California Divorce Lawyer – How to Hire One
When you’re going through a divorce in California, one of the first and most important decisions you have to make is choosing a divorce attorney.
Selecting an experienced and knowledgeable attorney can make a huge difference in your marital settlement agreement. It can help you reach favorable resolutions on issues like property division, child custody, and alimony payments.
As you prepare to engage the services of a California divorce lawyer, here are the things to look for and questions to ask to find the divorce attorney who will be right for you.
What to Look for in a Divorce Lawyer
When it’s time to choose a divorce lawyer, you’ll likely look at online reviews and ratings or ask friends and acquaintances for recommendations. The number of divorce attorneys in your city may be overwhelming, which can make it hard to know who to turn to.
Here are some distinguishing features that set some California divorce attorneys apart from the crowd:
Awards and Distinctions
It’s common for divorce attorneys to hold awards, distinctions, and honors. These are a good sign that a divorce attorney goes above and beyond in their representation. Awards indicate happy clients and measurable outcomes.
Checking an attorney’s Avvo rating can help you to review past client satisfaction. Receiving distinctions from rating services such as Super Lawyers indicate that an attorney has distinguished themselves from the pack.
Local Practice History
Another trait to consider in a potential attorney is the amount of time they’ve been practicing in the region. The longer your attorney has been practicing family law, the more they’ve seen and learned about how to effectively navigate the settlement process for their clients.
Geography matters, too. You want your lawyer to have an understanding of the state’s property division laws, child custody laws, and alimony laws. You want your attorney to have working knowledge of the local courthouse you’ll be using. Having rapport with local judges and mediators matters.
Results and Testimonials
It’s always a good sign when an attorney is forthcoming about former results. Many law firms share these testimonials with potential clients directly on their websites.
Other lawyers may share information about past results with you during your consultation.
It’s usually a good idea to check reviews online. There are plenty of third-party, independent review sites where you can find past client testimonials.
Relevant Practice Areas
Divorce attorneys practice family law. A family law attorney may handle legal issues related to:
When you’re looking for a divorce lawyer, make sure to look for a family law attorney who specializes in divorce.
You may visit a family law lawyer who is qualified to take on divorce cases but who has a practice history that mostly focuses on child custody outcomes. If your concern is a fair property settlement, that attorney might not be a good fit for you.
What to Expect at a Consultation
Many divorce attorneys offer free consultations to potential clients. This is a chance for you to meet the attorney and assess whether they’re right for you.
When you’re in the process of hiring an attorney, you should go to your consultation prepared. Good questions to ask include:
- What outcome do you think you can achieve?
- What’s your track record for successful mediation?
- How do you think a judge will rule?
- Will you personally handle my case?
- How is payment arranged?
Also consider questions that are specific to your situation. This is especially important if you’re facing matters involving child custody or multiple properties.
Knowing what to look for and what questions to ask can help you choose the lawyer that will be right for your divorce. With research and preparation, you can find a qualified attorney who can effectively fight for the outcome you desire.