Undoubtedly, this is a question you never wanted to ask, but here you are facing what may be one of the most difficult and chaotic times in your life. It is normal to have many, many questions. It is normal to be confused. It is normal to be apprehensive or even scared – scared of how finances are going to work, what the future looks like for your children and how your life is going to change. These feelings are all understandable, and an experienced divorce attorney is the right person to help get a handle on your new reality.
When choosing a divorce lawyer, below are the following three things that should be running through your mind:
You wouldn’t want a dermatologist to do your brain surgery. The same concept applies to law. Family court lawyers, domestic lawyers, divorce lawyers (whatever term you want to call us) are experienced in the issues you are going to face. A bankruptcy or real estate attorney might be willing to take your case at a steep discount. They might even be able to figure out how to navigate your divorce, but at the end of the day, that practitioner is a fish out of water.
Lawyers and law firms who specialize in divorce and family matters have established internal processes to streamline your case. We have seen hundreds of different scenarios play out in the courts. We know the personalities of our local North Carolina judges, mediators and fellow family lawyers. You are going to get the best and most accurate legal advice from someone practicing in the field. In fact, the North Carolina State Bar has recognized the importance of specialization through its designations of board-certified specialist attorneys in many practice areas.
You and your divorce lawyer are going to have tough conversations. In fact, your divorce lawyer knowing everything – the good, the bad and the ugly – is essential to a positive outcome. It is important that you are compatible with the divorce lawyer you choose. You need to be comfortable divulging things that might be difficult to discuss. Of course, those conversations are confidential, but they are essential. You also need to be able to trust your divorce lawyer. Undoubtedly, during your case, your divorce lawyer is going to have to tell you hard truths and legal realities. That is the nature of receiving expert legal advice. It is the core of why you hire a lawyer to help you navigate this process.
The law does not always align with common sense or care about how you and your spouse handled things before the marriage disintegrated. It is essential that you can rely on your lawyer to assess your situation, so that you can make properly informed choices about your new future. If you meet with a divorce lawyer and you can’t see yourself working closely with that person and really trusting him or her, you should meet with another lawyer. Consultation fees are cheap compared to diving into a representation agreement that is not going to work out in the end. Restarting with a new lawyer after one who was not a good match is not an easy task. A good family lawyer is always non-judgmental.
This is a very real consideration for many divorce clients who enter the doors of a law office. There is no shame in that reality. You must make a calculated choice based on what is at stake, and a good divorce lawyer will be honest with you about what is worth spending on the financial aspects of your case. However, there are some things, like the safety and security of your children, that are priceless. You must weigh the above two factors, experience and compatibility, against your realistic budget.
A few things can help you keep legal fees down. First and foremost, the best way to keep legal fees down is to work as amicably as possible with your former partner to resolve as many issues between the two of you as you can. You should have an open mind towards negotiation and a fair settlement. The quote you receive for legal representation should be substantially lower if you and your spouse agree, or can come close to an agreement, on most issues. However, that is certainly not possible in every situation, especially if you have been subjected to abuse or mistreatment. If it is not possible for you to come to an agreement with your spouse, don’t panic. Instead, prepare yourself. The more information you can bring to your divorce lawyer, the better. Gather financial documents to bring to your consultation. Know what assets and debts exist from marriage and gather financial documents to bring with you. Once you choose your lawyer, find out what documents he or she needs to proceed. Doing your homework goes a long way towards keeping fees within your budget. Remember, when you hire a divorce lawyer to represent you, you are paying for peace of mind and a weight off your shoulders.
We are proud of how we stack up on all three considerations and believe our reputation precedes us in the communities where we practice law. Our firm houses two board-certified specialists in family law. We hope that you can meet with us and find our attorneys compatible with you. We believe our billing practices are fair and will result in you knowing you have support, knowledge and experience on your side. Visit our divorce page for more information and to learn more about protecting your rights in North Carolina.