If you and/or your (former) spouse have spent more than thought you would spend to get divorced, you’ve probably spent too much.
Five things you should know before you hire an attorney to handle your divorce or modification case:
1. Only a handful of attorneys are truly “family lawyers.” Hire someone who (a ) is certified in family law and/or mediation, (b) has experienced support staff, and. (c) will allow you to negotiate his/her retainer fee and hourly rates. If you anticipate that your case will be litigious, a larger firm may be to your advantage because there will be support staff to assist with your file at lesser hourly rates.
2. If you believe that your divorce will be friendly, opt for mediation or collaborative law approach.
3. Be wary of an excessively high “refundable” retainer, or one that debits the initial consultation as hours towards the retainer. Your initial consultation, if you retain the attorney, should be absorbed by him/her as a courtesy.
4. Don’t concern yourself with pedigree. Instead, find out whether the attorney well-respected in the legal community. If your attorney has a bad reputation, that reputation likely carries over into the courtroom and may not work to your advantage.
5. Consider hiring an advocate or consultant, who specializes in litigation strategies. For a flat fee (usually $1,500), he/she will represent your interests by interfacing with your attorney on important legal issues, helping guide decisions based on many factors including evaluation of potential financial outcomes.