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How to Find the Best Divorce Attorney

How to find the best divorce attorney for your unique situation is one of the most important factors in your divorce settlement.

This post is a brief overview of the Hiring a Divorce Attorney section of our Divorce Protection Program.

Most people are totally unaware of how the divorce legal process really works. They have no idea how many cases are decided in the judge’s chambers based upon the relationship they have with one or both of the lawyers and not the divorce case itself.

Additionally, judges are human beings like you and I. They have biases, allegiances and a network of people that they like to work with, and those that they don’t. Divorce court is no different than the rest of life.

How to find the best divorce attorney

The judge in my divorce case had a Women Lawyers Association banner draped across the American flag in her courtroom. We witnessed dozens of other cases being heard by her and she ruled against every single man that entered her courtroom. We found out later that she was well known among men and father’s rights groups as a man-hater. I don’t know if that’s true but her rulings certainly seemed to bear that out. 

If you decide to retain a lawyer, finding the BEST divorce attorney for your case is critical. And knowing how to find the best divorce attorney for your unique situation is the starting point.

Why knowing how to find the best divorce attorney is crucial

– Every monetary and tangible asset that you have is at risk

In a worst case divorce scenario your finances, reputation, safety and even your children can be taken from you virtually overnight. Your choice of divorce lawyer will have the single greatest impact on your divorce settlement positively or negatively. The damage from a nasty divorce can affect your family and finances for generations to come. So choose wisely!

– Cost of divorce

Includes divorce attorney fees/court costs/other 3rd party professionals (accountants, mental health professionals, appraisers etc.)

Most people have no idea how expensive a divorce can be – According to TheStreet.com, as of April of 2020, the average cost of a contested divorce in the US is approx. $15,000. And the cost is substantially more in high conflict divorces. My post-divorce litigation ended up well over $150,000. I had 3 different legal firms represent me. Knowing how to find the best divorce attorney can be the key to keeping expensive litigation to a minimum.

– Financial Settlement

Ending up with the best overall divorce settlement includes a variety of aspects:

1. Liquid financial assets, securities, tax deferred accounts, crypto currency, real estate, jewelry, furniture and memberships, vehicles etc.

2. The total amount of legal fees when your divorce is completed

3. Which of you pays 3rd party fees such as psych exams and therapy and long term obligations like alimony & child support

– Parenting schedule and rights

Knowing how to find the best divorce attorney could result in avoiding a costly and damaging child custody battle. Additionally, a poorly defined initial divorce settlement usually leads to post-divorce litigation and enforcement issues that can lead to astronomical costs later.

– Long term relationship with children

Having the wrong divorce attorney represent you can result in receiving a limited parenting schedule,  a damaged relationship, or no relationship at all.

Finding the best divorce attorney

– Financial & emotional quality of your life for years to come

The divorce is usually completed within 4-12 months. But the cost of your divorce, the damage to relationships, and the financial settlement affect the quality of your life for many years to come.

– Long term representation

In the event of post-divorce litigation your divorce lawyer will already be up to speed and know how best to proceed based upon their knowledge of the case, your ex and the judge involved – you do not want to have to start over!

Now that you know why discovering how to find the best divorce attorney is so important, let’s talk about solutions.

How to find the best divorce attorney for your family law case

Best insider referral sources

Each of these sources has a unique insider viewpoint of the family divorce court system. They also know intricate details about judges and divorce attorneys that will assist you in qualifying the best divorce attorney for your case.

– A current or retired family law judge  

– Retired family law divorce attorney

– Family Law divorce attorney that practices in a different jurisdiction

– Attorney from a different field of law

– Someone that works in the family divorce court system (county clerk office, judge’s assistant, Friend of the Court case worker, etc.)

– Friends or family that have connections to these previous mentioned

Other sources

– Accountants, financial planners, counselors or clergy

– Friends, family, church and co-workers (most common)

– Online divorce resources – read reviews thoroughly

– Gender specific sites, forums and support groups

Always qualify and interview a divorce attorney before selecting them regardless of the referral source. You want to make sure that your divorce lawyer is a good fit for your goals and personality. And that they have the legal experience necessary to protect you from an aggressive or difficult spouse if needed.

*We supply a PDF of questions for insider attorney referrals in our program

Optimum divorce attorney selection criteria – The perfect candidate

– Influential and politically connected 

– Respected by their colleagues 

– Powerful, effective and experienced

– Proven in high conflict and/or custody cases

– Frequently practices in jurisdiction your case is in

– Willing to fight for clients (but not a fire-starter)

– High integrity

– Favorable relationship with your judge (if your judge is already assigned)

Your divorce attorney’s credibility, relationships, personality and skills matter more than you know!

Common mistakes when choosing a divorce attorney

Divorce attorney mistakes

– Not realizing you need a specialist for a high conflict or custody battle

Never underestimate the need for control and retribution in an unhealthy ex-spouse. Most of the people that end up decimated in divorce court had no idea that anyone, let alone their spouse, could ever be so cruel or vindictive until after it was too late.

The first reason is that the healthy spouse can’t even conceive that another person, (especially their spouse), would ever be capable of trying to destroy them and their own children. It’s incomprehensible to them. Because the healthy spouse would never be capable of the same type of behavior.   

The second reason is that no man wants to admit that they married the woman from “Fatal Attraction”. And no woman wants to admit they married the man from “Sleeping with the Enemy”. It says something about us when we realize that we married that type of person.

Not realizing that there are some lawyers because of their experience, dedication, skill, and yes their connections, that have a much greater chance of protecting your assets, children and your reputation from a high conflict spouse. All licensed divorce attorneys are not equal in their ability to get the job done!

Any divorce attorney can represent a low asset, low conflict client case. It takes a specialist in high conflict, high asset, and child custody issues to represent you if your ex-spouse is vindictive or emotionally unstable.

– Choosing an attorney with a personality like yours

Like attracts like, both good and bad. Chances are high that if you’re reasonable, compassionate and responsible, you’ll find an attorney who shares those same characteristics and values.

All of those traits are admirable. But there’s a potential problem with this kind of personality. You may be more laid back and much less assertive than your spouse. You may also have a hard time confronting and holding people accountable. And that’s the LAST thing you need in your divorce attorney.

You need someone with all of the previous characteristics, but they need to be strong and assertive when necessary to protect you and your interests.

Paradoxically, if your ex-spouse is controlling, ruthless and manipulative, that’s exactly the type of divorce attorney they’ll find to represent them. They’ll find a bottom-feeder that will gladly take their money (and yours) to destroy you in court!

The goal of any sane and healthy individual going through a divorce is to make the best of a bad situation. They look beyond their own loss and pain, and try to help everyone involved to minimize the damage that’s being done to their family during the divorce process. They aren’t out to destroy the other spouse. They’re rational. And they try to be reasonable while working through the many compromises and negotiations necessary in a divorce.

If you don’t anticipate a high conflict divorce then finding an average divorce attorney might seem adequate. But if you retain the best divorce attorney from the beginning, they’ll be equipped to deal with every situation no matter how intense things may get. They’ll also be able to prevent a great deal of escalation and litigation that a less skilled or principled attorney will not. 

If however, you already know you’re dealing with a spouse that’s emotionally damaged and controlling, you can count on a high level of conflict. These type of personalities will NEVER play by the same rules as the sane spouse or parent. Their goals and tactics will be totally different than yours.

A good lawyer will be wise enough to only use the amount of assertiveness and accountability necessary to get the job done. But they won’t intentionally escalate tension and litigation. They’ll always try to bring things to a reasonable and equitable settlement. But they’ll also be fully equipped to deal with escalating tensions, illegal tactics and to protect you from harm should those things present themselves in your case.

– Hiring a divorce attorney based upon their fee or hourly rate

This common mistake can make all the difference in the outcome of your case and your future. The cheapest is not always the least expensive!

A divorce attorney with a lower hourly rate doesn’t mean their total fees will end up being less than hiring a more effective and powerful attorney at a higher rate.

A divorce attorney that charges $500 dollars an hour may end up costing you WAY less in the long run, than one that bills you $150 dollars an hour.

The right divorce attorney will have the best strategies, the best connections, and the best experience, which should result in less motions, hearings and court costs. You’ll also have a much better chance of protecting yourself, your assets and family from irreparable harm during the divorce process.

The sad truth is that too many judges are only persuaded to do the right thing because of relationships, political alliances or the threat of being held accountable by an attorney that is well respected and connected.

– Hiring an aggressive divorce attorney that will cause conflict and litigation 

1. Many attorneys simply want to increase litigation to increase their fees. And they take every opportunity to do so at your expense.

2. Divorce attorneys that come off as rude, arrogant or antagonistic toward your spouse and in some cases even the judge. The stereotypical “bull in a china shop” personality.

3. Divorce attorneys that are inept or don’t have the expertise to submit a well-defined settlement document to the court that prevents further litigation in the future.

4. Unethical lawyers may promise you an unrealistic divorce settlement to get your business. And once they represent you, they will get you to fight for things that they know you’ll never end up getting just to increase their fees throughout the divorce process. Don’t take the bait.

Next steps to find the best divorce attorney

I imagine by now, that finding the best divorce attorney isn’t as easy as you thought it would be! It’s not. And it’s one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. Hang in there. We’ll lead you through this every step of the way.

Divorce Attorney Interview Process and Questions

Use the interview questions provided in our Divorce Protection Program.  

When you’re interviewing a divorce lawyer to represent you, the interview accomplishes multiple goals. First, you’ll find out which divorce attorney is the best fit for your situation. But you’ll also set the tone for your relationship moving forward.

An attorney will always pay more attention to detail with a client that is highly aware and involved. This will also make it easier to manage your divorce attorney later on. They will realize that you aren’t just passively leaving everything in their hands and hoping for the best.

You’re much more likely to be a priority case if your divorce attorney understands that you know what to look for and that you expect their best.

In review:

It can’t be over emphasized just how important knowing how to find the best divorce attorney is! Using the Optimum Selection Criteria in this section will give you the best chance of finding a highly qualified and effective divorce lawyer to help obtain a favorable outcome for you and your family.  

If you found this information helpful, go to The Ultimate Divorce Protection Program to develop a step-by-step plan to navigate through your divorce with the least amount of cost, conflict and damage to your family as possible.

Knowing how to find the best Divorce Attorney for your specific circumstances is crucial. But it requires knowledge that most people don’t have. We are happy to share our hard-earned knowledge with you to help you and your family to find the best divorce attorney!

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