice of who you want to represent you is all your own. You are free to hire anyone, so make sure to go with someone you feel comfortable with. Ask the tough questions and pay attention to how the attorney answers them. Communication is key and you want to feel comfortable talking to the person who will be working closely with you over the next several months.
- Focus on your goals – Though most divorces are emotional as couples grapple with the loss of their marriages, it’s important to focus you anger on the goals most important to you. Is custody critical? How about alimony? Dividing accounts or keeping the house? Express your concerns to your attorney and make sure they are on board. You and your family law attorney need to be on the same page when it comes your goals.
- Insist on good customer service – Before you hire an attorney, make sure you can get in touch with them when need be. Although instant communication is often unrealistic, it’s absolutely reasonable to expect your attorney to return communication within 24 hours. Access by email or phone is important when you have questions or concerns and too many attorneys don’t prioritize keeping in touch with clients.
- Discuss fees – Let’s face it, in the end money matters. Before you hire an attorney make sure you understand the billing process. How often are bills released, what’s the attorney’s hourly rate and what retainer is required.
Source: “Top 5 Things To Consider When Hiring A Divorce Attorney,” by Cathy Meyer, published at DivorceSupport.About.com.