The decision to divorce is never an easy one to make. When a marriage breaks down, both parties are filled with a multitude of tumultuous emotions, a high level of stress, anger, regret and, more often than not, an excruciating sense of having failed. One spouse might find himself or herself temporarily homeless, and there will be the added strain of dividing up possessions, perhaps simultaneously battling with religious beliefs connected with marital separation, and dealing with friends and family. Yet, despite all this, children and work commitments must still be taken care of. Against this emotionally turbulent backdrop the search for an attorney must begin; however, it is vital to try to map out and fully understand the assistance we want from a divorce attorney before taking on their services. It is important that the prospective client has a clear idea of what they actually need a legal counsel to do for them. Before running around trying to find divorce law firms, just take a step back; make a list.
It is always advantageous to know what you are going to be asking someone to do before buying their services and the same applies to finding the best legal representation for a divorce. It could be that the client will want to hand over the complete responsibility to the attorney and effectively allow them free rein. Others may wish to have more involvement in the progress of their divorce. Much also depends on whether the two parties of the impending divorce are likely to remain on friendly terms or whether each stage of the process is destined to be a battlefield. Perhaps mediation or arbitration are options to be considered and, if there are children, there must be some key decisions made about their future. For example, they might continue to have access to both parents, in which case a joint custody arrangement could be an option, provided that the logistics of such an organization are not too complex. It is also worth reflecting on the cost of briefing an attorney and whether or not that will be a significant issue.
Once those key decisions have been made it will be time to begin the search for a lawyer, and there is an enormous amount of choice out there; but in what is reported to be the most emotional and stressful period of someone’s life, finding an attorney who will fulfill their needs could become somewhat traumatic.
One way of avoiding trawling through information about thousands of potential lawyers is to speak to friends and family whose own good or bad experiences with particular attorneys will usually be a trustworthy reference. It is certainly advisable to work one’s network in order to get the lowdown on different attorneys and it is also worth remembering that some organizations have their own prepaid legal programs. Therefore, it is always worth the prospective client checking whether this is one of their benefits. Work colleagues may also be able to recommend a good attorney and the company legal team might be able to make a referral as well.
The perfect lawyer is out there to help individuals through an incredibly traumatic time, but finding that ideal professional may be rather like panning for gold, given the mountain of attorneys one needs to sift through. Perhaps it is time to look at other alternatives.
Using the internet
Doing an online search must surely be the simplest way of finding a divorce attorney. Thanks to changes to the ABA (American Bar Association) standards for legal advertising, there has to be a lot more detail in attorney advertisements, so it is still worth looking at listings pages. There is a vast amount of information, so this might at first seem rather daunting for the prospective client; however, each state also has its own lawyer referral service, so a good look at the ABA website could be of benefit.
Using one of the many internet lawyer search services could also prove fruitful. These are effectively organizations which take the complexity and stress out of the equation. By listing only acclaimed legal counsel they ensure that prospective clients will have an excellent choice of bona fide legal specialists. Their searches may be broken down by specialty or region and some will even allow the prospective client to post the main details of his or her case and then simply wait for the attorneys to respond directly (look for websites which offer free case evaluations).
Those seeking counsel need to make sure that the search service chosen has good national coverage and that the legal counsel it lists will have the specialisms which are required for their particular case. The best sites offer plenty of information so that anyone considering a divorce will have the chance to consider all the implications before selecting their legal counsel. They will also provide prospective clients with responses to Frequently Asked Questions, which may well serve the purpose of alerting them to important matters which, in their heightened emotional state, they themselves might not yet have fully considered. These could concern legal separation, child support and custody, as well as the disposal of joint assets.
In short, the internet offers a wealth of information, which in today’s online age, most are able to access freely and fully. This means that the process of briefing a divorce attorney and setting the wheels in motion may be exceedingly swift and the prospective client needs to be mindful of that fact. The speed with which it has become possible to research and gather information need not prevent those considering divorce from taking a slow and steady approach. When one is at the exploration stage it is worth remembering that in most cases the research, decision-making and planning surrounding a wedding is significant and lengthy. It is true then that in the unpicking of a marriage, there needs to be the same amount of attention to detail. Fortunately, the internet will provide the detail, but the rest is up to us.
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