Choosing a Divorce Attorney

Your divorce will be one of the most challenging and stressful seasons of your life. But the right divorce attorney can ensure you avoid costly mistakes and unnecessary heartache. Below are several steps you can take to secure an empathetic, knowledgeable, and trustworthy divorce attorney.

Choosing a Divorce Attorney: To-Do List

During this difficult time, another to-do list might not sound ideal. But these simple steps can make your experience significantly less stressful. That’s because your divorce lawyer dramatically impacts how you experience every step and stage of your divorce, not to mention the outcome. 

Set Your Expectations

Every divorce is different. And the dynamics of separations vary greatly. You could be separating amicably or feeling like you’re in the fight of your life. Many factors influence the process and outcome of your divorce, including assets, custody, and much more.

Your divorce process might include the following:

  • Arbitration
  • Mediation
  • Litigation
  • Summary divorce
  • Contested divorce
  • Collaborative divorce

Before choosing a divorce attorney, decide what you expect from the proceedings, what you hope to accomplish, and how you would like to move forward. You’ll want a divorce lawyer specializing in whichever process you choose, such as mediation or arbitration. 

Prepare Your Questions

Every stage of your divorce can feel overwhelming. But preparing a list of questions can help make lawyer selection smoother and more organized. 

You might ask the following of potential divorce attorneys:

  • What type of divorces do you typically handle?
  • Have you been involved in similar cases?
  • How long have you been in practice?
  • How frequently can I expect to be in contact with you?
  • How long do you estimate the process will take?
  • What is the best way to get in touch with you?

In addition to questions about the attorney and their practice, prepare inquiries regarding your specific concerns for the proceedings. 

Questions about your divorce might include:

  • Will I pay/receive alimony or child support?
  • How will we handle my personal loans?
  • What will happen to the house?
  • What will happen to pieces of property? (Be specific)
  • What should I expect from the courts in terms of visitation?

You may come up with additional questions that are unique to your situation. A good divorce attorney will take the time to answer your questions thoughtfully. Choose a lawyer you can trust with an open, empathetic communication style. 

Schedule a Consultation

Once you’ve considered what you expect from your divorce and made a list of questions, you’re ready for a consultation.

Your consultation is an excellent opportunity to observe your attorney and their style. It’s worth noting whether they listen to your questions and answer carefully. You also want to look for someone knowledgeable, confident, and well-versed in their field.

Avoid Red Flags

If you speak to an attorney and feel they are rushing you, talking over you, or refusing to listen to the details of your situation, they aren’t a good fit. A good divorce attorney will express curiosity and seek to understand your unique circumstances so they can do their best to help. 

Other red flags include the following:

  • Acting distracted during your consultation or not appearing organized
  • Making promises that sound beyond the scope of what they can realistically guarantee
  • Making you feel like you’re being sold a service rather than entering into an agreement based on trust and a shared goal

Trust Your Gut

Making fear-based decisions is never ideal. If you find yourself talking to an attorney who is applying pressure or focusing more on frightening aspects than what they can do to help, trust your gut. You may not have any experience with divorce or legal matters, but you have a lifetime of experience with people. 

Many of the qualities you might look for in a business partner or colleague should be present in your attorney:

  • Trustworthiness
  • Organization
  • Thoughtfulness
  • Experience
  • Patience
  • A good reputation
  • Respectful of your time, needs, and even your fears

A Knoxville Divorce Attorney Can Help

Divorce is a sensitive, complex matter. When the stakes are high, and emotions are raw, it can be hard to make clear-headed decisions. A Knoxville divorce attorney can help you develop a plan that makes you feel empowered, equipped, and prepared.

Contact Mandy Hancock Law today if you need an advocate during divorce proceedings. Our family lawyers will put your needs first and work tirelessly to achieve a favorable outcome that supports your best interests. We’ll keep you updated every step of the way to alleviate some of the stress and pain that comes with the challenging experience of separation and divorce.