As discussed in Part 2, compatibility is perhaps the most important factor in selecting the divorce attorney right for you. Part 3 will complete this article by discussing several other factors to consider before making the final choice of a divorce attorney.
Relevant Experience and Reputation
Determined by the residence of the divorcing couple, divorce proceedings are held in the court that has jurisdiction over the area. Over time, a judge of a certain jurisdiction will build up a track record regarding his or her opinions for particular divorce cases. Similarly, lawyers will become known for the way they have handled cases in the past. Thus, it would be wise to learn about the divorce attorney of your spouse.
If your spouse’s lawyer is well-regarded within the jurisdiction, it would be wise to retain an attorney who is equally reputable. When you are interviewing attorneys, ask them directly whether they have had dealings with the opposing lawyer. Another important question is to ask how they’ve fared in negotiations for their clients. Their answers will allow you to form an opinion on their approach and evaluate their experience and strengths, so that you can make comparisons between attorneys.
Fees and Retainer
Lawyers will usually be agreeable about giving you a fee schedule during the initial consultation. Ask questions so that you are clear about their billing and their retainer, which is paid in advance, and may vary, depending on the scope and complexity of your divorce. A retainer may be several thousands of dollars, so you may have to budget for a period to raise the amount in order to engage the attorney you want.
Hiring a highly-regarded divorce attorney will be crucial for your divorce proceedings. However, your lawyer, no matter how accomplished, should not be used as a substitute for the other important professionals needed for consultations. A CPA would be able to assist you regarding how divorce will affect taxes now and in the future. A financial adviser can provide insights regarding your portfolio and needed revisions to your financial plan. An experienced and reputable Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) can provide a sound analysis regarding settlement alternatives and projections of each party’s future financial obligations and needs.
Professional Guidance for Divorcing Individuals
John Faggio, CPA, CFP®, CDFA™, is a Financial Divorce Specialist. Faggio Financial helps divorcing individuals reach an equitable financial settlement in a professional, cost-effective, and expedient manner. Call (410) 884-4098 for professional guidance today.