When it comes to protecting your legal rights, your attorney will play the most important role in your divorce. Finding a great family law attorney starts with a broad search and you should interview at least three family law attorneys from different firms. Yes, this will cost you money and time, but taking shortcuts could cost you a lot more…
Before we talk about this though, I must address one of the biggest questions I get from clients. “Joe, do I even need an attorney?” My response to this is always the same, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” If your divorce has any complications at all (most do), you should at least consult with an attorney to make sure you are not missing out.
Sometimes, we get a client who’s spouse is adamant that no attorneys should be involved. In cases like these, I usually see two or three reasons why someone would try to prevent their soon-to-be-ex from talking with an attorney:
- They are afraid they cannot afford an attorney and will simply rack up legal fees
- They are afraid that the attorney will create conflict
- They are possibly hiding money and income & know that the attorney will discover this deception
What’s a good alternative? In some cases, as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, we have worked as a financial neutral for clients. As we are not attorneys, our work can be less threatening and much cheaper. But even in those cases, I always recommend our clients consult with an attorney before they try and file on their own.
Where Can You Find a Good Family Law Attorney?
- Referrals from friends and family
- Search engines such as Google & Yelp – look for high ratings…and read reviews, but beware, ratings can be purchased!!!
- Websites such as www.lawyers.com – This is a website where you can search for attorneys across the country.
Your family law attorney will more than likely ask you a lot of questions. If they don’t – you might want to consider looking for someone else. Below is a list of the best characteristics of a GREAT family law attorney.
Characteristics of A GREAT Family Law Attorney:
- You like them.
- They are great communicators & work in a team environment
- They care more about you than himself or herself – How can you tell? Focus on how much time they spend getting to know you and your goals.
- They spend far more time asking you questions about your specific situation
- They specialize in divorce & family law – they are not a jack-of-all-trades. You need a specialist.
- They are fully knowledgeable about family law in your state
- They are passionate about working on your behalf
- They embrace the law as an opportunity
- They focus on long-term solutions & work hard to prevent you from self-sabotaging your case.
- They use creativity in applying the law in your favor.
- They consider the entire law when applied towards your settlement agreement, not just a single rule of law.
- They are willing to teach you.
Find an attorney who believes in collaboration and working in a team environment. No one attorney knows every single intricate detail about every aspect of family law, taxation & finance. A team effort while more expensive upfront, could potentially save you thousands of dollars and years of headache and regret.
Want more? We have created a 20-minute video on how to find an attorney, questions to ask, resources & worksheet as part of our Divorce Essentials Course. Check it out & as always, please reach out to us if you have any questions!