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Finding a Good Divorce Lawyer: Quick Start Guide

Updated: Jan 25

I know you are scared…filing for divorce or being served with divorce papers is stressful and confusing. Not all lawyers are created equal and not all lawyers will be a good fit for your personality or for your divorce. You need to hire the right lawyer for the job.

Here are 5 steps to follow to guide you to a good lawyer:

1. Get referrals from people you know. If you don’t know someone who has been divorced, your friends and family probably do. Just start asking.

2. Do your research and narrow down your list. Set up an initial consultation with at least 2 lawyers. How easy is it get set up a consult? Does the staff treat you in a friendly and professional manner?

3. Prepare a list of questions to ask. Ask them! (Keep reading for some ideas). Does the lawyer listen? Do they hear you out? Do you feel satisfied that they answered your questions?

4. Be open and honest. You will need to tell your lawyer EVERYTHING so you should feel comfortable sharing details.

5. Beware a lawyer who promises you the world or tells you everything you want to hear…it is too good to be true. A divorce is a negotiation. No one gets everything they want.

Here are some interview questions to consider:

•How long have you been practicing law? How many cases like mine have you handled?

•Do you specialize in family law or divorce? Have you ever taught family law or given legal seminars?

•What’s your strategy for my case and will I have any input? How do you expect property would be divided? Do you have experience with custody settlement? Can you predict the likely outcome of my case?

•Can you tell me about yourself personally? Why should I hire you?

•Do you know my spouse or their attorney? Often attorneys know one another. It is not advisable to use the same attorney as your spouse.

•What are the fees you typically charge? How much is your initial retainer? What are you and your associate’s hourly billing rates? Will you bill me for telephone calls? Can I get a typical breakdown of your charges?

•Do you allow me to negotiate directly with my spouse? Do you utilize mediation? How can I keep the cost of my divorce down? Are there tasks that I can do myself to cut down on the amount you will charge me?

•How much do you think this will cost based on your experience?

•Can fees be billed to my spouse?

•What’s the most challenging aspect of this case?

•Who will be assisting you on this case, can I meet them?

•How many cases are you currently handling?

•Who will be in charge of my case?

•How often will I be briefed on proceedings? How do you communicate with your clients? How can I get in touch with you in an emergency?

If you're struggling to manage a divorce, and don't want to do it ALONE anymore, I invite you to apply for a (free) Divorce Coaching Intro below for a schedule.

By Rebecca Wolf

Divorce Recovery Coach

Certified Life Coach

Founder of Her Divorce Project and The Divorce Project

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