Finding the right divorce attorney for your matter can be a challenging and difficult process. From your perspective, you may want a “negotiator” rather than a “pit bull”, or vice versa. That is why you are encouraged to research the reputation of several different divorce lawyers and schedule in person meetings with each of them. Many divorce lawyers offer free initial consultations.
As reported by CNBC there are many factors to consider prior to retaining a divorce lawyer. Below are some of the most important factors to consider:
Many lawyers practice divorce and family law. However, the number of lawyers who specialize in divorce and family is much more limited. You should consider meeting those lawyers who have devoted their career to representing divorce and family law clients. Look for lawyers who have previously served as Judicial Law Clerks for Family Court Judges upon graduating from law school. These fortunate attorneys gained the valuable early on experience of learning the divorce and family law process from the Court’s perspective. They experienced first hand how Judge’s think and what they are looking for prior to making crucial decisions for families. Search for lawyers that primarily practice in the area of divorce and family law.
In the difficult world of divorce and family law, emergent situations often arise where the client needs to speak with their attorney immediately even after normal business hours and on weekends. Ask lawyers that you consult with if they are available after hours and on weekends and what is their policy communicating with clients.
You should consider hiring a divorce lawyer that has a convenient location near you. You will be asked to schedule in person meetings to review and sign documents. In addition, you should hire a lawyer that often appears in the county Family Court in which your case will be filed.
Competence & Likability
The divorce attorney you hire should be competent and practice law with a high degree of ethics. You will be sharing your life and relying upon the legal advice given to you by your attorney. In addition you will be spending a great deal of time with your attorney in person, via telephone and via email. Therefore, select an attorney that you are comfortable with, have confidence in and like.
The cost of a divorce depends on many factors including settlement vs. trial and the hourly rate of the attorney. The hourly rate of an experienced divorce attorney will be higher than the general practitioner that occasionally handles a divorce case. It may be cost effective to hire the higher priced experienced divorce attorney because that attorney may have a better chance of settling your case and avoiding costly litigation. Negotiating and entering into a Marital Settlement Agreement will save you considerable amounts of money as compared to divorce trial. Divorce attorneys usually require a retainer fee to be paid upfront and bill off the retainer fee at the hourly rate of the lawyer. In New Jersey, retainer fees charged by experienced divorce lawyers typically range from $5,000.00 to much higher amounts depending on the complexity of the matter.