Choosing the Right Divorce Attorney for Your OC California Divorce
Choosing the right divorce attorney: Whether you have decided to file for a divorce, you and your spouse have mutually agreed to get a divorce, or you have been served with divorce papers, it is in your best interest to contact a California divorce attorney who has the experience and knowledge to advise you on how to approach your divorce.
With so many options out there, and attorneys practicing so many different areas of family law, how do you find the one that is best for you during your divorce?
Remember that Your Attorney is Not a Therapist
When you’re looking for an attorney, remember that an attorney is there to provide legal advice. Divorces can be lengthy and expensive, and your attorney’s time is valuable. It is up to you to focus on the legal aspects of divorce with your lawyer, in order to minimize the amount of time and money your divorce costs you.
You will be spending a lot of time with your attorney, and the lawyer you choose will help you to get through one of the most stressful parts of your life: your divorce. Choose an attorney with whom you can get along, but remember that a therapist or a loved one can be much more effective at helping you deal with the emotional aspects of a divorce.
Consider Your Options for Divorce
When filing for divorce, you have several options to determine the terms of your divorce. Each option requires different amounts of assistance from an attorney, and each one offers different benefits to you.
• Litigated Divorce - Taking your divorce to trial can be the most expensive and most time consuming way to divorce. It usually means that both sides will hire separate divorce attorneys who can represent them during the divorce. Look for an attorney with experience in divorce litigation.
• Alternative Dispute Resolution - This method usually offers the couple more control over the outcome of their divorce, takes less time than litigation, and is usually less expensive. You’ll need an attorney with experience in alternative dispute resolution. The two most common types of alternative dispute resolution for divorces are mediation and collaborative law.
• Divorce Mediation - Divorce mediation requires both spouses or partners to work together with a third party mediator to determine the terms of their divorce agreement. The mediator can be an attorney - and it’s usually your best option to hire a divorce mediator who is also a divorce attorney. Each party should also consult separate divorce lawyers outside of mediation for advice and to look over the mediation agreement before submitting it to the judge.
• Collaborative Divorce - Each party will hire a separate divorce attorney in collaborative divorce. The two sides and their attorneys will meet together and separately until the parties can agree on the terms of their divorce. It is best to find attorneys who are experienced in California divorces, alternative dispute resolution, and negotiations.
• Summary Dissolution - This is the simplest and fastest way to get a divorce in California - if you can qualify for it. You may or may not need to consult an attorney, but it is probably a good idea to check with one before you agree to a summary dissolution.
• Annulment - An annulment doesn’t end your marriage. Instead, it declares your marriage invalid. Like a summary dissolution, it is best to consult an attorney, but if you qualify for an annulment, it is a simpler process.
Choose Three to Five Local Attorneys with Good Reviews
Go online or talk to your friends who have been through a divorce, and select three to five local attorneys who got a thumbs up from previous clients. If you have a real estate attorney, an estate planning lawyer, or you have worked with a personal injury lawyer in the past, ask that attorney for recommendations.
Make sure that the attorney practices divorce law. This may seem simple, but hiring an attorney who usually practices a different type of law can put your case at a disadvantage. If you want to use alternative dispute resolution, your attorney should have experience in that area.
An attorney with experience in California divorces will know the process, will have experience getting through tough situations, and will know how to know successfully negotiate on your behalf, or advise you on how to negotiate for yourself.
A local attorney will likely also know other local attorneys, judges, court clerks, and the way that the local system operates. If you have to meet your attorney at his or her office, choosing local makes things easier on you.
Interview Your Potential Divorce Lawyers
When you reach out to an attorney regarding your divorce, either give them a call or contact the attorney through his or her website. At your initial meeting, make sure to meet with the attorney, rather than an assistant.
• Ask about the attorney’s experience working in divorce and family law;
• Make sure that the attorney speaks clearly, and if he or she tries to confuse you with legalese, or won’t clarify, find an attorney who can explain things so that you can make your own educated decisions;
• Inquire about the attorney’s fees, rates, and accepted payment methods. Do they require a retainer? What is the attorney’s hourly rate? Is your initial consultation free?
• Discuss your case. An attorney who does not make it a point to discuss your case at the initial meeting does not care about your divorce as much as a divorce attorney should;
• Ask who you will be working with within the law firm;
• Get an idea of what the attorney would advise you to do as far as creating your divorce agreement: litigation, alternative dispute resolution, summary dissolution, etc.
Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
Keep in mind that an attorney’s job is to provide legal advice to anyone who will pay for it.
Hire an attorney only if he or she is compassionate and understanding - an attorney who speaks legalese and won’t clarify does not care about your best interests. If your attorney is focused on his or her past accomplishments more than on yourself, your divorce, and your options, you can probably find a better option elsewhere.
No matter how good your lawyer may be, there is always the chance that your divorce won’t turn out the way you want it to. Don’t believe an attorney who promises to give you what you want before you’ve hired an attorney.
Choose your Orange County Divorce Lawyer
To Summarize, choosing the right divorce attorney can be stressful for families. The important thing to do is to conduct a substantial amount of research regarding divorce in California, as well as reputable divorce attorneys in your area. Referrals from family, friends, relatives, acquaintance, and coworkers is often a great place to start. They will be able to provide you with some names and numbers of attorneys that have helped them or those they know in past divorce or family law matters. If you do not have any helpful referrals the internet is a great place to narrow your search of the top attorneys in your area.
Divorce can be costly depending on all of the issues involved in your divorce matter. If your divorce matter is highly disputed, it may require several court appearances. If there are many court appearances this can drive up the cost of attorney's fees. On the other hand, if you are able to reach an amicable agreement, or resolve a majority of the pending divorce issues, this may eliminate additional court appearances, as well as the quantity of paperwork needed to be filed.
If you are ready to take the next steps toward selecting a divorce attorney, please schedule an appointment today. For further information regarding family law and divorce please contact your local family law attorneys. Please call Yanez & Associates at 714-971-8000 for your free initial consultation. We look forward to assisting you with your family law and divorce matter.
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