EP 23: How to Pick a Divorce Attorney

Welcome to the twenty-third episode of the Divorce and Your Money Podcast. Your host, Shawn Leamon, MBA and a Certified Divorce Analyst, talks about how to pick a divorce attorney.

A divorce attorney is the single most important individual of your divorce team. Just as a good attorney can get you a good settlement, a bad attorney can hurt your settlement. As divorce is a legal transaction and process, the attorney is in charge during this whole process.

When you think about your divorce attorney, you should know that they will need to know everything about your married life. They will dig deep into details of your marriage and the factors that might have contributed to the divorce. They will have a close and intimate relationship with you during this whole process, which is why it needs to be someone you are comfortable with as you deal with them on a regular basis.

Before doing anything, you need to take a step back and determine the right process that you might want to pursue for your divorce. These options, which have been repeatedly discussed in the podcast and the book, are litigation, mediation, arbitration, collaboration, and DIY divorce. Once this choice is made, choosing an attorney will become much easier.

Choosing a divorce attorney is a 3-step process.

  1. Make a list of potential candidates.
  2. Interview the candidates.
  3. Select an attorney.

Laws can vary greatly, depending on the state where your proceedings are taking place, which is why you need an attorney who is an expert in divorce settlements of your state. The first step in the process is making a list of potential candidates. You can get referrals from friends or family, and the American Association For Matrimonial Lawyers has attorneys listed by state.  You should have at least three, but five or ten would be great.

When you meet with the attorney, you will go through a prescreening process. Once that is done, it is time for the initial consultation session. You can ask such questions as does the attorney regularly represent the husband or the wife? Is the attorney going to handle your case or hand it to a junior associate? What is their likely strategy and timing? You also need to know how much the attorney costs. You need to ask if they have any expertise in your particular case. Your attorney needs to be well versed in the area of your case. You need to ask them about the experts they work with and plan to bring in.

Once the second stage is over, you can now pick the right attorney for your divorce case. You need to know what you can afford, if they have a friendly personality, did they impress you with their strategy, and if you felt comfortable and were able to get along with them well. You need to use your best efforts in making this critical choice.

Key Learning Points:

  • A divorce attorney is the single most important individual of your divorce team
  • Selecting a divorce attorney is a 3-step process: making a list of potential candidates, interviewing the candidates, and choosing one.
  • Make sure your attorney is aware of the laws of your state and well versed in your case.

Thank you for listening to the Divorce and Your Money Podcast. We hope the show helps you through one of the most difficult periods of your life. Shawn Leamon is also the author of Divorce and Your Money: The No-Nonsense Guide. One-on-one divorce coaching services are available at www.divorceandyourmoney.com.

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