Divorce can be one of the most stressful events in a person’s life. A great lawyer can make all the difference during the divorce process. How can you know what lawyer is right for you? Here are four things to consider:

Nasty Divorce? 4 Things to Consider Before Hiring a Lawyer

The Lawyer’s Specialty

Not all lawyers are created equal. Just like doctors specialize in certain areas of medicine, most lawyers have their own practice areas, too. You wouldn’t want a general care physician conducting your brain surgery, and you don’t want an attorney to handle your divorce unless that attorney specializes in divorces.

When you meet with a lawyer for the first time, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Ask your attorney what percent of their practice times goes to family law and divorce. Ask them what training and continuing legal education they have in family law. Other great questions include asking how many divorce cases they’ve handled in their career and why they choose to practice in that area of law.

The Lawyer’s Limits

The lawyer that you meet with should be able to answer common questions about what happens in a divorce. They should have a working knowledge of divorce law including things like custody, parenting time, what happens to the marital home and personal property. They should be able to explain to you what to expect in your specific situation.

However, your lawyer shouldn’t make promises. If your lawyer promises that you’re definitely going to get the house, custody or certain personal property, that’s a red flag. Your lawyer can be optimistic, but ultimately they don’t know what a judge is going to do in the end.

The Lawyer’s Offer

Hiring a lawyer is a big decision financially as well as personally. The lawyer should be upfront about the terms of their representation. They should clearly tell you what they charge and how they bill for services. You should sign a written fee agreement. The lawyer should be happy to answer your questions about billing.

Your Own Instincts

Ultimately, your lawyer is going to be your teammate for the long haul. You’re going to be working with this person for at least a few months, if not longer. It’s important that you feel comfortable with the person that you’re going to be working with.

Good questions include asking your attorney who specifically is going to work on your case. Are they going to handle it personally, or are they going to be working with a team of associates? Do they prefer to communicate by phone, email or text, and are they able to accommodate your work schedule when they need to schedule face-to-face appointments?

Hiring a divorce law attorney is a difficult decision, but it’s so important. You depend on your attorney to fight for you. Ask questions, and take the time to do your research until you find the right person for you.