Although moving on can be a relief, divorce is seldom a pleasant experience. The stress and financial hardships that often go along with a divorce can be pretty overwhelming for the inexperienced individual. For this reason many people immediately think of hiring a divorce lawyer when the papers are finally served. But taking a little bit of time to find the right lawyer for you can make a world of difference to the final outcome of your divorce. Before you start looking for a lawyer there are some things you should consider.
1. Do you even need a lawyer?
If your divorce is very amicable and/or involves very few shared assets, then it might be possible to proceed without hiring a lawyer. Divorce proceedings can be started without the aid of a lawyer, and many couples choose not to take their divorce to court. In Australia, family dispute resolution is a recommended alternative to court action. In the case of family dispute resolution (FDR) you will not require your own lawyer because an FDR practitioner will help mediate your agreements. However, if your divorce is complicated or unpleasant then legal representation may be required.
2. If you do need a lawyer what are your priorities?
Going into a divorce, it is important to take the time to decide what your priorities will be as things proceed. A divorce that involves a lot of property or shared assets might require a lawyer who is an expert in financial matters, while a divorce that involves children might require representation with a gentler hand. Your priority might be to get the divorce over with as soon as possible, in which case you may need a lawyer who usually settles out of court. Or perhaps you require specific concessions from an unwilling ex, which is when a lawyer with court experience will come in handy. Not all lawyers are created equal. Knowing what you need from a lawyer before you start shopping around will help prevent you from selecting the wrong one.
3. How much money can you afford to spend on a lawyer?
Hiring a savvy divorce lawyer could cost you $400 per hour or more. This fee might turn out to be a small sum to pay in order to have your divorce handled properly, but it can be easy to get caught up in the idea that more expensive equals better. When hiring a divorce lawyer it is important to consider the assets you are trying to obtain by going to court. There is no point in hiring a lawyer that will cost you $50,000 in order to regain property that may only amount to $25,000. Hiring a more expensive lawyer for the sake of intimidating your former spouse is also unlikely to yield satisfactory results. In fact, hiring a less-experienced lawyer could end up working to your advantage. An up-and-coming lawyer will likely charge less, have more time for you and be very eager to make a name for themselves in the court room.