Are you going to be filing for divorce soon? Maybe you have already filed, or perhaps you were the one that received the divorce papers and are now scrambling. Divorce is scary and you have a lot that you have to think about. You must make sure you understand what you need to do to proceed and consider when choosing a divorce attorney.
Do You Always Need an Attorney?
However, before you start your hunt for a divorce lawyer, make sure you need one. Sometimes, a divorce will be simple and uncontested, and you and your spouse might not even need to bother getting attorneys.
If the both of you agree on everything in your case regarding the division of property, etc., and you can settle, there is no need for an attorney. This will ensure a faster and easier divorce.
Other times, you might feel that you can handle some parts of the divorce process on your own, even if it is contested or difficult. You could handle some of the paperwork or negotiations, for example. You might only need to use the attorney for occasional pieces of advice, so you only consult with them a couple of times.
So, you don’t always need to have an attorney.
However, if you feel there are going to be any issues with your divorce, such as a problematic spouse, problems with assets and debts, or if you have kids, then it tends to be in your best interest to work with a divorce lawyer. They can help to make sure you are treated fairly.
Something else to keep in mind is your spouse. Pay attention to what they are doing. If you have what you feel is an uncontested divorce, but they still hire an attorney, you should do the same.
Look for an Attorney Who Specializes in Divorce
Some attorneys can provide divorce services, but they are not someone who specializes in divorce. Ideally, you will choose to work with an attorney who does specialize in divorce. This typically means that they know how the laws work in Arizona, and they may even have a good idea of how the different judges tend to rule in case your case goes to court.
Think of Your Budget
When you are choosing a divorce attorney, you also have to think about your budget. Getting a divorce is not cheap, so . If you find that you can’t afford the typical services of the attorney, you may want to see if there is a flat-fee option. This can help you to save money and stay under budget. Not all attorneys will offer this, but some do.
Something else you could do is opt to work with paralegals for things like handling your paperwork. This is far cheaper than running all of the paperwork through the attorney. Just keep in mind that the paralegal cannot provide you with legal advice since they aren’t an attorney. You will need to go through the attorney if you want legal advice.
Make Sure You Know the Role of Your Attorney
Your attorney is there to help with all of your legal issues and woes. They can provide you with legal advice regarding your case, handle paperwork, and represent you in court. While most people know these roles of their attorney, they sometimes think that the lawyer should play an expanded role in their case.
This is not how attorneys work, though. Your attorney is on your side, but they are not your friend, and they are not a family member. They aren’t a shoulder to cry on and they are not a therapist.
That’s not to say that they aren’t going to be empathetic to you during your divorce, of course. It just means that you don’t want to call up your attorney when you are feeling down and when you need someone to speak with about how the divorce is making you feel. Friends, family, and therapists should serve in that role.
Look for Red Flags
Some attorneys may claim to be great divorce lawyers, but they are not the right choice for you. Just because someone claims to be great at their job doesn’t mean it’s true. You need to vet their abilities, and you need to look for red flags.
This might be because they don’t pay attention to your case and never seem as though they are fully connected with you and what you want. These attorneys might be overworked and distracted. They can’t keep your case separate from others they are handling.
Others might not explain things to you and may instead try to push you into making a decision you aren’t comfortable making.
Another problem, and one that can be hard to see at first, is the attorney who promises you the world. Any attorney that makes you a promise or guarantee about your case is immediately suspect. Nothing is guaranteed in a divorce case. There are too many variables.
If your attorney treats you like you are a paycheck instead of a person, it’s time to find a new attorney. You won’t be happy with the results if you stick with an attorney that’s just not right for you.
Have Some Consultations
You probably won’t focus on choosing a divorce attorney every day. It’s understandable that you don’t know exactly what you should be looking for when choosing an attorney.
Keeping the above information in mind, you should make sure that you have consultations with several attorneys, so you can ask your questions and get a better sense of the attorney’s personality and how they work. This can provide you with a better idea of what it would be like to work with them.
However, you will also want to ask the attorney doing the consultation if they will be the attorney handling your case, or if it will go to someone else. Sometimes, another attorney at the firm may be better suited to work with you because of their experience with cases like yours.