In something as important as your divorce, it is critical that you find a divorce attorney that you agree with, build a connection with, and are confident sharing information with. It might feel intimidating to find an attorney that checks off all of these boxes, but with some time and client consultations, you can find the divorce attorney who you want to represent you.
Create a List of Attorneys
The first thing you need to do is create a list of attorneys in your area who specialize in divorce. As great as it is that your friend’s cousin is a criminal defense attorney, you may not want that person representing you.
One idea is to start with a Google search to compile divorce attorneys in your area. Make sure to check their online reviews on their Google My Business, Avvo, and Facebook pages. Then you should search their websites to understand their approach. While building this list, you may want to consider these questions:
- What does their website look like? What are their buzzwords?
- What do their reviews say about them?
- What do they say about divorce? Do they talk about individualizing your case?
- Would you want to go for an initial consultation?
- Are they currently taking clients?
With those questions in mind, you can begin scheduling initial consultations. Try and schedule three to five consultations to discuss your case.
Approaching Your Initial Consultations
Your initial consultations should be structured to ensure that both you and your potential lawyer are on the same page. To make sure this happens, you should prepare for your consultation beforehand.
When you go to your consultation, you may have questions you want to ask the legal team. Now is the time to write them out so that when you are in the meeting, you will make sure to ask them. Some things you should consider when writing your questions are:
- Will you ask about past cases?
- What are your biggest concerns in your divorce?
- Will you be seeking child custody or support? Will you ask about child custody or support?
- Will you seek alimony?
- What are your goals for your divorce?
Picking the Perfect Outfit
When getting ready for your appointment, dress to impress. Don’t wear sweatpants and an old t-shirt, instead dress up as if you were going to court or a job interview. Dressing appropriately for the occasion shows the team you are interviewing that you are serious about your divorce case.
Now that your consultations are scheduled, it is time to prepare for your meetings. Make sure you have your meetings in your calendar with the correct location. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many law firms are taking consultations over video conferencing or over the phone. If you have a consultation scheduled for one of those methods, do not go to their office -- they will not see you.
At the Initial Consultation
At the initial consultation, it may seem overwhelming, but the teams you are meeting are there to help you. Together, you will discuss your case and the scope of work the lawyers will handle.
Five Minutes Before the Meeting
Make sure you are at the right location. If you attend an in-person meeting, you may approach the office and bring your mask to follow COVID-19 precautions. Once inside, follow all guidelines given to you by the office staff.
If you are attending an online consultation, make sure you can access the video chat link and your computer or phone is fully charged. Find a quiet space where you can meet with the team and have your consultation.
During the Meeting
Listen to the legal team’s introductions and then share all relevant information about your divorce. In this discussion, you should share:
- Why you are filing for divorce
- What your goals are for divorce
- If you are seeking child custody or support
- If you are seeking spousal support
- If you believe you need to file a protective order
- Any concerns you have for your divorce
While sharing this information, you should not share any confidential information because these lawyers are not your representation yet. Any confidential information shared before retaining these attorneys can be used if your spouse then retains these lawyers to represent them in the divorce.
Together, you and the legal team will discuss the first steps for your divorce and how they plan on beginning your divorce. After this, ask any questions you have from above and listen to their responses. Take note of how you feel while meeting them and their approaches to your divorce. If you feel uncomfortable when they speak or strongly do not agree with their approach, then they might not be the attorney for you.
After Your Meeting
You may have gone through an initial consultation with a few different law firms before you decide on who you wish to represent you. After the end of your meetings, think about how each meeting went and if you would like to retain this law firm for its services.
When making your decision, think about which firm you felt most comfortable with and if you felt their efforts would reach your best possible outcome. Some things to consider in your decision are:
- How each firm made you feel
- If you made a connection with any of the lawyers you met
- If your values match with any of the teams you consulted with
- If there were any approaches to your divorce that you particularly liked or disliked
- If you would be genuinely happy choosing one of the teams that you consulted with
You do not need to pick your legal team immediately, but you shouldn’t postpone choosing your representation either. Contact the law firm that you select that you would like to retain them and begin your divorce with them.
Our San Francisco Divorce Lawyers
We know that divorces can be difficult and our award-winning divorce attorneys are here to guide you and help you take your life back during your divorce. Together, we will discuss your case and our initial strategy to ensure that our expectations match.
If you are looking for a divorce attorney in the Bay Area, contact us on our contact form or call us today to schedule your initial consultation at (415) 650-1112.