Selecting a divorce attorney is a critical decision making process here in the Colorado Springs area. The person who you hire will be responsible for obtaining or maintaining your custody rights to your children, your property interests, and depending upon the side you are one, either minimizing or maximizing your support rights.
In reality, selecting a divorce attorney is also an incredibly stressful experience. Do it right and you can breath easy. Do it wrong and you will spend years making up for losses that might have been prevented. Do not fear though, we are here to help you in finding your divorce lawyer!
Why Hiring a Divorce Attorney Is A Good Idea
Selecting a divorce lawyer to handle your family law case is a very important decision. The following are a few important criteria to help in finding the right divorce lawyer.
Experience and Focus
Any divorce lawyer you consider should have substantial experience in handling divorce cases in your location. An experienced divorce lawyer will know the tendencies of the various judges in your jurisdiction and should be able to use this knowledge to your advantage. Additionally, that lawyer should practice primarily in the field of divorce law. Often people will hire a lawyer who practices primarily in some other area, thinking that any lawyer will do. However, divorce law is a very specialized field that requires particular skills and experience in order to have a likelihood of reaching a successful conclusion.
Past Client Testimonials
Perhaps the best way to decide which divorce lawyer to use for your divorce case is to find out what former clients have to say about that lawyer. While divorce is never an enjoyable process, some divorce lawyers have more success at satisfying their clients than others. If you do not know someone who has been a client of that particular divorce lawyer, you should consider asking the lawyer for a list of clients that you can contact who can describe their experience with the lawyer. While client confidentiality is important, any good experienced divorce lawyer should have at least a few former clients who are willing to vouch for him or her.
When a client becomes dissatisfied with a divorce lawyer, one of the most common complaints is that they were unable to communicate with the lawyer. It is very important that your divorce lawyer be accessible and prompt in responding to your phone calls, emails, and requests for meetings. While you can ask the divorce lawyer about their office policy, this is another area where you can best evaluate the divorce lawyer by hearing what former clients have to say.
If a former client of the lawyer tells you that they found it very difficult to contact the attorney, or that the lawyer either did not return calls or respond to emails or would take several days to do so, you should definitely avoid that lawyer. Divorce is an unpleasant and frustrating process under the best of circumstances. If you are unable to reach your divorce attorney, or at least someone on his or her staff, the frustration level can increase exponentially.
When you make your initial appointment with the divorce attorney, you should inquire about a consultation fee. Some lawyers do brief initial consultations for free, although most experienced divorce lawyers will charge between $100.00 and $200.00 as a consultation fee, or will charge their normal hourly rate.
For example, I charge a flat $100.00 consultation fee with no additional hourly charges, regardless of the length of the meeting. Essentially, the consultation fee is to "weed out" those people who are not serious about the possibility of hiring me. Given that my normal hourly rate is $200.00/hour and the usual typical consultation takes about 90 minutes, the charge for my consultation is significantly discounted. Therefore, you shouldn't let a consultation fee scare you away from interviewing a particular lawyer.
During the consultation it is vitally important that you have a candid discussion with the prospective divorce lawyer about fees and what you can expect. Typically, an experienced divorce lawyer will require the payment of a substantial retainer up front, against which that lawyer's hourly rate and expenses will be charged. You should find out what that lawyer's hourly rate is, what the up front retainer will be, whether any portion of the retainer is refundable if it is not exhausted, and how often you can expect to receive invoices that detail their hourly charges and expenses. You also will want to know how detailed the invoices are. Once again, this is another area where you can get excellent information from those people who have been clients of that divorce lawyer.
While all the above issues are important, there is one final question you should ask yourself before hiring a divorce lawyer. Are you comfortable with that lawyer and are you confident in his or her abilities? If the answer is anything other than a resounding "yes," you should keep looking. Your case is too important to entrust to someone who does not inspire your confidence
Queries From A Divorce Lawyer For Making The Process Easy
So the time has come and you are making the big step of meeting with a divorce attorney for the first time. You are nervous, unsure, and yet excited about getting the show on the road. But the question is what are you going to talk about?
If you are looking for answers about your impending divorce, then you obviously need to have the right questions. Otherwise, you could end up spending that first hour listening to a "sales pitch" rather than getting the answers that you have been so desperately waiting for. It is crucial that you walk into that divorce attorney's office with a plan of action so that you can make the best of this opportunity. If you have to, then carry a list a questions with you, a checklist, anything that will make sure that you cover all the bases. Otherwise, you could end up to spending extra money down the road by calling and asking questions that you should have covered during that first meeting.
Here is a short list of information that you should be able to walk out of the divorce attorney's office with, and a good idea if this is the lawyer that will fighting for your best interests. Remember your financial situation and a great deal of you post-divorce life will likely depend on how hard your divorce attorney works for you.
1) What is it going to cost you? Get specifics on the attorney's fees, including whether or not he/she wants a a large retainer up front or if they will be billing you on a regular basis. You also need to get an idea of what your divorce will cost. This is just an estimate, but an experienced divorce attorney should be able to give a fairly accurate figure.
2) Get detailed information about their experience in divorce law and how long they have been working in the county that you are filing in. You will obviously want an attorney who specializes in divorce, or at the very least family law. And if he/she is new to the county, then you may want to look elsewhere. For obvious reasons, It is a great benefit to have a divorce attorney who is familiar with the judges and other lawyers in the area.
3) Find out if they tend to take a combative or cooperative approach when it comes to dealing with your spouse's attorney, and how often their divorce cases go to trial. You want this to match your style as well. If you are hoping to avoid conflict and want to "settle" your divorce quickly, you will want to be wary of combative attorneys. But on the flipside, you do not want a divorce attorney that will not fight for your rights if your divorce starts to get nasty.
4) Also, it is not unreasonable to ask what the divorce attorney thinks the outcome of your divorce will be. This includes everything, including what you should expect regarding marital property, alimony, child custody and child support. A divorce attorney that declines to give you information on this is either too inexperienced or is afraid to tell you the truth, especially if it is a type of outcome that might not work in your favor. Either way, if this happens, it may be best to look elsewhere for more experienced, straightforward divorce attorney.
Obviously, there is a lot more information that you would want to get from a divorce attorney. And you also need to be prepared to answer detailed questions from them, so that they can get a full understanding of your divorce case.
Choosing A Good Divorce Attorney Can Be Difficult
Going through a divorce is a devastating thing for most people. It is one of the worst times in anyone's life. It is an emotional time, not knowing what your financial status will be until it is over. Whether you want to or not, it is critical that you find an excellent divorce attorney. Your financial stability depends on it. However it is not always as easy as it sounds. You need to find the best there is, and often it will take some research in order to find someone who will represent your best interests.
When you first start your search, create a list of attorneys that you may be interested in. Make appointments with each of them and then interview each one. Make sure you are speaking to the attorney that will handle your case and not a law clerk or paralegal. Most divorce attorneys will not charge for this initial consultation because they realize they are being interviewed.
Ask them how long they have been in practice and what their success rate is. Ask for references from past clients and speak to them. Also ask them what their fees are and what they include. Find out if you can get questions answered during the procedure without them billing you for every microsecond that they talk to you.
A good divorce attorney will welcome and answer any question that you have. He or she above all understands what is at stake and will do everything in his or her power to get you what you deserve.
Most divorce attorneys do not charge for the initial consultation. However if the attorney is highly sought after, there may be a consultation fee. You may want to consider paying this fee because the attorney did not get his or her reputation for losing cases.
When you first start your search for a divorce attorney, you can start with your local phonebook. Another option is to ask friends and family who have suffered divorce for their recommendations. Personal recommendations can carry a lot of value if you trust and respect the person giving their opinion.
A good divorce attorney will take into consideration the needs of you and your family, especially if you have children. He or she will do everything they can to settle your case out of court. While they usually charge one rate, if the divorce can be settled out of court, most often they will reduce their rate, sometimes significantly.
Be wary of an attorney that wants to go to court. He or she may not have your best interest in mind. Again, if an out of court settlement can be reached, that is most likely in your best financial interests.
A good attorney will also do everything in his or her power to make sure that the divorce is the only answer to your marital situation. This could include recommending counseling. If there is a chance to salvage your marriage, he or she will encourage you to take the chance. Only when there is no other option will he or she proceed with the divorce and make sure that you get your share of the marital assets.
Choosing a good divorce attorney will give you the peace of mind in knowing that you will be well taken care of at a time of confusion, chaos and just a mess of dealings. Divorce is hard on all parties that are involved and with a good divorce attorney; it can relieve some of the stress from your life.
Divorce can sometimes be the best option for a bad marriage. However, getting a divorce is not an easy task. The procedure usually involves a lot of legal complexities relating to the custody of children, property, alimony, child support, and other such issues. Letting a divorce lawyer deal with all of the messy issues is often the best choice for either party.