If you are considering getting a divorce, you are not at all alone. It has been estimated that there are about 876,000 divorces in the United States every year. That translates to 16,800 each week, 2,400 every day and one every 36 seconds. The process of getting a divorce is never fun. Getting a good divorce attorney, or even just talking to one before you start the process, can make a difference but there are other things you can do to get through the process in one piece.
- Decide what you want and need. There are a lot of kinds of divorce. If you are your spouse are on decent terms, you may be able to do a simple uncontested divorce. If you have children, you will need to talk to someone who is an expert in family law. If you have a business or a medical or dental practice with your spouse, you will need a divorce attorney who has experience in that area. Going in knowing what you want to get out of the process will help you get through it.
- Talk to your friends and family. Given the number of divorces that take place across the country, the odds are good that you know someone who has been through one. When you are thinking about hiring a divorce lawyer, you may want to see who you know who has hired one. Every divorce is different so you may not use the same divorce attorney as your cousin but they can at least get you some names to start with.
- Get a support network. As much as you may like the divorce attorney you hire, their job is not to be a psychological counselor. You are paying them to help you get through your divorce, not listen to you rant. You may want to go to to a professional but there are also a lot of support groups out there. It is hard to overstate the help it can be to talk to people who are going through the same thing as you. When you need to talk, this can be a great help.
- Get the right divorce lawyer. You will need to at least talk to a lawyer. Step one was to decide what you will need and want for your divorce. Keep in mind that, like medical professionals, attorneys specialize so you need to get someone who has experience in the kind of divorce you are hoping to get.
- Interview several law firms. It is easy to hire the first law firm that you bond with but that would be a real mistake. Most law firms offer free first consultations to prospective clients so you should take advantage of that to talk to at least three different divorce attorneys. That will do a few things. You will get a better idea of what your options are and that can make you feel better about the person you end up going with.
- Ask the right questions. You need to get all of your questions answered. Here are a few you can bring with you when you interview divorce attorneys:
- What got you interested in this kind of law? You need someone who is very passionate about what they do, not someone who is “phoning it in.”
- How long have you practiced divorce law? Most of your divorce will be negotiations so you want someone with a lot of experience in that area.
- How much of your practice is devoted to this? It is not unusual for lawyers to handle different kinds of law but you want someone who does a fair amount of cases that are similar to yours.
- What are your fees and billing policies? Every law firm has their own way of doing this. You need to know how much you will be charged and for what.
Many people feel like they have failed some way when they get a divorce. The right divorce lawyer can help you get through the process but that may not change the way you feel about yourself. The thing that you need to remember is that you did not fail, your marriage did. To some people, that is a distinction without a difference but it is not.