How do I choose a divorce lawyer?
Many New Hampshire residents may understand the importance of having a divorce lawyer but don’t necessarily know how to find one.
Where do you find a top divorce lawyer in New Hampshire?
Should you look in the phonebook?
Ask a friend? Scour the Web? Consult your therapist or religious adviser?
Divorce is never easy. A divorce involves the most intimate, personal information and details pertaining to your life. So, if you’ve decided to get a divorce, it’s imperative you find someone that is not only experienced and knowledgeable but also someone that you can trust. But how do you even evaluate who will fit that bill? If you’re a mother or a father, how do you determine if a divorce lawyer will understand your family’s particular dynamics and your children’s needs? How do you determine if your attorney has a good understanding of the marital assets and what you’ll need for your future financial security? How do you go beyond finding a lawyer that is merely affordable – and find someone who will truly advocate for you and secure the custody, assets, and way of life you deserve? Simply stated, how you choose a divorce lawyer is critical because your future is at stake. You don’t just want to pick a name at random out of the phonebook or rely on the recommendation of someone you don’t know well.
Below are the five recommended steps you should take to choose the best divorce attorney for your particular case:
- Step 1: Research divorce attorneys who handle family law and divorce cases in Manchester, New Hampshire and the surrounding cities and towns like Nashua, Concord, Bedford, Goffstown, Merrimack, Hooksett, Franklin, Hillsborough, Derry, Brentwood, and Salem. Google, friends, and the phonebook are fine places to start – but simply picking a name that pops up isn’t enough to know if they are right for you. A flashy advertisement isn’t enough – you need to go further.
- Step 2: Identify what you like about each divorce attorney you found – their message, their experience, their website, and choose a few to interview.
- Step 3: Schedule a face-to-face interview with each divorce attorney, and jot down in advance questions you want to ask. A phone call is not an adequate way to evaluate. You will be working with this attorney on intimate matters that affect your future, and it’s important to meet in person to understand if you’ll feel comfortable working with and trusting him or her with the future of your family and assets. Below are some of the questions to ask a divorce attorney:
- Find out how long the divorce attorney has been practicing family law.
- Ask if the divorce attorney practices primarily family law – or if family law and divorce cases are just a small percentage of his or her practice.
- Ask what the divorce process and timeline will look like so that you have a big picture of the process you’ll be experiencing.
- Ask the divorce attorney what a successful divorce in your particular case might look like.
- If you have young children or even high school or college-aged children, ask how the divorce attorney can help you look out for their best interests.
- If you have a dog or cat that is essentially a family member, ask the lawyer about his or her experience with clients being awarded pets.
- If you believe your divorce is heading to mediation or to trial, ask the attorney about his or her experience in both.
- If your financial situation is complex (real estate, a business, stock, securities and other investments, retirement plans, pensions), ask the attorney what his or her experience is in helping clients get the property and assets they deserve.
- Ask about the lawyer’s hourly rate and retainer for your case.
- Ask if you’ll be working directly with the attorney – or if an associate or legal assistant will be doing most of the work and communicating with you.
- Ask the attorney about the benefits of working with a small practice vs. a large practice or a large practice vs. a small practice.
- Pay attention to whether the attorney is engaged in the discussion with you, is patient in answering your questions, and explains issues so that you can understand.
- Ask if the lawyer will keep you informed of all steps in the case and will seek your input in making strategic decisions.
- Ask how long it typically takes for the attorney to return phone calls, whether to you or to the other lawyer.
- Step 4: Go home and review your interviews with the attorneys.
- Identify the pros and cons of working with each.
- Identify which attorney you feel is best skilled and trustworthy to help you achieve the custody and financial outcome you seek.
- If you feel it’s helpful, use a trusted friend, relative, therapist, or religious advisor as a sounding board to help identify the reasons you wish to work with one attorney over another.
- Step 5: Hire the attorney and begin the relationship so that you can move forward with the divorce.