If you are facing the possibility of a divorce, choosing a divorce lawyer could be one of the most important decisions in your life. Divorce is unfair. It forces you to make some of the most difficult decisions in your life at a time when you might be least able to do so. Having someone you trust to advise you is important.
There are hundreds of lawyers in the Twin Cities with significant experience handling divorce cases. Regardless of what you may think of lawyers (and surveys would suggest that may not be overly positive) lawyers are, for the most part, like the rest of our society. They come in all shapes and sizes, and have varying degrees of skill, honesty and effectiveness. If you work hard and do your homework, you can find one of the really good ones. Perhaps more importantly, you want to the best attorney for you. The key is to know how to investigate and interview so that you find the right fit.
Investigating Lawyers to Interview.
The first step is to find attorneys to interview. The best way to start is to talk with people you know who have had a positive experience with their divorce attorney and find out what it is about their attorney that they liked. The other option is to research the internet carefully, at least to make sure you understand all of the process options available. While it would be reckless to choose an attorney from online information alone, the internet can be an effective way to find someone to interview. It is also a good way to learn about the main process choices that exist in our community; namely traditional representation; mediation and Collaborative Practice.
Once you have found an attorney to interview (or ideally several attorneys), you should contact each attorney (by phone or email) and find out if they charge for the initial consultation. Many family law attorneys will provide consultations for free, or at little charge, in order to give you the opportunity to meet them and learn how they work.
When you do interview the attorneys, do not be afraid to ask them difficult questions to help you determine if they are a good fit for you. Many books include guidance on questions to ask your attorney including, The Collaborative Way to Divorce.
Make sure that each attorney that you interview provides a description of the main process choices described above and make sure they describe their experience and training in each of these areas. Attorneys, like most people, have preferences and biases and their description of the three basic options can be filtered by their own preferences, rather than being based upon actual experience. If, for example, your attorney has not had significant experience in mediation or Collaborative Law, their recommendation may be based on third hand accounts of information or bias, rather than actual expertise. To find attorneys who have experience or expertise in Collaborative Law and mediation, go to www.collaborativelaw.org or www.divorcechoice.com.
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