You may hear people discuss the difficulties of going through a divorce, but you cannot full appreciate what they mean until it happens to you. Every decision you make when divorcing will impact the outcome of your process.
Having skilled legal representation plays a critical role in divorce proceedings. A good lawyer will advise you and help guide you towards decisions that are best for your circumstances. But how do you know which divorce firm is right for you?
Asking a few questions before hiring a divorce attorney ensures you find counsel that will advocate for your best interests.
1. What is your experience?
You want experienced representation. Prior experience ensures your counsel is familiar with courtroom procedures, the legal community (including opposing counsel and judges), and potential arguments the other side might raise. The more your representative knows about Virginia law, and the more attentive your lawyer is in applying your specific facts to the law, the stronger your case will be.
2. Who will work on my divorce personally?
Some law firms delegate certain tasks to associates or paralegals. This can help reduce costs, especially when it comes to discovery procedures. However, you may want a certain attorney to be the one litigating any matters that end up in Court. A certain amount of personal case management is even more critical when child-related matters and high-value assets are at stake. Be sure to talk through your expectations with a potential attorney about what roles s/he would play versus an associate or other firm colleague.
3. Can you give me any references?
Divorce representatives with an excellent track record are usually willing to give you some references to help alleviate your concerns. Even without asking a potential lawyer directly, you can often find reviews on Google, Avvo, or Martindale-Hubble that provide detailed feedback on local attorneys.
4. What is your approach?
Ask questions about alternative dispute resolutions in addition to litigation. A good lawyer knows how to help you resolve your case outside of court, but is ready to go to court for you should it be required. Mediated cases, or even collaborative divorces, can conclude faster, cost less and reduce conflict. Learning more about these and other forms of alternative dispute resolution could substantially reduce the stress and anxiety of divorce.