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Specialty tag(s): Pre-Divorce Guidance
How to Choose a Good Divorce Lawyer
Ryan R. Bauerle | December 5, 2022
Divorce is a stressful and emotionally trying time in anyone’s life. Many people facing divorce feel a sense of chaos and may also feel anxious about the future. Not knowing how to choose a good divorce lawyer can compound those feelings. That’s why we’re here to help.
Goranson Bain Ausley has been counseling clients for more than 40 years, and in that time, we’ve learned what makes a good divorce lawyer. We also know that selecting the right family lawyer is essential to achieving a positive outcome. Our goal is to offer insight into how you can find a divorce lawyer that works best for your and your family’s needs.
Steps for Choosing a Good Divorce Lawyer
Figuring out how to choose a good divorce lawyer can feel like a daunting task: After all, this is a decision that will have a lasting effect on your life. That’s why we’ve outlined a step-by-step process to help you choose the right divorce lawyer for your needs and feel confident in your decision.
1. Understand the Role of a Divorce Lawyer
To make the most informed decision when choosing a divorce lawyer, you should first understand what they do. Their role first and foremost is to help you obtain the best outcome for your future by dividing assets and resolving child custody issues. Personal matters that seem of the utmost importance in your eyes may not be as crucial from a legal perspective. The divorce lawyer you hire should be sympathetic and knowledgeable, helping you to stay focused on the important legal aspects of your divorce, so you don’t waste time or money.
2. Know Which Type of Divorce Process You’ll Likely Need
Highly contentious divorce proceedings that lead to litigation will play out much differently than those settled amicably. If you and your spouse are likely to engage in a high level of conflict over the terms of your divorce, then the process could go to court and drag on for years before being resolved. In this case, you’ll want to make sure you’re working with a divorce lawyer with strong courtroom experience who knows how to handle high-conflict divorces and can be a zealous advocate on your behalf when needed.
However, if you and your spouse have common goals and interests about what is most important in your divorce, then you may be able to handle the divorce through alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation, Collaborative Divorce, or uncontested divorce. These approaches can be much faster, more cost-efficient, and provide you with greater control over the process than the alternative.
3. Consider Your Budget
You should have an idea of how much you’re willing to spend before hiring a divorce lawyer. If you haven’t determined this ahead of time, you could end up spending far more on the divorce than you intended. However, you also don’t want to choose a lawyer who isn’t right for your needs simply because they’re cheaper. Divorce is a serious matter, and the outcome can have repercussions that impact you for many years to come. Saving some money now may prove costly in the long run. Consider choosing a divorce lawyer who can offer you tips and strategies for managing the cost of divorce.
4. Research Potential Divorce Lawyers and Interview Them
One of the most important parts of choosing a good divorce lawyer is doing research and identifying a few promising possibilities. You can use the Internet as well as friends and family who have experience with lawyers in your area to find out some crucial information, such as the type of law they specialize in and how many years they’ve been practicing.
Even if you find an attorney that seems perfect for your needs, it’s a good idea to find a couple of alternatives as well. A firm that looks good on paper may not always be a good fit when you speak with them in person. Therefore, it is important to interview a few different divorce lawyers.
When you speak with an attorney for the first time, you should be sure to ask about some important issues, such as:
- Their rates
- How often you can expect to hear from them
- What resources they have access to
- How long they think the process will take
- Their level of experience and credentials, including Board Certification
- Their approach to reaching a resolution on child custody or dividing financial/property assets.
5. Look for Warning Signs
Another reason why interviewing potential lawyers is so important is because it allows you to get a feel for how they’ll act as your attorney. You may notice certain things in-person that you wouldn’t have without meeting them. Many divorce lawyers will simply say what you want to hear in order to secure you as a client. Warning signs that you should be on the lookout for include:
- Making promises. Nothing is guaranteed in a divorce.
- Being distracted during your consultation by phone calls or emails. Their focus should solely be on you.
- Telling you what you should do before understanding your goals and situation.
- Talking more than listening.
- Revealing confidential information about other cases and/or clients. This means that they’ll most likely do the same to you, too.
- Telling you they have expertise in multiple areas of law. Family law is a highly specialized area of law and requires a depth and breadth of knowledge on all facets of family law. It is commonly said that a jack of all trades is a master of none—and that is especially true in family law.
In addition to these warning signs, it’s important that you also listen to your gut. If it feels as though a particular attorney doesn’t understand your needs or align with your goals, it may be best to move on to the next one.
6. Choose Your Attorney
At this point, you should have all the necessary information you need to make your final decision. It’s important to choose an attorney who understands what you’re looking for and who you feel you can trust.
About the Author
Ryan R. Bauerle is a skilled litigator and strong negotiator; he regularly obtains favorable settlements without ever stepping foot in the courthouse. Ryan works with clients to evaluate the pros and cons of their options, including costs, to make sound and efficient decisions about moving forward. Ryan is Board-certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Family Law. He is a Fellow of the prestigious American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and has also been recognized as a Super Lawyers Rising Star, 2020-2022, and named a Best Lawyers: Ones to Watch, 2020-2023.
Goranson Bain Ausley has some of the top divorce lawyers in Texas, and we want to help you secure the best possible outcome. Contact us today to set up a consultation to learn more about how to choose the right family lawyer for your unique situation.