If you are contemplating getting divorced, you are in good company. Every year, there are approximately 876,000 divorces in the United States. That translates into one divorce going through about every 36 seconds. It has been estimated that 41% of all of the first marriages will end with a divorce. One of the first things you need to do when you are thinking of divorcing your spouse is get family law advice. You may not know how to go about getting a family law attorney but these steps may help.
- Decide what you need. When making the choice to talk to family law attorneys, you need to decide what exactly you will need. If you have children, you may need to get child custody advice. If you have a business with your spouse, you will need someone who is an expert in that. Then there are times when two people are still on good terms but simply no longer want to be married, they may need to talk to experts in no contest divorces. Every situation is unique and not everyone needs the same family law advice.
- Talk to your friends and family. Given how common it is to get divorced, the chances are great that you know that you know people who have gone through this. Once you start telling people you are considering a divorce, you may find yourself inundated with family law advice but it is good to get personal recommendations from the people in your life that you trust. Keep in mind that you need to go with a family law firm in your area because the divorce rules and laws vary from state to state.
- Talk to lawyers you know. If you ever had to talk to a lawyer for anything, you should see if they have any suggestions about lawyers who handle divorces and other family law matters. Like medical professionals, lawyers specialize so you cannot hire a medical malpractice lawyer to help with your case.
- Look online. The American Bar Association and NOLO have databases of lawyers of all specialties. You can also look to your state bar association for help. If you do a simple Google search, you should make sure you include your location. For example, if you live in Rochester, NY and need a divorce lawyer, you should make your search “divorce attorneys Rochester NY” to get search results that are more helpful for you.
- Meet with at least three law firms. When you are looking to hire a law firm, it may be tempting to go with the first law firm you talk to but you should resist that urge. You may end up hiring that first firm but you will feel better about your decision if you have spoken to more than one law firm and gotten to see what your options really are.
- Ask the right questions. Get your questions together and make sure they get answers. You should not take family law advice from someone who is not willing to answer your questions. Here are a few you should ask:
- How long have you practiced law? Having someone with some experience is always a better plan.
- How much of your practice is actually devoted to this kind of law? Most law firms handle a number of kinds of cases but you want someone who spends a decent amount of time handling cases like yours. Most of the cases do not go to court but you need someone who is a good negotiator.
- What is your billing policy? You need to get the fee structure but there are also other costs involved in most cases. You should be able to get a clear account of what kinds of things you will be charged for and decide if you can really afford the law firm you want. Reputable law firms will want to make sure you understand what their policy is so if they balk, you should keep looking.
No one ever enjoys going through the divorce process but finding the right people to get you the right family law advice can help make the whole thing a lot less stressful to go through.