Now that you have decided you want a divorce, you need to choose a divorce attorney. This is an important decision, because you divorce attorney will be your guide through the process. You want someone with whom you have rapport. Someone with whom you can talk freely without judgment. This is sometimes a difficult process.
4 Keys to a Good Divorce Attorney
If you have chosen an attorney who practices family law, you can assume they know the relevant law. Here are some key qualities you want your attorney to have:
- Put the children first if there are children involved. The attorney should help you consider how any decisions you and your spouse make will impact the children. The children are the innocent victims of divorce and how the decisions you make will affect them should always be front and center.
- Recognizing this is still your life. The attorney should provide you with information about what the law say and what your choices are, but the attorney should not tell you what to do. The attorney should not feel as though they have a stake in the outcome.
- Being open to settlement negotiations. Attorneys may express concerns they may have about settlement options you are considering, but again, it is your life and if you are fully informed, then you should be able to make your own decision.
- Having knowledge of the local courts in your county. The attorney should be familiar with your county’s courthouse system. The attorney does not have to have his or her office in your county, but they should have experience with the court processes and procedures in your county.
Attorney Should Provide Information About Different Divorce Processes
There is no one-size-fits-all way to divorce. A good divorce attorney should explain to you the four different available processes, help you evaluate them given your unique circumstances, and help you choose the process that will work best for you.
- Traditional Representation/Litigation. In this model, the attorneys do most of the communicating regarding the divorce. Outcomes are often tied to “what a judge might do”, rather that what works for you, your spouse, and your famil. Litigation pits you and your spouse against each other with both of you fighting to be the “winner.”
- Mediation. you and your spouse meet with a neutral mediator, most often without your attorneys, but sometimes your attorneys may be present for the mediation sessions. The mediator informs you about the law and a range of possible outcomes, and helps you have the conversations that guide you to a settlement of your issues.
- Collaborative Divorce. You and your attorneys work with a team of professionals who help you come to a settlement agreement. The team includes whatever experts seem necessary, such as a neutral financial counselor, neutral child mental health professional, divorce coach, and more. The professional team is working together to support you through the process and help you make informed decisions.
For more ideas about how to choose a divorce attorney, contact our divorce attorneys at Chase, Berenstein and Murray. You may also call us at 650-642-3897. We handle all aspects of divorce and help you choose the divorce process that will work best for you.