The selection of your attorney will likely be one of the most important factors in the outcome of your divorce. With such a massive pool of lawyers to choose from, making such an important decision can be extremely difficult — particularly since the needs of every case will be different. It will take a lot of research and time, but the choice of your legal representation should not be taken lightly.
Men seeking a divorce lawyer need to ensure their best interests will be kept at the forefront of the settlement negotiations, and finding an attorney that has plenty of familiarity dealing with similar situations is important. Here are a few things to look for when beginning your search for a divorce attorney.
Don’t simply pick the first lawyer you contact
It is vital that you do your homework and actually meet with several attorneys before you put down a large deposit to retain one. Trust is extremely important in the relationship you will develop with your attorney, and you need to meet them to get a feel for that initial first impression.
Talk to people you know who have been through divorce
It can be an awkward conversation to bring up, but talking to friends, family or coworkers who have been through divorce can give you a good place to start. Despite the ability of researching on the Internet, first-hand accounts are still a really good way to get quality information.
Don’t assume that if you’re a man, only male attorneys can successfully represent you
The chance of your attorney’s gender impacting the outcome of your case is not very high. It is much more important to worry about finding a competent and dependable attorney that you feel comfortable being around. What should matter most is that you trust them to fight for your best interests, regardless of their gender.
Be wary of advertisements
While TV and radio ads may indicate a successful lawyer or firm, that isn’t always the case. Ads are simply meant to attract business and don’t necessarily reflect the track record of an attorney.
A higher priced attorney does not necessarily mean a better attorney
Many people think that just because a lawyer charges more per hour that they will get better service and a better settlement. That is not necessarily the case. A higher rate may signify a more experienced attorney, or it could simply mean they primarily practice in a larger market.
Make sure they specialize in family law
Attorneys can practice in many different areas of law, and you want to be sure they have a focus on divorce. If you were getting heart surgery, would you prefer a pediatrician who also dabbles in other areas of medicine, or an experienced and specialized cardiologist?
Select someone who has experience with your interests
If you have children and can foresee a nasty custody dispute, you will want to be sure your attorney is very familiar with how the custody and support laws work in your area. But if you have a complex business and that same attorney doesn’t have tons of experience with business valuation and distribution, you may want to keep looking.
Pick an attorney from your local jurisdiction
Many attorneys are licensed to practice in several different states; however, laws can vary drastically, even at the local level. You want an attorney well-versed with the regulations in your area, as well as a familiar relationship with local judges and officials.
Find a good negotiator
The goal of your divorce should be to come to a fair settlement while avoiding court. Some attorneys prefer to fight things out in trial, but that method drags out the case and is much more expensive.
But still, ensure the attorney you pick has plenty of courtroom experience
Sometimes, no matter how good of a negotiator you have, going to trial is the final option to settle disputed matters. Your attorney should have plenty of experience and not be intimidated by the prospect of trial.
Mat Camp is a former Lexicon Services Online Editor, who focused on providing a comprehensive look into all aspects of the divorce experience. On MensDivorce.com, he concentrated on issues, such as parenting time, custodial rights, mediation, the division of assets, and so much more.
Mr. Camp used the wealth of experience of Cordell & Cordell attorneys to bring tangible answers to reader questions in Ask a Lawyer articles, as well as offer a step by step process through the divorce experience with Cordell & Cordell Co-Founder and Principal Partner Joseph E. Cordell in Divorce 101: A Guide for Men.
Mr. Camp used thorough research to highlight the challenging reality that those who go through divorce or child custody issues face. He helped foster the continued success of the Men’s Divorce Survival Guide, the Men’s Divorce Podcast, and the Men’s Divorce YouTube series “Attorney Bites.”