If you’re thinking about applying for a divorce, then you should be looking for a qualified lawyer to represent you, whether the split is amicable or if your situation is more complex. However, just picking any lawyer won’t do and choosing the wrong one could have a significant influence on how the proceedings play out. In this article, we’re going to give you a few pointers on how to find the perfect divorce lawyer for your needs.
Before you start looking for a lawyer to represent you, you have to be realistic about what will be expected from them. The sole purpose of divorce proceedings is to divide assets, deal with custody issues, child support, spousal support and get a divorce certificate. Your lawyer’s job is not to act as your counsellor or your life coach.
Know that time with your lawyer is valuable, and if this is how you plan to use it, then you are wasting your money. And they’ve seen every type of case under the sun, so what might seem like a huge issue to you might only be a bleep to them in the grand scheme of things. So, make sure you use your time wisely and only focus on legal matters when dealing with your lawyer.
Experience is one of the most important things you should be considering when dealing with a divorce lawyer. Skilled divorce and separation lawyers like the people at the Canadian firm Crossroads Law for instance, who have seen thousands of child custody and spousal support cases and whose founder has even provided opinion to the High Court of London, are much more qualified to represent you. And unless you have significant understanding of family law and have experience with representing yourself in court, you should deal with skilled law divorce lawyers that will understand your case and the various laws in your jurisdiction. Only experienced family lawyers will have an in depth understanding about the various legislation where you live and will be able to give you some advice on what you should do and what you should expect to receive or pay out at the end.
Every divorce has its own specificities, and an experienced lawyer will be able to see issues before they happen and avoid any hiccups that could lengthen or complicate the process. This will ultimately reduce the amount of pressure and stress on your shoulders and make sure the proceedings go as smoothly as possible.
You also want to deal with a lawyer who is familiar with the courts as well. A lawyer who actually has been to divorce court will have more experience dealing with proceedings and will be more familiar with judges, which could give you an edge at the end. Every court is different, and a lawyer that knows the ropes when it comes to the courts in your jurisdiction will have a clear advantage.
You also have to look for a lawyer who doesn’t shun the courtroom as well. As you may know, many divorce cases don’t end up in court and parties may never have to see a witness stand. And in other cases, issues over child custody or marital status can drag on and you may have to make multiple appearances before a judge before it’s settled.
A good divorce lawyer has to be ready to work in and out of the courtroom. They will need to be able to deal with out of court negotiations as well as hearings and trials. Whatever you do, make sure that you don’t go with a lawyer who’s actually afraid to go to court to protect your interests if needed. There is no way in the world to substitute for actual court experience, so make sure that you know your lawyer’s court history before you hire them.
Communication is key through every part of the divorce proceedings and working with a lawyer that is unresponsive or dismissive is a sure recipe for disaster. Divorce hearings are already stressful enough as they are, you don’t need to work with a lawyer you can’t get in touch with for days on end when you need advice and updates. While lawyers are usually very busy, it is not an excuse to leave you stranded for no reason. A good divorce lawyer will touch base with you on a regular basis and will work with you constantly if you need any help.
How much your divorce will actually end up costing you in legal fees is often impossible to predict. If the whole process is amicable, then divorce can actually be pretty cheap and parties will only have to file some basic paperwork for the divorce to go through. However, if there are points that both parties are disagreeing on, the process could take a lot more time and your fees could easily pile up. So, before you start working with a lawyer, it would be wise that you ask them what you will expect to pay and ask them to paint you a realistic picture of how much the fees will be and how much you can afford.
Reputation is everything in this business, and you want to work with a lawyer that is not only efficient, but one who’s in good standing. You also want to deal with a lawyer who has a reputation for getting results for your particular kind of case. In addition to review sites and recommendations from family and friends, you could ask other legal professionals as well about a particular lawyer.
Lawyers, accountants and other professionals will often know a lot about different lawyers and will be able to tell you who you should trust and who should be avoided. You should also inquire into the divorce lawyer’s litigation style as well. For instance, if you don’t necessarily want to go for the jugular and want to leave your relationship on amicable terms, then try not to go for a lawyer with a reputation for being particularly aggressive.
Divorces are very personal, and at the end of the day, you have to work with someone who you mesh with on a personal level if you want to be properly represented. Working with someone who is not only incompatible with you, but who might actually be averse to you, could ultimately end up hurting you.
This is someone you’ll have to be able to open yourself up to about a variety of very private matters and have an actual relationship with, so unless you feel 100% comfortable with the lawyer you’re dealing with, we suggest you start looking for someone else. While your lawyer isn’t supposed to be your psychologist, you ultimately want someone who will be by your side and actually work for your interests.
Working with the right lawyer will make the whole process much easier. A good lawyer will never leave you in the dark and will always assist you if you need any help with any aspect of your divorce. So, make sure that you pick wisely and work with a professional with a track record for results who truly cares about their clients.