A divorce can be one of the most emotional and devastating moments in your life. It is a moment where you will want to invest in the best help possible so you can come out of your divorce an independent and self-sufficient person. Do not just pick the first lawyer you find on Google. Finding the right lawyer who understands your case and your needs is not always easy but, is worth the effort.
When it comes time to choosing the right divorce lawyer for your case, you must spend time deciding on the right lawyer for you. To help you along in this process, these are ten questions you should ask before choosing a lawyer to help take on your divorce.
1. How much experience does your lawyer have?
As with any profession, the more experience your divorce lawyer has practicing family law, the better. Every type of law is complex, so it is in your best interest to work with a family lawyer who specializes in what you are looking for. If you need a divorce agreement, work with a lawyer who specializes in divorces. If you need assistance with child support, look for a lawyer who has experience with these types of cases. You want to be sure that the person you choose to work with has a thorough understanding of the vital legal information you need to carry out your case.
If you are not sure what you are looking for in a lawyer, you can always call a family law firm and schedule a consultation to find the right lawyer for your case. Do not be afraid to ask questions. The more you ask, the more likely you are to find the right lawyer to help with your divorce.
2. What law firm is your lawyer from and Is it a reputable firm?
It is important to research not just your divorce lawyer, but the law firm they represent. Check out reviews online to ensure that the law firm your lawyer works out of is reputable and highly recommended by previous clients. Your lawyer does not need to represent a huge law firm to be considered a good divorce lawyer. Even local firms have excellent divorce lawyers on their team. More specifically, choosing a firm that specializes in family law or divorce law is ideal. Remember when considering reviews online that it is impossible to avoid negative reviews completely so don’t be turned off by just a couple of negative reviews.
3. What is your lawyer’s goal?
Any good divorce lawyer knows that a divorce is not about ‘winning’ or completely taking everything from your spouse. If your lawyer plans to go after your spouse for everything they have, this will only create more conflict in your divorce. Creating more problems in a divorce will only end up costing you more in legal fees, time, and mental/emotional energy.
Instead of choosing a lawyer who’s out for revenge, choose a lawyer who would prefer to take a pragmatic or collaborative approach to your case. Someone who wants to find a resolution, not create more conflict. Your divorce lawyer should be level-headed, calm, and most of all willing to solve your problems, not create new ones for you. Again, do not be afraid to ask your lawyer how they plan on approaching your case. The divorce lawyer you choose will impact your future after your separation greatly, so choose wisely.
4. Does your lawyer describe themselves as assertive or aggressive?
It is one thing to choose a lawyer who is willing to ‘fight for you in court’. It is another thing to choose a lawyer who is ‘willing to do everything they can to keep you out of court’. There is a big difference between an assertive lawyer and an aggressive lawyer. While it is nice that a lawyer will do whatever it takes to get you the best settlement, you want to make sure they are looking out for YOUR best interests. Most of the time, aggressive lawyers create more conflict in a divorce. However, if you want a painless and quick divorce, work with someone who is both assertive and solutions-oriented. Someone who will look out for your best interests and will give you the right advice to move forward with your divorce. An assertive lawyer will rationally approach your situation in a more positive way than a lawyer who comes off more aggressively. Oftentimes the more assertive lawyer will also mean less drama and an efficient workflow to get the job done as quickly as possible.
5. Does your lawyer have experience with children or child custody cases?
If you have children, it is best to work with a divorce lawyer with additional experience in child custody and child support cases as well. The more experience they can give you in these areas, the better. Whatever skills you may require to achieve your divorce goals, ensure that the lawyer you choose has them. There is a divorce lawyer out there for everyone. Even if you are seeking a lawyer who speaks another language, there is a divorce lawyer out there for you. Overall, you want to work with someone who understands you, understands family law, and is willing to meet all of your needs.
6. Does your lawyer support mediation or collaborative practice?
Mediation is a process where you and your spouse hire a neutral third party to manage the negotiation of any conflict. The mediation can be done by a mediator, divorce professional, or a senior family lawyer. It is beneficial because it is a low-cost and highly effective way to resolve conflicts in a divorce.
Collaborative practice is similar to mediation. It is a process where each person has their own lawyer and you work with a mental health professional and financial professional to resolve all the issues. There is a commitment to keep the matter out of court.
If you find a divorce lawyer who is against mediation or collaborative practice, this usually means they take a more aggressive and forceful approach to their cases. However, lawyers who use mediation or collaborative practice are the ones you should be looking for. A law firm that prides itself on settlement-oriented services usually means they are willing to help you through your divorce in the most amicable and cost-effective manner. It is a good sign indicating that your divorce lawyer will likely be looking out for what is best for their clients.
7. How will your lawyer approach your case?
If your lawyer plans on using sleazy tricks and tactics to get results, they are not the right lawyer for you. If you want to get real results without creating conflict, choose a lawyer who will not use threats and other tactics as weapons to get you what you want. It won’t work and will likely just cause you more headaches. Choose a lawyer who will approach each situation professionally and get you good results in a less aggressive way.
8. What is the cost of working with this lawyer?
Perhaps one of the biggest things people look at when choosing a divorce lawyer to work with is how much it will cost them in legal fees. This is why it is good to look around at different divorce lawyers and law firms to see what they offer in terms of service and how much those services cost. Do not make you decision solely on the basis of cost. Your lawyer is key to your future life. Investing in a lawyer is investing in yourself. Of course, you have to work within your means. It should not have to break the bank to get a divorce. If cost is an issue, look for law firms committed to keeping you out of court and offers a variety of services or options like our DIY divorce solution.
9. Does your lawyer understand your needs?
Is your lawyer truly looking out for what is best for you or are they doing what they can to make the most money? Divorce lawyers who are known to approach divorce cases more aggressively are usually not fully in it for their client’s best interest. That is why you need to consult with your lawyer before working with them. So you can get an understanding of who they are and how they will approach your case. It also allows your lawyer to understand what your needs are and if they can help you to the best of their abilities.
10. Does your lawyer have the time to work on your case?
Nothing is worse than finding the perfect divorce lawyer for your case, only for them to not have the time to fully commit to working with you. When choosing the right lawyer, be sure they have enough time to take on your case along with their other work. If your divorce lawyer is from a well-managed practice, this should not be much of an issue. However, if your lawyer is returning phone calls late or submitting documents at the last moment they are not the right lawyer for you.
On the other hand, a good lawyer is busy. If your lawyer has all the time in the world, they probably don’t have the expertise you need. Good lawyers are busy but can manage their time well.
Find the right divorce lawyer at Galbraith Family Law
At Galbraith Family Law, we are committed to resolving family conflict with heart. Everything we do for our clients; we work with their best interests in mind. Our team of divorce lawyers has years of experience and is ready and willing to help you with your divorce today. To book a consultation with one of our amazing family lawyers, give us a call at one of our five locations across Ontario now. For our Toronto offices call 647-370-8965, for our Newmarket office call 289-210-4692 or you can reach us at our Barrie office at 705-230-2734. A divorce is not easy, but with the right divorce lawyer in your corner, we can help ease the process as much as possible.