Divorce can be stressful, and it's hard to know what to do when you're under stress. That's understandable, but what happens in your divorce can impact the rest of your life, and it's important to create a smart plan, do your homework and make smart decisions throughout the process. One of the most important decisions you need to make is which divorce attorney you hire.
Here are 5 tips to help you choose the best New York divorce lawyer to represent you:
- Don't procrastinate: the decision to divorce does not happen overnight. Most of the time, couples struggle with the decision for months or years. It's normal to try to reconcile several times before you know the marriage is not going to work. But once you do, you need to start researching lawyers. Above all, you'll want to give yourself enough time to research and meet with the attorney who has the most experience to adequately represent you.
- Identify your goals: every couple is different, and so is every divorce. In some cases, couples remain friendly. In others, they argue over every issue. If you and your spouse are still getting along, you might want to opt for an uncontested divorce. If you're not, you'll need a lawyer who will fight for you in court. Some divorces are relatively simple, while others involve thorny issues like alimony, child support and asset division, in which case you need to make sure the lawyer you hire has a good deal of experience representing clients with these needs.
- Research the lawyer: if you Google "divorce lawyer New York City," you'll come up with more than 14 million search results. Certainly you could focus on the first two or three pages of search results and gather information from the webpages of these law firms. But this hit or miss method often produces more confusion than helpful information. Instead of simply reviewing a divorce lawyer's website, check out the lawyer's online reviews on Google or Avvo.com. See what former clients have to say about the lawyer's level of service and experience. The reviews should help you answer most of your questions, such as how helpful and available their lawyer was, and what the final result was.
- Schedule consultations: once you have your short list, you need to meet with the attorney who is the best match for your needs. When you meet, be prepared with a list of all of your questions, including the hard ones. Be sure to ask the lawyer with whom you meet if he or she is the one who will represent you in court. And be sure to ask how successful the lawyer who represents you has been with cases similar to yours.
- Listen to your gut instincts: hiring a divorce lawyer isn't like hiring a plumbing contractor. Because of the personal issues involved with your divorce and the length of your business relationship, you need to trust and be comfortable with your lawyer. During your consultation, note your personal feelings about the lawyer and whether this is someone you feel you can work with.
Finding the right attorney can mean the difference between getting what you deserve and getting shut out. Take the time to get good referrals and to consult with an attorney who has the skills to meet your needs and adequately represent you. It's an investment of your time that will pay off in the long run.
For more information about the ways an experienced divorce attorney can help you achieve your goals, contact us today.