Going through a divorce is an emotionally trying time that taxes every fiber of your being. From the separation of families, loss of close friends, changing of addresses and managing your every outward interaction to seem stoic, legally separating from a spouse can feel a lot like drowning. Finding the right attorney is an added chore that is both confusing and overwhelming, and you probably don’t even know where or how to begin. This simple guide to finding the right Florida divorce attorney should be a welcome life raft.
Do You Need an Attorney?
Ask yourself honestly whether you need an attorney to begin with. If you don’t have kids or complicated finances, if there aren’t many belongings to claim, or if both parties agree on how to dissolve their assets, you may not need to hire a lawyer to represent you. Hiring a mediator to oversee the negotiations of belongings is a cheaper and oftentimes much faster way to go.
Know What You Want
Now that you’ve decided that an attorney is the best choice to protect your financial well-being, it’s time to consider what exactly it is that you want. Keep in mind that as you look for – and speak with – potential attorneys, each will advise you in a way that suits their skills. If, for example, you’re wanting full custody of your children, the process will rely heavily on the negotiation skills of your attorney. If neither party is willing to compromise, the case may even go to trial. Know what your needs are and be sure you can communicate them clearly to any potential attorney.
Ask Friends and Family
Now you know what you want. Good. Begin the search for an attorney by asking friends and family. Chances are, someone close to you has had experience hiring one or is close to someone who has, as 40 percent of all marriages end in divorce. If you have an estate attorney or insurance agent, ask them for a recommendation too. Word of mouth is always the first place to start, as people recommend based on positive experience.
Consult the Bar Association and Research Online
You’ll want a lawyer that has passed the state bar exam (Florida), and practices within your county court system. Stop by your local bar association and ask for a list of lawyers in your area. A simple Google search for “divorce attorney near me,” should yield some local names. And numerous online tools exist that will provide client reviews for each lawyer. Make sure they practice family law and look into the trial history of each attorney. Even though your case may not go to trial, the win/loss record is an indication of their negotiation abilities, a necessary skill for any divorce attorney. Make a list of the top 3-5 lawyers and start making calls to set up a free consultation.
Take note of how attentive each attorney is during the consults. If they’re constantly bombarded by phone calls, don’t listen, make promises, or divulge personal information about previous clients, you should probably pass. Professionalism is important, and there are no guarantees in court. Listen to your instinct. Divorce proceedings are deeply personal. Therefore, you should feel comfortable working with the attorney you choose. During the consultations, be sure to ask about the fee structure and make sure you thoroughly understand how much the attorney fees will be.
Contact Us Today
The offices of Paul H. Bowen P.A., are located in Palm Harbor, Florida. With over 30 years of experience in family law, you won’t find a better Florida divorce attorney to represent you. Call today to set up a free consultation at (777) 773-1554.