The ambiguity if separation can be personal torture. It shatters your self-worth and confidence, add to your financial stress, challenge your identity, and increase worries about taking care of your child(ren). Worse yet it the length of separation; a 2012 study completed at Ohio State University indicated that the average length of first separation was three years! If you know the relationship is going to end and that you are going to hire a lawyer, why wait? It is best to get educated, make your divorce as smooth as possible and try to control legal costs by taking these four steps:
Step 1: Do Your Home Work
Hiring a good lawyer is the most important decision you’ll make in your divorce because a good lawyer should be several things for you: coach, advisor, representative, case manager, and aid in legal cost control. You need to take your search very seriously and do your homework.
Most important to understand is the philosophy and demeanor of your lawyer; is he/she a collaborative lawyer or one that creates conflict; mild mannered or high strung; wise or inexperienced. Additionally, not all lawyers were at the top of their class and it is your job to weed out the bad. Get out your weed whacker and start chopping by doing the following:
- Conduct an internet search to research lawyers; SuperLawyers.com is an excellent site. It lists lawyers that received peer recognition and professional achievement in their field.
- Read the lawyer’s web site; note the quality and tone.
- Ask for referrals from friends/relatives/coworkers; tell them the type of lawyer you want to represent you.
- Find a lawyer with a similar personality; he/she represents you so your lawyer should mirror your personality and philosophy.
Step 2: Develop Questions
Now that you’ve done your research, it’s time to start interviewing to finalize your selection. Develop a list of questions unique to your situation. Here are a few insightful question/observations to get you started: