Filing for divorce is a very emotional and often complicated process, depending on the amount of assets you shared, any children, and the circumstances of your relationship. During these situations, you need an attorney on your side who can advocate for your best interests. However, there are many attorneys and firms that you can choose from in the Bay Area – to find the best San Jose divorce attorney for you, you will need to examine each option under the following criteria.
#1: Experience in Your Practice Area
Before you hire an attorney to help you in your divorce case, you want to make sure that he or she has experience handling divorce cases. You do not want to schedule a consultation with a criminal defense attorney only to find out that he or she does not handle your type of case – and you also want to make sure that the attorney you hire has significant experience as well.
Ask your potential attorney about his or her experiences handling cases like yours. Discuss how long he or she has worked in divorce law and the results from his or her cases. In addition, ask how long he or she has worked in the court system you will be entering into. The more experience, the better.
#2: Strong Lines of Communication
Nothing is more frustrating than hiring a family law attorney to assist you with your case and rarely hearing from him or her over the course of your divorce. Communication is crucial during these proceedings, and you want to ensure that your attorney is advocating correctly on your behalf.
Before you hire an attorney for your divorce, make sure that he or she maintains strong lines of communication. Ask the attorney how he or she plans on communicating with you and how he or she typically communicates with his or her clients.
- Will you receive regular phone calls or emails?
- Will he or she prepare you and notify you of any important meetings in advance?
- How often does the attorney plan on meeting with you in person?
- Will you be communicating with the attorney directly. a case manager, or a legal assistant?
#3: Take Advantage of the Initial Consultation
Most divorce attorneys recommend initial consultations where you can visit him or her in the office and discuss your case. The attorney will discuss how he or she can assist you and sometimes give you his or her opinion on your case.
These initial consultations are crucial to selecting the right attorney for you. You can interview the attorney about his or her experience, communication styles, and how he or she plans on handling your divorce proceedings. You can also ask about his or her retainer fees and what they cover, the resources he or she has access to, and his or her track record. By interviewing potential attorneys, you can use the results from each of these consultations to make a more informed hiring decision.
#4: Keep an Eye Out for Red Flags
While many divorce attorneys may operate in the Bay Area, some of the firms you research may not uphold certain professional standards. If you notice any of the following red flags while researching the attorney or during the free consultation, consider hiring someone else.
- The attorney makes promises about how he or she will handle your divorce, such as getting you full custody of your children or reducing the spousal support payments you have to make. Divorce cases are very complex and your attorney cannot promise you that he or she will make a good outcome happen.
- He or she divulges confidential information about other cases when speaking to you. If the attorney does this for other cases, it is highly likely he or she will do the same with your case.
- The attorney asks you which other attorneys you are interviewing and proceeds to disrespect each of them. If an attorney cannot respect his or her competition, it is likely that he or she may disrespect you as well.
When it comes to filing for divorce, you want to choose an attorney with the right experience and who you believe can advocate for your best interests. Vetting each attorney against the above criteria can help you choose the best person to assist with your case.
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