When you need to find a divorce lawyer, ask around first – someone that recently divorced is ideal. You definitely want a lawyer that practices family law regularly. If you pick someone at random, you can expect anything and expect it to cost more!
Try to get a recommendation, and if you do, make sure that lawyer has undertaken divorce cases recently. Try to check the outcome of the cases they’ve handled. You can do this in some countries by going through public court records.
Another source of good information is the local Bar Association. By making sure the lawyer you are considering using is a member of the Bar, you will be one step closer in determining whether he or she is qualified to handle your case.
If you are having difficulty finding a good divorce lawyer in your area, try asking a lawyer you trust for a referral or recommendation. In other words, who would a lawyer pick as their lawyer?
Try to choose a lawyer that is local to you to save costs. This will reduce the costs of travel, telephone, and sending documents between you and their office.
Just remember that 99% of the time your lawyer will not offer the same luxuries as a celebrity divorce lawyer – like a large office and an extensive support team. In general, the larger their office and support team, the higher the cost will be to you.
In my particular case, I had a lawyer recommended to me by a paralegal that helped me with a real estate transaction.
Lawyers and Divorce Specialization.
Most lawyers are in general practice. They do a ‘little of this’ and ‘a little of that’.
When I first met my lawyer I assumed that because she was willing to take on my case, she was well practiced in divorce law.
What I didn’t know, was that lawyers are like generalists – they study and practice many kinds of law. Many do everything from suing the local city government on your behalf to getting new housing plans approved. You might have an outstanding debt you need settled in small court and they would represent you. Some may even do some business litigation where two companies are trying to resolve a disagreement. Either way, they are general practitioners.
I remember meeting my divorce lawyer for the first time. I sat nervously watching as she reached behind her desk for a thick legal textbook on divorce. I watched her thumb impatiently, looking for the relevant material on divorce proceedings.
I asked her, “I thought you had studied this?” To which she replied that she had taken many classes during law school, but divorce law was only a few months worth of classes.
I was her second divorce case. Ever.
I thought, “Oh boy!” Here is the person I am relying on to get me through this divorce. Of course I was worried. I didn’t have a lot of confidence in her.
My supposed expert, the person I was relying on, was sitting opposite me reading law textbooks and she was looking up how to undertake a divorce.
My point is this – while most lawyers are qualified to undertake divorce work, do check to ensure that they are well versed in divorce law.
You do not want to find yourself paying for your lawyer’s re-education. It will be a very expensive education.