What Should I Look for in a Divorce Attorney?
A divorce is undoubtedly one of the most stressful experiences you can undergo in your life. You might feel depressed about the fact that your marriage is over, worried about your post-divorce financial situation, and concerned about your children’s future.
In such a scenario, the last thing you want is to hire an unskilled or inexperienced lawyer who can mess up your case and ruin your chances of getting a fair divorce settlement.
Given below are five key factors you should consider while choosing a divorce attorney in Alabama:
1. Skill and Experience
This is the first and perhaps the most important factor you must consider while choosing a divorce lawyer. If you and your spouse disagree on various issues, your divorce proceedings can turn nasty in no time.
In these situations, your lawyer should be skilled enough to negotiate with your spouse’s lawyer, aggressively defend your interests, and make sure that you get a fair deal in terms of alimony, child support, visitation, child custody, and other related issues.
There are three things you can do to determine if a divorce lawyer is skilled and experienced enough to represent you:
- Check their credentials and track record
- Find out if they have handled cases like yours in the past
- Find out if they are rated highly by their peers and clients
Remember – any divorce attorney can represent you, but only a skilled attorney can represent you well.
2. Trial Experience
Negotiation, mediation, and arbitration might not always work in a divorce case, especially if you and your spouse are bitterly antagonistic towards each other. In such cases, litigation might be the only option available to you.
Any experienced litigator will tell you that no amount of bookish knowledge can replace trial experience. From court filings to cross-examination of witnesses, working with experts, and presenting evidence in court, there are several steps involved in a trial process that an inexperienced divorce attorney might struggle to handle. This is why it is extremely important for you to choose a divorce attorney with trial experience.
3. Tact and Resources
Sometimes, spouses tend to hide, undervalue, or lie about their assets in order to gain an undue advantage during property division. It is particularly common in contested divorces where the spouses are out to get each other.
While you might find it hard to imagine that something like that could ever happen between you and your spouse, but you need to be prepared for that eventuality. So, you need to hire a divorce lawyer who has the tact and resources needed to do some digging and locate hidden assets, if needed.
4. Communication Skills
Your divorce attorney should be able to negotiate with your spouse’s attorney, articulate your concerns about the divorce process to the other side, and aggressively defend your interests if and when needed. In a trial, your attorney should be able to present your case in an emphatic manner, make persuasive arguments, and litigate expertly to bring your divorce process to a successful conclusion.
To be able to do so, your attorney should have excellent communication skills. This is a key factor you need to consider while choosing a divorce attorney.
No matter how great an attorney is, they are of little use to you if you cannot reach them when you need to. While it is not reasonable to expect your attorney to be available on a 24×7 basis, you should be able to contact and meet them as and when you need.
Ask the attorney how long it usually takes them to respond to phone calls and emails from their clients. Also, ask them if they have legal assistants or support staff whom you can contact if they are not available. If the answer does not satisfy you, move on.
How much does the attorney usually charge for a case like yours? What is their hourly rate? Do they charge a flat fee or do they offer payment plans? How much do they charge for mediation, arbitration, and litigation?
These are all questions you need to ask of a divorce attorney before you can decide if you can afford their services.
Divorce Attorneys in Dothan, Alabama
The family law attorneys at Smith & McGhee, PC have handled thousands of divorce cases over the years. We can skillfully handle uncontested and contested divorce cases alike, and we can help you get a fair and favorable divorce settlement.
Our divorce attorneys will work hard to achieve the best possible outcome in your divorce case through negotiation, mediation, or litigation – if needed. We can also handle post-divorce issues like alimony, child support, and child custody modifications as well as enforcements.
You can message us online or call us at 334-702-1744 to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced divorce attorneys.