Qualities to Look For in a Divorce Lawyer


Divorce has become as prevalent in society as marriage. While some divorces end amicably, everyone involved in a divorce should hire a divorce lawyer to help ensure that the process resolves itself in a smooth and fair manner; however, many people do not have any experience with the legal system and are wondering what kinds of qualities to look for in a divorce lawyer.

What is Their Experience?

The first question anyone should ask themselves is about the experience of any potential attorney. Experience is an invaluable asset because the longer an attorney has been practicing, the more cases they have seen. This means that they have been exposed to many of the challenges and roadblocks that new attorneys have not seen yet. An experienced lawyer knows what is coming and will be able to circumvent any issues before they come up. Furthermore, an experienced attorney has worked with a variety of clients and knows how to lead their clients to a satisfactory conclusion. An experienced attorney has also worked with many judges and developed a rapport with the judges. The attorney may have a better idea how a judge will handle a certain issue and how a judge likes to have the information presented with respect to that issue.

How Well Do They Communicate?

While the legal knowledge and expertise of an attorney is a vital asset, this expertise may not be helpful if they cannot communicate with their clients in a manner that they can understand. After all, the attorney works for the client and the attorney must adequately understand both the goals of their client and how to reach this conclusion. The ability to simplify complex legal jargon and boil down the terminology in a way that their client can understand is a vital part of the legal divorce process. A competent and experienced attorney will be so familiar with complex legal issues that they will have a great command over the issue and will be able to break it down and explain it to a non-attorney client in a way that they will understand. This is crucial so the client will know exactly what is happening in their matter and will be able to make an informed decision on how best to proceed. The client and attorney work together as part of a team and communication within this team is important.

Is the Attorney Available?

The availability of the attorney is an important factor. It is not unusual to find lawyers who bury themselves in so many cases that they do not have the appropriate amount of time or energy to spend with each individual case. Having a large caseload divides the attorney's attention and they may miss factors that are important parts of some of their cases. Furthermore, an attorney needs to be available to answer the questions of their client. If an attorney is no available to answer questions, they may be too busy to provide adequate counseling to their clients. This often leaves clients in the dark, unsure of where their case stands or how it is progressing.

How Has Their Past Performance Been?

It is always important to explore the prior track record of an attorney before hiring them. How have their prior results been? Have they been receiving reasonable results on their prior cases? In addition, ask the attorney for a list of references and contact those people. Ask about the working relationship with the attorney and whether or not they would recommend working with that person. One of the preferrable ways to find an attorney is by getting a referral from someone you know and trust. If this is possible, a referral to an attorney from a friend or family member will give you insight as to how the attorney communicated with their client and handled the case. Finally, ask about the attorney's relationship with the judges on the bench. The judge plays an important role in the divorce process and having an attorney with a favorable relationship with the judge could be a key advantage.

Article updated October 23, 2020.

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