Guys who are searching for an attorney to represent them in a divorce should put time and effort into their search, even though the instinct when served with divorce papers is to pick the first attorney the guy meets with. It is important to resist this urge and instead speak with a few attorneys before selecting which will best represent your interests.
I always suggest that guys speak with friends, relatives or family who have been through a divorce, and ask that person if they liked their attorney, if they felt that they received good results and if they were able to have good communication with their attorney.
When meeting during an initial consultation, ask the attorney if he or she has a policy in place about returning phone calls or emails to make sure the attorney will be responsive to any questions you have. Communication is an integral part of the divorce process, so it is important to find an attorney who is willing and able to take your calls when an issue arises — not several days later.
Also, during that initial consultation, ask the attorney if he or she only practices in family law, or if the attorney does general practice. Typically, attorneys who only practice in one area of the law are able to devote more time and attention to that area, and therefore will be more knowledgeable about the law in that practice area.”
One of the most important qualities you should look for is the attorney’s practice areas. Does the attorney only focus on family law, or does he or she have a wide practice area? Attorneys that focus on family law will have a special set of skills and knowledge to help you with your divorce.
Make sure the attorney has handled the specific type of case you have, especially if your divorce deals with a special circumstance, such as a family business or a child with a disability.
Another important quality in your divorce attorney is his or her ability to make a strategy and keep your case moving forward. If your attorney understands your goals and what you want from your case, then he or she should be able to outline what the next steps in your case are and what actions need to be taken to move your case forward.
Guys should look for an attorney who is diligent, communicative and who has experience with whatever issues may be present in his case.
When I have clients meet with me who are currently represented but are thinking about changing attorneys, the most frequent complaint I hear is that their attorney is difficult to get ahold of and takes too long to follow through with things.
Many domestic litigation attorneys are either solo practitioners or work for small law offices, which means that the attorney is often playing multiple roles at the firm – not only are they an attorney, but they’re also responsible for all of the billing and collections and advertising.
When an attorney wears too many hats, has too many clients or doesn’t have enough support staff, that person can be so busy that he or she becomes difficult to get ahold of and takes too long to accomplish things on your case. In divorce, facts and circumstances can change quickly, and you need an attorney you’re going to be able to rely on to respond to you in the event that an issue arises or action needs to be taken quickly on your case.
Additionally, you should make sure that the attorney you’re working with has experience in whatever issues your case may involve. For example, if you have a business, make sure your attorney has experience with business valuations and division of business assets. If your spouse has an addiction issue but is insisting on having equal placement of your children, make sure you hire someone who has experience with challenging custody / placement cases.
Selecting a firm and attorney to represent you in a divorce is a very personal decision. Be educated about it. Know who you are hiring and feel confident about it. Check out reviews. Ask what percentage of their clients are referrals / word of mouth. Know how long they have been practicing family law and what percentage of their cases are family law.
Attorneys that practice family should be patient and understand that once hired, they become a key person in their client’s life. Hire someone that takes that role seriously and will give you the time and devotion to your case that you deserve.
Clients should look for an attorney who is an excellent family law attorney rather than a “jack-of-all-trades” with multiple areas of practice. The attorneys at our firm limit their practice to family law, and that means that we are really skilled at one thing rather than mediocre at many things.
A 30-year lawyer who dabbles in many practice areas may be less experienced in family law than a 5-year attorney who has focused exclusively on family law cases. Also, our firm is the largest family law litigation firm in the U.S. Before I joined Cordell & Cordell, I worked for a couple of smaller firms, and the resources that Cordell has in house far surpass anything I was able to provide at a smaller firm.
A final important thing guys should look for is an attorney who will keep him informed. Many law firms ruin public trust in the legal profession by waiting several days to return phone calls. At Cordell & Cordell, we require our attorneys to respond in some manner in the same business day if the call comes before 5:00 p.m.
Men should seek an attorney that has a high percentage of their practice dedicated to domestic relations. This is important as there are many details of domestic relations that are different than other areas of law.
It is also important for men to feel comfortable with the attorney and their staff. An attorney client relationship during a divorce is one that needs to have trust from both attorney and client. Men need to feel comfortable with the attorney to discuss all concerns. The attorney needs to trust that the client is willing to provide the information needed.